This week, FP presents a running discussion of Best Defense blogger Tom Ricks' new book, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today.
Tom's last two books were deeply reported examinations of the Iraq War. In The Generals, he casts a historical net and finds that the quality of military leadership has declined since the days of Eisenhower and Marshall, as the Army has increasingly failed to punish failure or reward ingenuity.
Initial reviews have been wildly positive. Here's what Publisher's Weekly -- which awarded Tom his own star -- had to say:
"[A] savvy study of leadership. Combining lucid historical analysis, acid-etched portraits of generals from 'troublesome blowhard' Douglas MacArthur to 'two-time loser' Tommy Franks, and shrewd postmortems of military failures and pointless slaughters such as My Lai, the author demonstrates how everything from strategic doctrine to personnel policies create a mediocre, rigid, morally derelict army leadership... Ricks presents an incisive, hard-hitting corrective to unthinking veneration of American military prowess."
We'd encourage you all to pick up the book, and stay tuned for this week's discussion, which will feature a terrific line-up of reviewers, including a few generals.
Thomas Donnelly: The quality of American generals is declining
James M. Dubik: Does the Army's system produce the generals the nation
Thomas Keaney: The military can't look to the past to answer today's questions.
Jason Dempsey: The real problem with America's generals.
Robert Killebrew: What would Marshall do?, and a response
Tom Ricks: A response to the book club
By Thomas Donnelly
Surely one of the reasons Barack Obama was reelected as
president is that many Americans, and not least our political elites, remain
war weary. Even Afghanistan, the "good" war, the "war of necessity," has faded
from public consciousness. The one thing we seem to remember about it is that
it's "on schedule" to end in 2014.
Similarly, our attention to men and women in uniform is
fading. We still honor them at ballparks, let them board planes ahead of us --
sometimes even before the frequent-flying executives -- and are forever
"thanking them for their service." But we're turning away, getting on with
nation-building at home.
Tom Ricks' new book, The
Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today, is many
things: a deeply considered and researched work of history, an excellent
genealogy of the Army's general officer corps, and a well-told tale. In sum,
there are a host of reasons to read the book, more than this short piece can
limn or even suggest. But, taken as a whole, The Generals is first and foremost a powerful argument that as a
nation and as a polity we should not allow the professional military to retreat
behind the camouflage netting. Indeed, now more than ever, civilians ought to
concern themselves with the "profession" of arms, and particularly what happens
to the U.S. Army.
Like many other professions, the profession of arms involves
a set of cultural beliefs handed down from generation to generation but molded
by the quirks of strong, paradigmatic personalities. And Ricks lays this out
well: the leaders of World War II begat those of Korea and Vietnam, who begat
those of the modern All-Volunteer Force and Operation Desert Storm, who in turn
begat those of the post-9/11 wars. The field- and company-grade officers of
these wars are the future of our military, and the next decade will determine
what kind of senior commanders they will be.
Ricks' central argument -- that the quality of Army
generalship has declined through the years -- is one broadly shared by today's
younger officers. "America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces
for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve
the aims of policy," wrote then- Lt. Col. Paul Yingling in a 2007 Armed Forces Journal article
that became a lightning rod for the current debate.
If this charge is true, and I think it is, it is a problem
of the first order. Proper civil-military relations are critical to our
democracy, particularly one that is also a global power. We can't go back to
the pre-imperial past that produced George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower. Thus
Ricks' remedy for what ails us -- holding leaders accountable and relieving
them when they fail -- strikes me as a necessary but not sufficient condition. There
is also a systemic problem with an officer training, education, and selection
model designed to produce competent tacticians but indifferent if not hostile
to developing strategists. Our officers are much better in battle than at war.
It is said that amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk
logistics, and really smart guys, like Tom Ricks, talk personnel. If there were
any justice in the worlds of publishing, politics, or policy, this book would
outsell either of Ricks' Iraq books. It would also be a way to truly thank
people in uniform for the sacrifices they make.
Thomas Donnelly is the co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center
for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
By James M. Dubik
Tom Ricks's book, The
Generals, raises important and challenging questions that deserve debate. In
sum, he argues that the nation needs generals who lead campaigns that win wars
and in peacetime generals who can prepare for the next war. Rick's assessment
is that since WWII, Army generals have not done well enough in either category.
