A Time of Change
By Army Lt. Col. John J. Bonin , 344th Military Intelligence Battalion Commander
/ Published January 10, 2012
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- --
In 1513 Niccolo Machiavelli wrote "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." One constant for our military since 1775 is you can expect change.
As our joint service students and instructors begin the year 2012, they face a year that is entering a period of change for our nation and our military. For the last ten years our students at Goodfellow focused on training to support operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where resources were readily available. The war in Iraq came to a close as the last U.S. troops crossed into Kuwait on December 18th. And last week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the announcement of new budget cuts and strategy shifts. While leading change is difficult, and one thing we can all count on is change; our cadre and students at Goodfellow must lead the way in continuing to change and enhance training to ensure our intelligence and fire fighting professionals remain the best in the world. The one thing we can all count on is change.
The war in Afghanistan continues with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman in harm's way on a daily basis; however history teaches us the next conflict our nation will confront will not be far ahead. H.G. Wells and President Woodrow Wilson described World War I as "The "War to end all Wars," which turned out to be just the beginning of an entire century of conflict. Unfortunately, the twenty-first century may continue to see similar global challenges. The end of each of major conflict during the last century saw force and budget changes just as we face today. Each time our military rose to the next challenge. Out of these conflicts our military changed and grew stronger time and again. Tanks and aircraft appeared out of World War I and nuclear weapons rose out of World War II. Today we see the dominance of unmanned systems supporting intelligence operations. However, some things will remain the same.
While conflicts, technology and budgets change, the principles and values that make disciplined Soldiers do not change across history. Baron von Steuben realized training, discipline and esprit de corps were important to developing Washington's men at Valley Forge. If alive today, he would use different technology or methods, but would likely focus on the same model to change Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsman at Goodfellow today. By focusing on a foundation of our Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage, our personnel will have the resiliency to face any change in mission or resources in 2012 and beyond.
Looking around Goodfellow today one can see visible change such as road resurfacing and building construction. However, what remains the same is what is not always physically visible. It is what makes all the men and women in our military special. It is the pride and discipline of a warrior. A calling to service and a willingness to sacrifice, adapt, and overcome an obstacle that makes our military successful.