"What does he propose that we have overlooked?" wrote Rumsfeld in a Jan. 30 memo marked "for official use only" to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, Vice Chairman Adm. Edmund Giambastiani and Eric Edelman, under secretary of defense for policy. "Are there any adjustments to our (Quadrennial Defense Review) roadmaps that could benefit from his ideas?"
Former House Speaker Gingrich wrote the paper, "Essential Strategic Changes in National Security 2005-2007," in October. Responses to Rumsfeld's questions were due back last week.
Gingrich posits the creating an "Intelligent Effective Limited Government" which will use "entrepreneurial public management and modern information systems to modernize the government into a system compatible with the speed, agility, flexibility and efficiency of modern global companies."
Dismantling the government bureaucracy is a subject dear to Rumsfeld's heart. The day before the Pentagon was attacked in 2001, Rumsfeld unveiled his plan for transforming the business side of the Defense Department. His plans have hit a rough patch: while he got a rewrite of the hiring, firing and promotion rules governing the military's 700,000 civilian workers, a federal court essentially gutted the proposed system last week. Other components have made slow progress, in no small part due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Gingrich goes much further, prescribing a societal transformation, including a new national "theory and system" for dealing with "the irreconcilable wing of Islam" and a national math, science and basic research initiative to ensure the United States is prepared to compete economically with China and India in years to come.
Gingrich proposes a seven-point plan.
The first is establishing a "values and goals based" metrics for senior leadership, which would extend throughout the national security departments. He advocates the method used by then-May Rudolph Giuliani to reform the New York City Police Department, with daily reports to senior leadership on what has been achieved each day, combined with increased tactical authority for lower-level officials. He contrasts that with the "cumbersome World War II-style" monthly progress reports conducted for the Iraq war.
The second would be a massive overhaul of the non-defense agencies and departments involved in national security along the lines of the 1980's Goldwater-Nichols Act, which strengthened the Joint Staff and the combatant commanders, and created Special Operations Command. This new act would compel and ease interagency coordination across departments "to bring to bear all aspects of national power to achieve national and homeland security."
"None of the civilian systems have the habits, structures, training and career tracks needed to be complete participants in an effective system of national and homeland security," Gingrich writes.
One of the changes he envisions would be integrating the Defense, State and intelligence budgets into a single integrated whole.
"Only by presenting the national security system as a single system can Congress begin to understand that an effective foreign service may be as important as an effective training program for the military," he writes.
The third step is establishing a "theory and system" for winning the Long War with the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam." Gingrich suggests the war could last as long as 70 years, and complains that there is no central guidance for this new struggle on par with George Kennan's 1949 "Long Telegram" and Paul Nitze's 1950 NSC-68, both documents that described the problem of, and proposed a policy for, defeating the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Gingrich says that theory must be developed, as well as a strategy for keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of dictators or rogue regimes that might give them to terrorists.
"Twenty-two years after the Marines were killed in Beirut and five years after the 9/11 attack on the American homeland, we still do not have a clear and compelling explanation of the Long War, the theory on how to win it, and the strategy and structures which that victory will require," he writes.
Fourth, Gingrich calls for a theory and strategy for defeating terrorists -- terrorism being a method of fighting distinct from the philosophies of Islamic extremists. He says the United States must find a way to ensure peace and stability in places like Baghdad, Gaza and London with exponentially greater intelligence and urban warfare skills and capabilities now at hand.
The effort put into Japanese code breaking during World War II should be trained on penetrating al-Qaida, which communicates both actively and passively over the Internet, Gingrich states.
He also calls for dramatic increases in funding for urban warfare, putting it on par with conventional warfare systems which annually command tens of billions of dollars.
"We need to see dominating the urban battle space as comparable to dominating the air or dominating the sea," he writes.
Fifth, Gingrich states the government must come to terms with the uniquely challenging nexus of three factors: the rapidly expanding base of scientific knowledge around the world; the growing economic power of China and India; and the "continued evolution of a worldwide market in arms that will make very dangerous capabilities available to "underdeveloped countries" that otherwise could not build them on their own.
"The United States must confront these three challenges by developing a national security strategic plan for both math and science learning and for basic research to enable the United States to remain the leading scientific and technological nation for the next half century," Gingrich writes.
"This is literally the second greatest challenge facing American after the Long War ... and it should receive the attention and intensity of effort that position implies," he writes.
Sixth, Gingrich wants to create a parallel, competing system for the development of defense doctrine, equipment and acquisition to compete with the entrenched methods of doing the same things "to see if the explosion in scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial talent can provide dramatically more effective defense at the same or much lower cost."
The "Team B" would be advised by a panel of private industry CEOs and be started with a $5 billion budget, and challenged to devise systems that can defeat regular forces and regular systems in a head-to-head competition.
Gingrich would offer prizes as incentive for the private competitor, and look to see if the competition spurred the government bureaucracy on to more creative, efficient heights. He seems to have dim hopes for the latter.
"Truly revolutionary breakthroughs have to grow outside of the systems and cultures they challenge or they are smothered by their more powerful established elders," he writes.
Finally, Gingrich says the seventh point is selling the above plan in "simple, clear language" so the American public, Congress and the media "to understand what they should insist on and how to measure progress and failure."
"Once the American people understand these challenges they will support the resources necessary and endure the problems which may be unavoidable," he writes. "The question is not the courage of the American people. It is the courage, consistency and persistence of their leaders."