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Rumsfeld's Rules - Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life by Donald Rumsfeld

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CHAPTER FIVE

PLANNING FOR UNCERTAINTY

In April 2001, the Defense Department began an exhaustive review of the nation’s defense strategy—“The Quadrennial Defense Review” was the study’s elaborate statutory name. The conclusions would guide how we would shift resources for the twenty-first century and how the U.S. military would prepare for future conflicts.

I forwarded to President Bush a memo that captured my view that we were badly mistaken if we thought we could say with any accuracy what the future would hold. The original memo written by Lin Wells, a Pentagon policy official, succinctly summarized the unpredictable nature of great power relations:

      •   If you had been a security policy-maker in the world’s greatest power in 1900, you ...

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