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For Churchill and Rumsfeld, 'the Best Will Do'

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2003 – Friends of World War II British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said it was easy to please him, because "the best will do."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld seems to have taken a page from Churchill's book.

Since he has taken office, gossip columns and some straight news stories have talked about what a tough boss Rumsfeld is, and how he runs roughshod over the military officers in the Pentagon.

"I don't believe there has ever been a chairman and vice chairman so deeply involved in every decision that takes place in this department," Rumsfeld said during a Pentagon press briefing Jan. 29.

The secretary said he meets with the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff singly or as a group, on an average of once a week. "That doesn't count the two or three times a day I meet with the chairman or vice chairman," he said.

"With respect of people's impressions, everyone has their own view," he said. "I have received on occasions from people -- military and civilian -- work I was not impressed with and have indicated that. There are times I've sent things back six, seven times.

"Why? It strikes me that it is terribly important that we do things well, that we do them right. I've sent things back on the military side, and I've sent things back on the civilian side. And I will keep right on doing it.

"If that disturbs people ... , I'm sorry, but that's life. Because this stuff we're doing is important. We're going to get it done well, we're going to get it done right. The Constitution calls for civilian control of this department, and I'm a civilian."

He said Pentagon employees have accomplished so much in the last two years. "It doesn't happen by standing around with your finger in your ear hoping that everyone thinks that that's nice."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard Myers agreed. "I don't know if there is more important work that you can do for your country than what we do at the department," he said. "So it's got to be done right. It affects peoples' lives. The processes that we go through and the insistence on high standards by the secretary is absolutely right. And I don't know anyone who resents that."

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