Wall Street Tactics for the Pentagon?

| Thu Dec. 1, 2011 7:00 AM EST

Last week I reported on the activities of the little-known Defense Business Board, an advisory panel of corporate executives that aspires to overhaul Pentagon operations using Wall Street-style management and cost-cutting tactics—including a controversial proposal to privatize military retirements. Over at Gunpowder and Lead, DOD employee and operations analyst extraordinaire James Skylar Gerrond sets his sights on my story:

[I]n this case I think Adam's desire to tell a good partisan story overwhelmed his responsibility to be intellectually honest. This article completely overstates the influence of the DBB, wrongly frames them as lacking empathy for military members and misrepresents their recommendations on a number of issues…The reason you've never heard of the DBB isn't that they are overly secretive, its just that they aren't really that important.

Sky—who's eloquently taken issue with the DBB's plan on GI pensions before—makes some worthwhile points, in particular taking me to task for writing that the board's members "know little about military affairs." Three of the 12 main board members do have military backgrounds, as Sky points out, and I'll gladly take the heat for downplaying that. All the same, the résumés of the DBB members are much more stacked with a different kind of service: high-level roles at Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, the Bank of Virginia, and other investment banks and consulting firms.

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