George Marshall and Imperatives Quality People

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In 1997, Army Chief of Staff General Dennis J. Reimer wrote: “As we reshape the force we will be guided by the Six Imperatives – quality people, realistic training, proper force mix, modernized equipment, the world’s best leader development program, and updated doctrine. The changes we make to the force will be passed through those six filters to ensure they make sense.” In the complex nature of today’s Army, those Six Imperatives translate into 7 such filters, Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF). The DOTMPLF domain challenge that General George C. Marshall had to contend with that is most different from the challenges that our Army faces today is in the area of personnel, particularly force management. In 1943, the Bessel Committee was designed to recommend changes in the current military program indicated by shifting strategic conditions. The primary focus of the committee was the efficacy of building up foreign forces. This fact implies two things. The first is that the United States was actively considering reliance on other nation’s military to supplement our own numbers and capabilities. The second implication is twofold: we could clearly identify our friends (on whom we could rely) and our enemies (to forecast our strength against). Both are certainties that are rarely available in today’s force management equation. None-the-less, the committee also drew some other conclusions that provide sound guidance for using today’s DOTMLPF structure.

The Bessel Committee reported that the time had definitely come for long-term programming to guide the war machine developing in the United States. The committee determined that what was required was a broad and long-range strategic plan for the defeat of the enemies of the United States, whereby requirements might be balanced against means and resources and then translated into a realistic military program. Despite their focus on long term solutions,...
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