Retired General shares his views with Miramar Marines
Submitted by: MCAS Miramar
Story Identification #: 20047819388
Story by Lance Cpl. Sky Jones

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.(July 8, 2004) -- "It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows," said Epictetus, a first century A.D. theorist.

Like the stoic philosopher, Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni has the same views in regards to the military.

Zinni, co-author with Tom Clancy of "Battle Ready," spoke to officers and staff non-commissioned officers June 21 about his views on Iraq, the military and change.

"We can definitely expect change in the military in the next four years, no matter which candidate gets elected," stated Zinni, U.S. Peace Envoy in the Middle East and Special Envoy to the Indonesian conflict peace effort.

Zinni spoke about three areas of reform that he would like to see in today's military, which would affect servicemembers at Miramar.

First, he would like to adjust the manpower and personnel within the military, "Our servicemember's careers are too short. The military invests too much money into each person to have him or her retire in 20 years. No other business would operate this way. Our military has the same retirement system as the Roman army."

Zinni proposes that servicemembers serve a term of 30, 40 or even 50 years in the military. He also suggests that servicemembers stay in each grade longer in order to become more proficient.

Secondly, Zinni has dreams of a more educational military force with a technological edge, "We're five generations behind and we need to start moving at a faster pace. Any other government agency would fail if they operate like we do now. This archaic system needs to change."

"For instance, we still have land mines today and they can create a lot of technological problems, as well as taking a lot of time to put in. We could create another new technology that could replace the land mines and old technology," added the former four-star General.

Lastly, Zinni proposed a plan for reform, "If we were to take away three to four levels of staff we would function a lot better. For example, there might be one squadron who would just concentrate on war fighting, so they wouldn't have to deal with administrative issues. When regiments and air groups were created they were strictly for fighting. This layered system cripples us."

Zinni has many ideas for reform in the military, which his 40 years of experience in the military have helped shape, "We need to fix the military before it breaks people. My generation would not be able to recognize the military now."