The Specter Haunting the Perfumed Princes of
Versailles on the Potomac

December 7, 1999

Comment: #336


[1] George C. Wilson, "Talking About Defense: Promoting The Best Military Commanders," National Journal, December 4, 1999, Pg. 3481.

A winning military is an amalgam of people, ideas, and hardware. The basic reform ideal is: Get the people issues right, and they will produce good ideas, and then good hardware will follow.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in many earlier messages, the Pentagonís budget priorities work in the opposite direction. There is no better metaphor for this backward system of values that four years of official DoD posters that celebrate Armed Forces Day with images of weapons instead of the people, sacrifice, and patriotism that, collectively, make the military a institution our nation should be proud of.

The attached article by George Wilson is about getting the people issue right. It is a profile of Major Don Vandergriff and his struggle to reform the officer personnel system.

I am proud to say that Vandergriff is my friend. Meeting and working with dedicated officers and enlisted men like Vandergriff, who have the initiative and character to put their own careers at risk for a larger cause they believe in, make the struggle to build a better military a fight worth fighting Ö and an honor to be a small part of!

Chuck Spinney

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