Editorial: Transforming transformation

It will be fascinating to see how the theory of transformation evolves in the post-Rumsfeld era

The theory of transformation has recently taken some body blows. Earlier this year, the Defense Department decided to close the innovative Office of Force Transformation, which retired Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski created. Then, earlier this month, President Bush announced that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will leave his post after six years.

Rumsfeld came to the Pentagon promising to change the way the military has traditionally done business. The question is whether Rumsfeld infused his transformation theory into the military’s way of life during his most recent tenure — he briefly worked as Defense secretary under President Ford.

In recent weeks, most reviews of the Rumsfeld era have been critical. An article on Slate.com, “A catalog of failure,” suggested that transformation hasn’t accomplished much. But that assessment is premature and unfair.

Although the Rumsfeldian theory of transformation has not yet been proven, the cantankerous Defense secretary made some significant strides. He managed to get the military to confront the reality that combat has evolved.

Most military leaders now speak about transformation. The concept is powerful. Rumsfeld’s transformation initiative seeks to introduce technologies that improve efficiency in many areas of an organization and apply those efficiencies to warfighting. Transformation enables the military to fight better and faster with a leaner yet more lethal force.

Rumsfeld also focused on transforming the Pentagon’s abysmal business systems.More work remains, but by most accounts, DOD has made great strides.

Warfare has changed, and the armed forces most likely will continue to evolve. Many experts suggest that transformation, in one form or another, has found a home at DOD.

It will be fascinating to see how the theory of transformation evolves in the post-Rumsfeld era.

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About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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