But his arguments are sometimes too narrowly drawn.
Over simplified, the first argument is, if more generals
were fired, as in World War II, we'd have better generals and win more wars. Underplayed
are the critical role of the civil-military relationship and the impact of the
kind of war being fought.
The success of senior wartime generals often depends upon the
degree of openness and effectiveness in the civil military relationship. Rick's
discussion of personalities and who should fire whom sometimes obscures this
essential fact. Generalship occurs within the boundaries set by strategy and
policy. In discourse with political leaders, generals can affect both, but the
degree is often limited. Sometimes generals are inadequate; the same is true of
political leaders. Both sides in this relationship must be respectful of the
role and experience of the other; without it, the probability of wartime
success diminishes. In the last decade, this relationship has had more downs
Additionally, success is relatively straightforward in
conventional war, as is the use of military force as the means to that success
-- so too is generalship. In our current wars, success is much less clear and
the means to success necessarily includes both the use of military and
non-military forces. Even well-used military forces are insufficient. Any
assessment of the performance of America's non-military elements of power must
conclude, with a few exceptions, that our non-military elements -- strategic
through tactical -- have been wanting.
That leads to the second argument in which Ricks raises some
fundamental questions: Does the Army's system produce the generals the nation
needs? Does the Army's "incentive system" create too many risk-averse generals?
Are Army generals overly focused on tactics and too rigid in applying doctrine?
To what degree did transformation prepare the Army for today's wars? Are all,
or some, Army generals too slow to learn and adapt? What's the relationship of tactical
battlefield performance to success as a general? These questions are
fundamental to the Army, for its training, education, and leader development
programs produce colonels, and Army systems select the colonels who become
generals and the generals who serve as senior leaders.
Questions like Ricks's have been percolating among the
generations that make up the Army's officer corps -- even among those of us
retired. All have opinions. A healthy organization is introspective, questions
itself, and adapts from what it learns. In my view, the Army is such an
organization. Even so, The Generals provocative contents need
serious debate, so that our military and civilian strategic leaders can better
serve the nation, together. None will agree with everything in it, but all military
professionals and civilians working in the national security arena should read Ricks'
Lt. Gen. James M.
Dubik (ret.) is a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War.
By Thomas Keaney
Tom Ricks's book, The
Generals, provides a sweeping look at American generalship -- Army generals
almost exclusively -- done in the style that marked his earlier works. He names
names, cites revealing anecdotes, and just as importantly analyzes the factors
at work that shaped generations of these officers. It's a book sure to create
controversy, as it details what Ricks sees as a depressing trend in levels of
performance and accountability exhibited by American generals since World War
General George C. Marshall becomes Ricks's model for
generalship, both for Marshall's dealings with the U.S. political leadership,
mainly Franklin Roosevelt, and for culling the general officer ranks of the U.S.
Army to rid the organization of non-performers or those who could not measure
up in other ways. Marshall then serves as Ricks's touchstone through the book
while showing in relief how following generations of general officers, even
those trained in the World War II tradition, adopted lesser standards than
Marshall and others like him. Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan
provide much fodder to support this analysis. And though correct, I think Ricks
leans too heavily on the Marshall example to deal with military performance in
subsequent conflicts. Marshal's example cannot provide the answers, since in
many cases Marshall would not or could not know the questions. More factors
have been at work.
Simply put, comparing the standards and procedures used in
World War II in relieving generals of their commands is unfair to the later
generations. One problem is with metrics. If the objective is getting quickly
to Berlin or Baghdad, shortcomings or failures would tend to be evident, or at
least easily measured. Not to excuse the military leadership involved, but in
the wars since, for the most part linking objectives with performances has
suffered from political uncertainties of what objectives were being sought on
the one hand and a military leadership focused too much on operational issues
on the other, a brew that came together in a continuing, if at times low level,
civil-military conflict over ends and means. In that atmosphere, personal
accountability is more diffuse, and suffers as a result. Ricks points out these
clashes in rich detail. Standing out most markedly in this regard are the gaps
in understanding and respect between the Johnson White House and both the Joint
Chiefs and the military leadership in Vietnam, and between Washington and the
theater in the Iraq War between 2003 and 2006. The account of the confused
dialogue, or its absence, between theater and headquarters is must reading for
anyone seeking to understand the depths of these conflicts.
