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The Rumsfeld Era Is Over, Pt. Deux: Gates’ Tribute To Wallace

Yesterday I highlighted the departure of Gen. William Wallace from the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine command as an example of the end of the Rumsfeld era — and, if I can be so bold, the rise of the counterinsurgents. At Wallace’s retirement ceremony, Defense Secretary Bob Gates placed Wallace in the context of 30 years’ worth of changes to the U.S. Army. And since Small Wars Journal beat me to it, I thought I’d take note of what appears to be Gates’ promise to keep counterinsurgency as part of the military’s institutional memory, a historic shift with far-reaching implications:

During General Wallace’s tenure, the best brains inside and outside the army were brought together to publish new doctrine on counterinsurgency and stability operations – bolstered by a substantial increase in the amount of instruction devoted to irregular and asymmetric conflict in the Army’s staff colleges.

As one of the last Vietnam veterans on active service, General Wallace has been uniquely positioned to ensure that the “lessons learned” in Iraq and Afghanistan become a permanent part of the Army’s DNA, and do not become “lessons lost,” as happened too often in the past.

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