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Business as Usual: An Assessment of Donald Rumsfeld’s Transformation Vision and Transformation’s Prospects for the Future
Mark G. Czelusta (au)
Donald Rumsfeld’s vision of a transformed U.S. military has been discussed by many and understood by few, and this lack of understanding has resulted in both significant simplifications and sweeping generalizations. Even the term, “Rumsfeld’s Transformation,” accounts for neither the historical influences that led to his vision, nor the multiple components of this transformational effort. Donald Rumsfeld did not invent Transformation. Nor was he the sole source of goals to build a high-technology, information-enabled joint military. Soviet military theorists have discussed “Military-Technical Revolutions” since the early 1970s. The conceptual basis for what the Bush Admin. hoped to achieve with Transformation is the 1996 publication, Joint Vision 2010, a Clinton-era document. However, Rumsfeld made Transformation a singular priority and he pursued the effort with noteworthy zeal. But by 2007, defense language shifted from “transforming” to “recapitalizing” the military. Rumsfeld was out of office and the organizations he created to facilitate Transformation were reabsorbed by the larger Pentagon bureaucracy. If Rumsfeld’s Transformation is indeed dead, does this mean that Transformation as a greater process is dead as well? This report discusses the answers to this question, which require one to understand first that “Rumsfeld’s Transformation Vision” is actually the result of multiple influences that predate his time in office. Second, “Rumsfeld’s Transformation Vision” is actually an umbrella term for three different things: a new way of war, a process, and a defense strategy. And third, in spite of Rumsfeld’s reputation for aggressive leadership, the military services shaped, and at times limited, the effectiveness of his program. Illus.
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