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News Link • Military

The Decline of Our Nation's Generals

• By ANDREW J. BACEVICH

One of the lesser, but nonetheless not inconsequential changes to the national security landscape over the past 30 years has been the marginalization of the nation's senior military leadership.

Once upon a time, whether for better or for worse, the service chiefs wielded real clout on matters related to basic policy. Today, unless you are a serving member of the armed forces, it's unlikely that you can even name the uniformed heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Maybe one—but all four?

Back in the days of George Marshall or Arleigh Burke or Curtis LeMay, the chiefs mattered. Today their influence trails behind that of John Bolton's lesser deputies. 

Just last week, the admiral tapped to become the next chief of naval operations abruptly retired, his decision apparently prompted by some oblique involvement in a sexual harassment case. The press barely took notice. After all, who cares? Another old sea dog will be found to take his place.

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