While everyone may still be talking about Gates’ recent speeches at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition and Eisenhower Library (analysis to come), Gates delivered another speech this past week you may be interested in (h/t to Small Wars Journal).
The speech addressed students at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and focused on an issue I’m sure we are all very familiar with:
Good afternoon. Thank you, Kevin, for the introduction. I can tell you it is good to be out of D.C. and back in my home state – at least for a short visit.
However, I realize that it is Friday, and after lunch, so I will be content with thanking you for staying awake, or trying to anyway.
Of course, falling asleep in a leadership class or here is one thing. Falling asleep in a small meeting with the president of the United States is quite another. But it happens. I was in one cabinet meeting with President Reagan where the president and six members of the cabinet all fell asleep.
In fact, the first President Bush created an award to honor the American official who most ostentatiously fell asleep in a meeting with the president. This was not frivolous. He evaluated candidates on three criteria – first, duration – how long did they sleep? Second, the depth of the sleep; snoring always got you extra points. And third, the quality of recovery – did one just quietly open one’s eyes and return to the meeting, or did you jolt awake – and maybe spill something hot in the process? Well, you will appreciate that the award was named for Air Force Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, who was the national security adviser at the time. He was, as you might suspect, the first awardee, and, I might add, won many oak leaf clusters.
Click here for the full transcript.