For Ricks, General William DePuy comes off as both savior
and villain: savior of the Army post-Vietnam in giving the force a renewed
purpose and sense of itself; and villain through his orientation on operational
matters to the virtual exclusion of rigorous strategic thinking in Army
doctrine and education. As much as that affected the Army, it led to similar
effects on the other services' leadership, curiously in the name of jointness.
The principles of operational art being advocated at the time by
General DePuy and others perfectly addressed one aspect of the 1986
Goldwater-Nichols legislation -- the requirement to teach joint operations, the
integration of all military forces fighting as a team. The immediate answer was
to focus teaching at the operational level of war, specifically what was
defined as the joint campaign plan.
While an excellent technique for harmonizing the
capabilities of each of the military services, campaign planning almost by
definition has a concentration on the operational and tactical levels of
warfare and far less to the political context of the campaign itself. Thus,
Army doctrine on operational art, as Ricks describes, can influence officer
education in all the services. Unfortunately, many of the subsequent military
operations in which the United States became engaged not only stretched the use
of the term campaign but also called for integration not with military forces
of other services but with civilian agencies or non-governmental organizations.
This was new territory for military leaders.
The Generals ends
with a prescription for what Marshall would do in these circumstances. Perhaps,
but this generation may have access to better answers. Experience in Iraq an
Afghanistan has shown that some generals "get it" more than others, but success
in such circumstances came from actions of individual units, not as a
theater-wide program. The next step must be a more general reorientation of
military education to the strategic context, whether it involves
counterinsurgency or air-sea battle.
Keaney is Associate Director Strategic Studies
Program, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns
Hopkins University, and a former facultymember at the National War College.
By Jason Dempsey
A little over two years ago Gen. David Petraeus received the Irving
Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute. Following the ceremony,
columnist David Brooks went home and hand-stitched a "Mission Accomplished"
banner for the general in the form of an op-ed in
which he breathlessly declared that the military "[had] been transformed
in the virtual flash of an eye" -- from its Big Army past to a more nimble
and nuanced counterinsurgency force.
This victory dance was woefully premature, and other journalists should
have seen it as a worrying sign. The military never did break past institutional
inertia to fully
embrace counterinsurgency. Yet the media, a profession that once decried
the "5 O'Clock Follies" in Vietnam, has morphed in a generation into
an overly deferential and only superficially informed body, willingly buying
into pleasing narratives about the military that correspond little with
Brooks, of course, was not alone in his treatment of the military. The
default setting for reporters and the public alike for the past decade has been
one of deference. Faced with exceedingly complex conflicts and a lack of clear
goals and metrics by which to measure success, combined with a military
establishment that is increasingly foreign to the average American, they have
found it far easier to express support for the troops and move on with daily life
than to try to actually understand what the troops do and where they might be
For these reasons we should welcome the work of Thomas Ricks, whose
reach and timing may finally spur a rigorous and public discussion about the
future of the U.S. armed forces. It is unfortunate that the discussion will be
clouded with the unfolding details of the moral failures of some of the
military's brightest stars, but if there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it
may be a recognition that these men are human and that time is better spent on
the finer details of personnel policy than in the risky world of hero worship.
To be sure, there are problems with Ricks's approach. The book sometimes
reads as an uneven collection of war stories, loosely tied together with an
argument over the merits of swiftly firing underperforming generals. This is an
unfortunately thin reed for carrying the weight of a call for a comprehensive reassessment
of military personnel policies. And in choosing this approach, Ricks ultimately
misses the opportunity to directly address the fundamental dilemma in the
military personnel system, which is that its operational and strategic leaders
are drawn from a system in which tactical proficiency is the primary, and often
only, focus of officers for the first 20 years of their careers. More
importantly however, this book should spur us, military and civilian, to collectively address and integrate the lessons
learned from these wars into the way we approach future conflicts.
For the generals in the first half of the book, tactical and
operational proficiency were paramount. The tasks facing U.S. leaders in World
War II and the Korean War were herculean, but fairly straightforward: defeat the
Germans; halt the Chinese onslaught. A focus on previous experience and combat
leadership therefore made sense. When Ricks criticizes the Army for sending
leaders with little experience in front-line combat into Korea, the reader can
only scratch his head in puzzlement at the Army's decisions.
