THE ESSENCE OF SECURITY: Reflections in Office by Robert S. McNamara

THE ESSENCE OF SECURITY: Reflections in Office

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Evidently, the former Secretary of Defense is determined not to be trapped by history--even history of his own making. His book, a collection of policy statements made during his seven years as director of the Defense establishment (McNamara's terminology), presents a coherent framework of long-range principles and programs. The introduction and epilogue, written during his last days in office, provide an impressive overview. But McNamara's insistence on presenting the big picture--a consideration only of large-scale security measures and an utter disregard of specific confrontations, as, for example, the Vietnam war, makes one wonder nervously who was minding the store. For the inescapable conclusion is that the Secretary of Defense was not much interested in the war. He was concerned with the managerial and marketing aspects of Defense. He enumerates shifts in the distribution and numbers of missiles and manpower as though they were a series of fortuitous sales figures on a corporate profit chart. McNamara aimed to augment nuclear retaliatory power, to reemphasize non-nuclear weapons, and to bring high-powered modern management techniques to Defense. In his view, he succeeded.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1968
Publisher: Harper & Row