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New Pentagon Leaders Expected to Play by Corporate Rule Book.

Pete Aldridge, Gordon England, Thomas White and James Roche, the new faces that will define the Defense Department under the Bush administration, are expected to bring a new style of management to the Pentagon.

Serving respectively as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (ATL), secretary of the Navy, secretary of the Army, and secretary of the Air Force, these four nominees come directly from the private sector, but most have long histories of government service. Two of the four come from President Bush's home state of Texas.

The new members of "Rumsfeld's team," who had not been confirmed by the Senate at press time, will put the Defense Department back in the hands of defense hawks, according to Armed Services Chairman Sen. John Warner, R-Va.

"There has long been a need for increased accountability within the executive structure of our government to combat emerging threats," Warner said recently at a luncheon meeting on Capitol Hill. Warner is certain that the group assembled at the Defense Department is "the best team we've had on national security that I can recall since the Reagan days," he said.

These new leaders come to the Pentagon with long and varied resumes, but none is a stranger to Washington. Undersecretary of defense for ATL nominee Edward "Pete" Aldridge returns to government service from the Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit organization, based in El Segundo, Calif. Gordon England, Bush's pick for Navy secretary, recently was executive vice president of General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas. Secretary of the Army designee Thomas White, a retired Army brigadier general, was vice chairman of Enron Energy Services, based in Houston. Incoming secretary of the Air Force James Roche was a corporate vice president at Northrop Grumman in Baltimore.

The extensive corporate expertise of the nominees has indicated to many inside the-Beltway observers that the "revolution in business affairs" at the Pentagon may no longer be an obscure theoretical idea, often scoffed at by government bureaucrats. Creating "business models" and working within a budget are not unfamiliar toil to these industry executives, according to a Washington insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Rumsfeld has made it clear that he wants the service secretaries and Aldridge to act as a board of directors, and he will serve as chairman," he said.

Aldridge became chief executive of the Aerospace Corporation, a federally-funded research and development center, in 1992. He was previously president of McDonnell Douglas Electronics Systems Co. From 1986 to 1988, he was secretary of the Air Force, and did stints as undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office. Aldridge is trained as an aeronautical engineer and aerospace systems analyst. He was in astronaut training in 1986, but his space shuttle flight was cancelled because of the Challenger accident. Earlier in his career, Aldridge worked in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for program analysis and the Office of Management and Budget. He is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

According to retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Lawrence A. Skantze, Aldridge does not need any on-the-job training. "Pete has a superb background, understanding and depth of capability in the acquisition process. He is a broad-gauge guy in understanding technology, and he knows how to get it," Skantze said.

Gordon England, designated secretary of the Navy, has had a long career in industry. England worked on the Gemini space program with Honeywell, and on the E-2C naval aircraft program with Litton Industries, before coming to General Dynamics in 1966. He started as an avionics-design engineer with the company's aircraft division, in Fort Worth, and worked his way up to president and executive vice president in 1991, until the division was sold to Lockheed Martin in 1993. Until 1995, England was president of Lockheed Fort Worth. After a brief stint as a consultant, he returned to General Dynamics as executive vice president in 1997.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Fred Lewis, remembers hosting England on an aircraft carrier in 1992 while the latter was president of General Dynamics. "He was very familiar with Navy aviation and battle group operations and very interested in the operations overall," Lewis said. "England has a wonderful reputation as an industrialist and a businessman, and he was especially impressed by the enthusiasm, the esprit and the dedication of the young sailors on the carrier under my command," he said.

Thomas White, incoming secretary of the Army, served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in the late 1980s, under now Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was executive assistant to the chairman of the JCS during the Persian Gulf War. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, White had various high-level staff assignments at the Pentagon, with two in the office of the chief of staff of the Army. He also commanded two armored cavalry units: the 1st squadron of the 11th armored cavalry regiment for the U.S. Army European command from 1981 to 1983 and he commanded the 11th armored cavalry regiment from 1986 to 1988.

White retired from the Army in 1990. He then joined Enron Power Corporation, and served in various capacities. Most recently, he was vice chairman for Enron Energy Services, leading a management team that runs the largest retail energy business in the United States.

