November 8, 2006 | WebMemo on National Security and Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld departs the Pentagon after a record-long service heading the Department of Defense. His tenure saw several significant advances: a clear policy to field missile defenses to protect America against ballistic missiles from rogue states; the evolution of military transformation from an unfocused effort into a platform to develop the kinds of military capabilities needed to address the challenges of the 21st century; and the deployment of the armed forces to play an important and courageous role in fighting the war on terrorism. While pundits and historians will debate the success and challenges of Rumsfeld's tenure, Washington needs to focus on the future and the critical tasks required to keep America safe, free, and prosperous.
The Pentagon's To-Do List
The new Secretary of Defense-President Bush will nominate former CIA director Robert Gates-and the new Congress will have to work together with the President to ensure that the most critical jobs get done. These include the following objectives:
The challenges of wartime leadership are great. Secretary Rumsfeld tackled the job with courage and determination. The tasks will be no easier for those who follow him. To succeed, the men and women of the armed forces will need Americans' support and sound, focused leadership from Washington.
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.