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FCW : November 15, 2012
Bookshelf 32 November 15, 2012 FCW.COM sort of, We in the military did everything right, it s the civilians who screwed this up. The Bush administration in particular did screw things up, but there were a lot of errors committed in the military," Ricks said. "They were very slow to adapt in Iraq and Afghanistan, to recognize the nature of the war and make the necessary changes. And that s the prime job of a general. By the time the Army began adjusting in Iraq, it was about four and a half years into the war, which means we fought in Iraq incompetently longer than we fought entirely in WWII." It is dif cult to say that the war in Iraq would have gone better if more people were relieved of command, but according to Ricks, such removals are crucial to putting the hard lessons to use and avoiding the same mistakes in the future. And it is a concept that is applicable to more than just the military. "The big key is to reward success and punish failure. But don t make [punishment] so devastating that it becomes the equivalent of nuclear warfare on personnel management," he said. "You make relief more common [and] less devastating, and you do it earlier. When you leave a failure in position, his subordinates know it and he knows it. It doesn t do anyone any favors to leave someone in a position like that." Still, Ricks acknowledged that it is easier said than done and noted the dif culties in relieving government personnel due to civil service protections and an environment in which the threat of a lawsuit dis- suades managers from taking action. How to improve training, education and oversight In the modern military, Ricks said, it often is not the individual general who is the problem but rather outdated training and education that is not relevant to today s strategic requirements. "The problem with that is you train for the known, you educate for the unknown," Ricks said. "There was a lot known during the Cold War. We knew who the enemy was; it was the Soviet Union, and it was big, slow and kind of like a dumb dinosaur. We didn t really need to think about strategy. We knew what the strategic problem was and what the answers were." "But the Cold War ends and suddenly we needed a different type of general," he continued. "An adaptive general who could look at a new kind of war, understand it, think about it critically. But we have generals who have never been trained and educated and brought up to do that." The challenge, of course, is nding a way to make these lessons take root in the military and in the larger federal workforce. "You need congressional attention," Ricks said, "[and] I m not sure if you re ever going to get it. But if Congress pays attention, people in the government start hopping. We need much more stringent over- sight, informed expert oversight and a little tough love." But are oversight and tough love enough to overcome what seems to have become a generational malaise regarding accountability and leadership? Perhaps not, Ricks admitted, but it would go a long way. Accountability is actually fairly easy to establish, he said. "Reward success and punish failure. If you do that, people want to be success- ful and will gure out how." ■ SCAN THIS QR CODE with your smartphone for the full research report. TOPICS INCLUDE 4 cloud trends you need to know about Don't believe the hype 4 crucial cloud migration strategies Addressing compliance issues in the cloud IaaS: The benefits and limitations FCW.com/CloudServices TO LEARN MORE, VISIT SPONSORED BY CSC SPECIAL REPORT Cloud Ser vices
October 30, 2012
November 30, 2012