Rumsfeld Shares Transformation Philosophy with Chinese Military
Rumsfeld Shares Transformation Philosophy
with Chinese Military
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service
Beijing, China -- (AFPS)
October 20, 2005 -- The roadblocks to military transformation
"are enormous," and overcoming them requires leaders who believe in and advocate
the changes being introduced, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told members of
China's Academy of Military Science here today.
Rumsfeld, who visited the prestigious academy during his three-day visit to
China's capital city, responded to a Chinese army officer's question by
discussing his efforts to transform the U.S. military.
The Academy of Military Science is China's equivalent to U.S. military war
colleges and conducts research programs for the Chinese armed forces. Much of
that effort is directed toward helping China expand and modernize its military.
"We are deeply impressed by your efforts in advocating and promoting the
transformation of military forces in the United States," Senior Col. Huang Xing
told Rumsfeld during a question-and-answer session following Rumsfeld's address
to the group.
Huang asked the secretary what challenges he faced along the way and how he
"The obstacles are enormous," Rumsfeld quickly acknowledged. "Things at rest
tend to remain at rest," he said, alluding to people's inherent tendency to want
to stick with what they know and are comfortable with rather than change.
Instituting change, particularly in a large organization like the U.S.
military, requires far more than issuing a directive or barking an order,
Rumsfeld told Huanag and the other Chinese officers.
"Big institutions ... can't simply be commanded. They need to be persuaded,"
Rumsfeld said. "They have to believe that what you are having them do that's new
is the right thing to do and the best thing."
But the persuasion doesn't stop with the force, the secretary told the group.
In the United States, it extends to the Congress, which funds the changes being
made, and to defense industries, which must respond by changing their operations
to produce new or different equipment need.
These industries also resist change because they "have an interest in
continuing to build and make the things they are currently building and making,"
Five years at the helm of the U.S. military's transformation, Rumsfeld said
he's concluded that the key to success boils down to people. It requires
choosing leaders who believe in and advocate change and placing them at
"multiple leadership centers" throughout the organization, he said.
"There is no way that a big organization can be led from the top," the
secretary said. "It has to be led from throughout by people who have the same
culture and the same orientation and the same desire to see those changes
Toward that end, Rumsfeld said, he and his senior staff throughout DoD seek
out leaders who "are innovative and ... bold ... and interested in being joint,
that is to say, having all the services work together intimately," Rumsfeld
Once these leaders are identified, the next step, the secretary said, is "seeing
that they are spread throughout the Department of Defense and carry that
The Chinese officer also asked Rumsfeld how he's coped with obstacles while
transforming the department and the military.
"Energetically and imperfectly," Rumsfeld quipped, receiving chuckles from
his audience. Then, turning serious, the secretary added, "but hopefully."