Like a lot of people, I am intimidated by “experts” in a field I know little about, and am thus sometimes a sucker for their jargon and gobblydegook. So it was refreshing to see, buried in a long WaPo article about efforts to downsize the number of top brass in the military, this statement from one of the Pentagon officials in charge:

[Pentagon Joint Staff director William] Gortney said the Pentagon review ordered each branch of the armed services to sort their generals and admirals into four categories: “must have,” “need to have,” “good to have” and “nice to have.”

At least 10 percent had to fall into the “nice to have” category, he said. In the end, many of those were axed. “We mandated that you had to put the low-hanging fruit in there,” Gortney said. “We made them defend every one of their positions.”

“Good to have” and “nice to have,” eh? Wonder if the Pentagon could apply this same scheme of categorization to weapons systems?

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.