"THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARGENT-MAJOR IS HERE TO SEE YOU GENERAL ABIZAID"Josh
over at the Adventures of Chester
is promoting an idea to break the natural tendency toward self-referential group-think that emerges at the highest levels of military command - give the President of the United States his own Sergeant-Major
Technically, of course, to paraphrase LBJ, they're all the president's seargent-majors but it could hardly hurt President Bush to receive the unvarnished perspective of a senior career NCO, fresh from combat in Iraq. This was the very reason that the position of Sergeant-Major of the Army was created, to give the brass the perspective of the NCO and enlisted ranks and this proposal would merely extend the feedback up to the Commander-in-Chief.
As Josh wrote:"Now tie it all together. You can see it, yes? What the President needs is his own Sergeant Major - a directed telescope on the battlefield reporting directly to him. Not his staff, not the White House Spokesman or the Press Pool. The chain goes straight to The Man himself.
This is not hard to envision. Grab any of a number of Sergeants Major out there who are now retired. They have made careers of making gut calls in all manner of odd situations. Grab a guy who used to be in Delta Force, or the 1st Marine Division SgtMaj. You could grab an officer if you preferred (ahem: my email address is in the sidebar), but if it was me, I'd have a senior enlisted man, the type who's harder than woodpecker lips. Whoever he is, he must be able to communicate very very very well. Then give him an armored four door humvee, a translator, and a couple of shooters to be a mini-brute squad. That's all he'll want if he's the kind I have in mind. He can always hop on a bird if needs to. Get him some nice equipment too -- a camera, a sat phone, etc.
Then set him loose. Tell him to go to whatever is interesting and report whatever he thinks necessary. Give him no format whatsoever. No timeframes whatsoever. Or, if you know of a particular operation that needs checking up on, send him there.
One more thing he needs: a little letter signed by POTUS that says, "This man may go wherever he wishes. Do not impede him." He can laminate that and put it in his vest and that's all he'll need for access. "
A bit romantic. Commanders will always, in time-honored fashion, pull out the stops to impress any fact-finding VIP but one reporting directly to the President of the United States is going to have to be careful he does not get lost in the maze of Potemkin villages that will be built for him.
But overall, a good idea. One that may give senior officers and Pentagon civilian apppointees a few heart attacks