And the reasoning is?

Changing the Defense Lineup

You all probably know that I generally support Donald Rumsfeld, even though I often refer to him as “Rummy”. But this latest maneuver in the military’s “emergency hierarchy”, which I only discovered via Armchair Generalist, just doesn’t make sense to ol’ Murdoc:

So for the past decades, the order used to be:
1. Secretary of Defense
2. Deputy Secretary of Defense
3. Secretary of the Army
4. Secretary of the Air Force
5. Secretary of the Navy
6. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Now it’s:
1. Secretary of Defense
2. Deputy Secretary of Defense
3. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
4. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
5. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
6. Secretary of the Army
7. Secretary of the Air Force
8. Secretary of the Navy

Am I missing something, or does this make little to no sense?

And, believe me, my opposition isn’t just because intelligence has been boosted. I mean, all it took was 9/11 and Osama bin Laden’s escape (if he, in fact, did escape) and the absence of WMD in Iraq to raise a red flag about our prioritization of intel. It’s about damn time that intel gets boosted a bit more.

But in the line of succession? And, even if you argue that intel outranks Army, Navy, and Air Force, what’s up with the #4 and #5 slots? Nothing personal against the individuals in those positions, but isn’t it insane to rank them ahead of the Secretaries of Army, Navy, and Air Force? The top man in uniform is number freaking six! I fully support (in principle, at least) civilian leadership of the military, but if we’ve lost #1 and #2, I’d like a person with a high and tight and a chest full of medals and ribbons calling the shots.

Granted, this list only comes into play during doomsday scenarios. And if we’ve reached “doomsday scenario”-land I don’t know that I much care who’s in charge as long as they’re hitting back in a serious way. Even if I’m not around to care anymore. So this change is, really, only political maneuvering.

Which makes it even worse.

UPDATE: Murdoc screwed up. A reader points out that no one on the list is in the military, and he’s right. I was thinking Chief of Staff, not Secretary. So my “high and tight” comments are…well, they’re pretty dumb.

I still don’t get the reason for the shake-up, though I must admit (due to my suddenly getting a clue) that this isn’t nearly as important as I had first thought. And, since this is a list to determine who gets the best offices or something, why isn’t the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics rated higher than #5? Don’t tell me “acquisition” is only the fifth-most important civilian connection to the military.

Again, big thanks to my readers for keeping me straightened out.


  1. Actually, none of the people on the list are in the Military. The Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force are generally political appointees with little or no military experience. The Under-Secretaries at least seem to have more extensive experience working in the Defense Department.

  2. The Washington way is to promote incompetence. That’s why the Sec Def for Intelligence (an obvious oxymoron) is the first of the rest. Notice how the Sec Def for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics has moved up. I guess when you can make things cost as much as those morons do, you’ve got nowhere to go but up. It took you 20+ years to build an operational fighter, here have a promotion. Of course, why would they even let the uniformed guys in the building. They’re just bullet catchers. If they were important they’d have Taj Mahal buildings like the F-22 and C-17 procurement people have. Nice shiny buildings with state of the art gyms, all wired up for lightning fast internet service, wi-fi, you name it. Nothing is too good for these guys. Let those losers on the front lines eat a turkey MRE.

  3. Murdoc, it looks like the tipical military chain of command. CO=SecDef XO=Dep SecDef S2= Under SecDef (I) S3= Under SecDef (P) S4= Under SecDef (A) Company CO = SecArmy Company CO = Sec AF Company CO = Sec Nav Commander/Staff/Subordinate Commanders

  4. I too felt like I supported Rummy. However, the book ‘Not a Good Day to Die’ (Operation Anaconda) and a few things from Iraq, are beginning to make me think that Rummy is driven by two things, 1. Change for change sake. 2. Absolute civilian control of the military. We all accept that concept. However there is a line that I like to sum up as follows; Don’t use the military unless it’s the last resort. If you use the military let the military run the war. Rummy tends to be a micromanager. Anaconda and the artillery support issue, the screwed up chain of command, and the general feeling that Franks (whom I do not like or admire) was doing what he did based on not wanting to confront Rummy, has soured me on Rummy.

  5. The reorg further proves that Stephen Cambone, DOD intel grand vizier, is everyone’s daddy.

  6. Yes, Rumsfeld seems to be making sure the defense contractors are firmly in control. It was nice of the Sec Def for Acquisitions to make sure the ‘buy American’ provisions were squashed. After all, what’s important is that we have access to foreign markets. Never mind the fact we spend more in the US than the rest of the world combined. That’s irrelevant. What’s important is that we have access to the lucrative French defense market. What a crock! Of course, this is typical of a military industrial complex that features such superstars as Darlene Druyun, Jack Abramoff, and Randy Cunningham.