The Vietnam War and the wars after, however, present a different story.
Particularly in Vietnam, the path to victory was not always clear, and Ricks
rightfully takes the Army to task for its reliance on "search and destroy"
missions when a more nuanced and population-centric approach was called for. It
is therefore puzzling that one of the criticisms of Gen. William Westmoreland
is that he did not attend enough military schools. Given Ricks's well-known
disdain for the Army's in-house education system, one is left wondering whether
he really believes that more time at Fort Benning would have broadened
Westmoreland's perspective on the war in Vietnam.
It is at this point in Ricks's book that a basic tension becomes clear.
In the epilogue, Ricks highlights the need for generals who are better able to
interact with the country's political leaders. He also wants "adaptive,
flexible military leaders" better able to wade into an uncertain security
environment and offer more nuanced solutions than "search and destroy."
Unfortunately, there is a tension between this goal and the development of
Military leaders have not only not
forgotten the lessons of Korea, but often remember these at the expense of all
else. The Army is nothing if not tactically proficient, and the strength of
Ricks's book is in highlighting how the combat effectiveness of the Army at the
small-unit level has enabled a widespread tolerance for stalemate and the
rudderless puttering that has often passed for strategy in Iraq and
Along with this strength, however, comes the primary weakness of Ricks's
proposed solution. In not directly addressing the primacy of tactical
proficiency at all levels of officers' professional development, Ricks's
proposal that the Army could solve its problems with more frequent firings
meets nicely with the definition of insanity. Firing a general unable to grasp
the complexities of modern war at the strategic level is not likely to solve
the problem when all of his or her possible replacements have spent their
careers equally focused on tactics.
To be sure, the Army's singular focus on developing tactical expertise
among its leaders is not the result of ill intent but rather the desire to keep
soldiers alive. This concern for soldiers' lives is something that Army leaders
and Ricks notably share, but so long as the purpose of the Army is to fight and
win the country's wars, not merely survive them, tactical proficiency remains a
necessary but not sufficient condition for success.
Acknowledging how and why the military has fallen short in moving
beyond a focus on tactical proficiency is therefore necessary to improve the
ability of the armed forces to appropriately serve the needs of the country. More
importantly, we must acknowledge that there are valid arguments for the status
quo and that to effectively rebut them one has to move beyond talk of
individual heroes and villains to an understanding of the strengths, and
inertia, of the Army's tactical focus on the way the country prepares, or fails
to prepare, officers for modern war.
Ricks is correct to point out that a good portion of the Army has
already moved past the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least intellectually. He
also highlights how many senior leaders have recently declared that the Army
needs to refocus on the basics, as if a lack of proficiency
in small-unit tactics was somehow the primary factor undermining U.S. success
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such declarations, coming on the heels of over a
decade of war with muddled results, should bring home the urgency with which a
comprehensive discussion of the Army's future is needed and which this book
will hopefully spur. These declarations should also highlight the need for
greater participation from the public the Army serves. Institutions don't turn
on a dime and rarely do they transform on their own, despite the wishes of
pundits to the contrary.
Jason Dempsey is the author of
Army: Soldiers, Politics and American Civil-Military Relations and is serving as a combat advisor in
Afghanistan. The views presented here are his own.
Tom let me read one of the early drafts of his book on generalship, I suggested
that he end it with a retrospective on what General Marshall would have made of
the current crop of generals and how they are handled by the Army. Here's my
I think General Marshall would be generally (no pun intended) pleased with the
current crop; they are mainly younger, better educated, and in much better
physical condition than the senior officers of his time. Marshall was all about
youth in command -- in the only book he ever wrote, about his experiences in
WWI, he singled out physical endurance as a vital prerequisite for high command
-- along with a cheerful, optimistic outlook. In that, I think he would be
would also be pleased, I think, at the survival of the Army's service schools --
which operate today in the same basic form as they did in his day. He would be
a little puzzled, I think, at the large number of civilian and retired military
in teaching positions, as teaching at a service school in his day was a real
plum, and was a fertile ground for growing future commanders. The idea that the
Army's elaborate training command would be undermanned, or forced to push off
instructor duty on retired folks and civilians, would immediately raise his
here's where the story gets complicated. In Marshall's day, there was no clear
"pathway to the stars" that officers competed for, or that the Army used to
manage the force. Officers served where they were put, and were promoted (or
not) based on their performance, not their career attainment -- Eisenhower
served in a stateside training assignment in WWI, remember, and Bradley guarded
tin mines in the American west. Marshall would be baffled by "good" career
paths and "bad" paths, and by the elaborate personnel systems designed to
specialize and select officers on any basis other than good performance. Ricks'
suggestion that officers be given another chance after relief is only possible
in a system like Marshall's, when the service was expanding and officers were
generalists and picked on a best-qualified basis. Today, if an officer stumbles
in the shrinking force, there are a dozen more as well-qualified to step into
his or her shoes, which makes the Army's reluctance to dismiss senior officers
more puzzling -- they are eminently replaceable.
