Know that the amount of criticism you receive may correlate somewhat to the amount of publicity you receive.
Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was – by a taxpayer.
Listening to both sides does not necessarily bring about a correct judgment.
Let your family, staff, and friends know that you’re still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
Don’t divide the world into “them” and “us.” Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs and you have yours.
When cutting staff at the Pentagon, don’t eliminate the thin layer that assures civilian control.
Don’t think of yourself as indispensable or infallible. As Charles De Gaulle said, the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.
Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.
The Secretary of Defense is not a super General or Admiral. His task is to exercise civilian control over the Department for the Commander-in-Chief and the country.
First rule of politics: you can’t win unless you’re on the ballot. Second rule: If you run, you may lose. And, if you tie, you do not win.
When you raise issues with the President, try to come away with both that decision and also a precedent. Pose issues so as to evoke broader policy guidance. This can help to answer a range of similar issues likely to arise later.
I don’t do quagmires.
If a prospective Presidential approach can’t be explained clearly enough to be understood well, it probably hasn’t been thought through well enough. If not well understood by the American people, it probably won’t “sail” anyway. Send it back for further thought.
If in doubt, move decisions up to the President.
Be yourself. Follow your instincts. Success depends, at least in part, on the ability to carry it off.
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
Presidential leadership needn’t always cost money. Look for low- and no-cost options. They can be surprisingly effective.
Think ahead. Don’t let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
Prune – prune businesses, products, activities, people. Do it annually.
Imagine, a September 11 with weapons of mass destruction. It’s not 3,000. It’s tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
If you try to please everybody, somebody’s not going to like it.
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