Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England seems to consistently have trouble keeping the contents of his internal memos quiet.
Just over a year ago, Brown's memo stating the government's commitment to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions set off a firestorm of speculation over how it would impact US detainee policy. Earlier this year, members of the media ridiculed Brown's reminder to staff that they should work aggressively on their program initiatives because DOD policy would change with the next election.
Now AFP has acquired a copy of Brown's top 25 priorities for DOD in the final stretch of the Bush Administration, reporting that only one item on the list concerns Iraq. "Conduct September 2007 Iraq surge assessment and revise and execute plans accordingly," the memo states in its sole reference to Iraq.
"It's basically saying, 'Let's move forward," a Pentagon official told AFP.
Though other points on the "to do" list do not specifically address Iraq, some do concern critical elements of the US's war-fighting capabilities, like aggressive acquisition of MRAP vehicles and support of the Joint IED Defeat Organization. England also calls for pressing ahead with plans to expand, reorganize and reequip US ground forces, and to expand US special forces.
England also calls for a focus to "swiftly improve high value target tracking and locating capabilities," and the development of a long-range strategy for handling detainees by the end of 2008.
According to AFP, other goals under the rubric of "Prevail in Global War on Terrorism" are to develop a security and cooperation plan for the Near East and South Asia; to develop the capabilities of partner countries; and to communicate in "a 24/7 New Media Age."
Other items on his list: establish a new Africa command, carry out a "cyberspace strategy," and begin a new approach to nuclear deterrence.