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Perry Outlines Diverse Role for Today's Military Leaders

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 7, 1996 – Being a skilled warrior is not enough today, military leaders now must also be statesmen, technologists and managers, according to Defense Secretary William J. Perry.

Like those who have gone before them, the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will be leaders, role models and much more, Perry told the graduating class June 1.

Many will be called upon to be statesman, creating a new security structure in the wake of the Cold War, he said. Others will be called upon to sustain the technological dominance the United States displayed during Desert Storm. Others will serve as managers of the corporate giant known as the U.S. Army.

"The regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve represent a giant personnel and resource management challenge far greater than that faced by any of our major industrial corporations," Perry said. "Investing wisely in people, equipment and training, and balancing scarce resources requires decisions that will affect the capabilities of the Army for decades to come."

The defense secretary cited several Army generals to illustrate the diverse roles officers now serve. All graduated from West Point nearly 30 years ago, Perry said, and are now some of the military's top leaders. All saw combat in Vietnam and worked to rebuild the morale and capability of the Army after that divisive conflict, he said.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey serves as a warrior role model, according to Perry. He led forces into combat in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf. During Desert Storm, the general's 24th Infantry Division "led the famous left hook that caught the Iraqi army by surprise and led America to one of its most convincing battlefield victories ever," Perry said.

"Gen. McCaffrey's attributes as a warrior -- guts, brains and tenacity -- are key to success on today's battlefield," Perry said. "Now he is putting those same skills to work as a civilian, leading America's war against drugs."

Lt. Gen. Wesley Clark, recently nominated by President Clinton to succeed McCaffrey at the helm of U.S. Southern Command, serves as a warrior-statesman role model, Perry said. Clark served as part of the diplomatic team that helped bring about a cease-fire in Bosnia. "Because of the skills of this warrior-statesman, the killing in Bosnia has stopped and the threat of a wider war in Europe has been dramatically reduced," he said.

Perry presented his senior military assistant, Maj. Gen. Paul Kern, as an example of a warrior-technologist. Kern served as an engineering instructor at West Point. He saw combat in Vietnam and in Desert Storm.

"This month, Gen. Kern will assume the role of warrior-technologist when he takes the command of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood [Texas]," Perry said. "Under his leadership, the [division] will become the test-bed for the Army's Force XXI -- the battlefield of the future. The technologies he will test promise to revolutionize how we fight on the ground and ensure that we remain the world's dominant land force well into the next century."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer, Army chief of staff, serves as an example of a superb warrior-manager, according to Perry. Reimer was deputy chief of staff in 1990 and planning the Army's post-Cold War drawdown when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. "In the face of this drawdown," Perry said, "Denny managed to provide the necessary forces for Operation Desert Storm, while still maintaining the quality and readiness of the U.S. Army."

In addition to being warriors, statesmen, technologists and managers, Perry said, military leaders must always remember they are more than military officers.

"You are also private citizens, members of a community, a family, an extension of your friends and loved ones," he said. "Maintain perspective, strike a balance in your life, be considerate of others, reserve a share of your heart for those you care about and who care about you.

"They say a soldier fights on his stomach," Perry said, "but a soldier also fights with his heart. The hopes and prayers of your families, of all Americans and of freedom-loving people everywhere march with you."

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