Retired Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, a recent appointee to the policy and planning staff of the secretary of state, served with White at the Pentagon in 1989 and 1990. According to Wilkerson, White was "one of the finest armored commanders the Army had at the time." Noting that White commanded the armored cavalry for Powell's team during the Gulf War, Wilkerson said White is a "fantastic gentleman, very plain-spoken and a very optimistic and confident guy. Of all the people at the joint chiefs, on staff at the time, White was head-and-shoulders above the rest.

Wilkerson recalled one particular instance: "We had a map in his office, on top of his cabinet, and we were looking at the huge left hook we were going to take during the Gulf War. Tom leaned back in his chair, smiled, and said, 'It will be all right.' And it was," Wilkerson said.

At Enron, White helped bring the energy industry into the 21st century, Wilkerson said.

White also was Lewis' classmate on a JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) trip to Israel. According to Lewis, White has an "in-depth knowledge of the political scene here in Washington and has a good grasp of the many tiered strategic perspectives in the Middle East."

James Roche, the new secretary of the Air Force, returns to the federal government from Northrop Grumman Corp., where he worked since 1984. Most recently, he served as Northrop Grumman's corporate vice president and president of the electronic sensors and systems sector. Roche worked in the office of the secretary of defense from 1975 to 1979, the Senate select committee on intelligence from 1979 to 1981, and the policy office of the State Department from 1981 to 1983. Roche also did a stint as Democratic staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee under the late Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, D-Wash. Roche, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, retired in 1983 at the rank of captain.

Ken L. Adelman, an assistant to Rumsfeld from 1975 to 1977 and current co-host of, worked with Roche at the Defense and State Departments. According to Adelman, "This is somebody who has military, business and government experience and has excelled at all three. ... I think he will be one of the most powerful and significant secretaries of the Air Force in history."

Israel's Transportation Chief Sounds Alarms on Regional Threats

All efforts to stop the transfer of technology from Russia and North Korea to Iran have failed," said Gen. Ephraim Sneh, Israel's new minister of transportation. "What we have to do is see beyond the horizon-heed the warnings from the United States and other allied countries-about missile and enemy activities," he said.

Addressing the threats of terrorism and the development of chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles by Iran and Iraq is top priority for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), according to Sneh, who, in former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's administration, served as deputy minister of defense. Sneh, originally trained as a medical doctor, has been in the Knesset as a member of the Labor Party since 1992. He spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C.

Several concerns complicate Israel's defense posture in the Middle East region, said Sneh. First, the guerilla war occurring in the West Bank and Gaza is a low-intensity conflict where individuals frequently aim to carry out "spectacular terrorist operations," he said. Additional defense personnel are needed in this area to protect the 200,000 Israeli's who commute from the West Bank and Gaza, and to protect isolated settlements, he said. However, "We need to have even better shielding for both the soldiers and the settlers," he said, so reserve military service will soon be increased. "The price tag of this operation is $250 million," he said.

Additionally, there is the danger of resumption of terrorist activities resuming on the northern Lebanese border. "There is a potential for penetration of the Lebanese border from the Hebron mountains all the way to the sea," Sneh said. He said that Lebanon's weapons have been procured from Iran, and warned that "some of the weapons in Lebanon's arsenal are state-of-the-art." Sneh explained that Iran has deployed missiles in Southern Lebanon which are targeted at both small settlements and larger Israeli cities. "These missiles have a longer range than ever before," he said. "These are like the Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba in 1962."

The reality is that Israel is behind other Arab countries in its modernization efforts, said Sneh. "Most of our logistics were procured in 1975 or 1976. The equipment is not rusty, but it is aged," Sneh said. Sneh noted that the Israeli Air Force still flies the F4 Phantom, a Vietnam War-era aircraft.

Another concern is Iraq's and Iran's fast-moving development of nuclear and ballistic missile weapons of mass destruction aimed at Israel, he explained. "Currently, Iran's weapons have the range of 800 miles. In five years, they will have a 3,000-mile range."

Since Israel depends on the United States for foreign assistance for defense operations, the Israeli government supports programs of mutual interest such as missile defense. Sneh noted that the Arrow anti-tactical ballistic missile system "must be upgraded and there must be more units produced. The U.S. and Israel must continue to work on it together and export it together," he said. Because Israel's defense shield has been developed and produced in the U.S., most of America's foreign assistance dollars to Israel are spent in this country, Sneh said.--by Elizabeth G. Book
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Title Annotation:U.S. Department of Defense
Author:Book, Elizabeth G.
Publication:National Defense
Date:May 1, 2001
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