is right that Army leaders have been overly reluctant to relieve poorly performing
senior officers -- in fact, the most recent reliefs of senior officers has come
from civilian leaders, a thing that
Marshall would find an intolerable intrusion on his prerogatives and
responsibility. In allowing the civilians to carry the axe, the military
leadership has backed away from an essential, core responsibility.
and other examples have convinced me that there is a greater gulf than just
attitudes about relief between Marshall, the founder of the modern Army, and
the force today. One example points to the gulf between our attitudes today and
Marshall's stern code. Ricks and others in the academic community have made
much of an Army lieutenant colonel who publicly excoriated the Army's
leadership during the confused and bloody days of 2005-2007. Despite this, the
officer in question was promoted to colonel and subsequently retired (we
retired colonels think that's a successful military career). In Marshall's
officer corps, though, institutional loyalty had a much higher value. There is
a story that Patton, as a guest in Marshall's home, pressed overmuch for the
promotion of a colonel who had criticized some facet of the Army's
mobilization. Marshall laid his fork down and said, roughly, "General Patton,
you are a guest in my home. But I speak now as the Chief of Staff. This colonel
has ruined himself by criticizing the Army at this difficult time. He will
never be promoted. Never speak of this to me again." If we want to return to an
Army with sterner, higher standards, as Tom suggests, then we will have to buy
the whole package of a sterner military code and higher, and more restrictive,
standards of deportment and institutional loyalty.
Robert Killebrew is a
retired military officer and a senior visiting fellow at the Center for a New
Tom Ricks responds
thanks to all who participated. I learned from these
discussions. I agree with much of what they wrote, but of course here will
focus on our points of disagreement.
agree with Tom Donnelly that it would be good if Americans paid more attention
to the competence of our senior military leaders. Unfortunately, as we have
just seen, they seem to care more about the sex lives of our generals than the
real lives of our soldiers. The real scandal of Iraq was not that the public
over-valued David Petraeus, but that it tolerated his three failed
predecessors. Apparently mediocrity is acceptable if it keeps its pants on.
and admire retired Lt. Gen. James Dubik, but I disagree with his concluding
paragraph on the health of our Army. I am especially worried by the state of
its general officer corps. Yes, there are terrific officers like him (his first
project since leaving active duty is getting a doctorate in philosophy, by the
way) and H.R. McMaster. But there are not enough of them to form a critical
mass. They remain outliers, often seen by more conventional officers as
"50-pound brains" or even smartasses. I think the majority of Army generals are
under-educated conformists who tend to veer toward risk-averse mediocrity, a
tendency reinforced by the system of mindless rotation of commanders we have
used in our recent wars.
Tom Keaney is a fine fellow and an astute military analyst, but I think he is
too quick to provide an alibi for today's generals. Yes, it is more difficult
to recognize success in small, unpopular, messy wars like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq
and Afghanistan than it was in World War II. Nonetheless, it is possible. Matthew
Ridgway clearly turned around American fortunes in the Korean War, succeeding
where other generals had failed. Creighton Abrams did better in Vietnam than
William Westmoreland did, though perhaps not as much better as some people
believe. David Petraeus succeeded in his mission in Iraq-he got us out of
there-where his three predecessors had failed.
Keaney's sense that the world is just too hard lets off generals like Tommy
Franks, who simply didn't understand his job. Yes, the civilians above him were
badly mistaken. But Franks seemed to think it was a good idea to push al Qaeda
from Afghanistan (a small, unstable Muslim nation) into Pakistan (a big,
unstable Muslim nation with nuclear weapons). Franks also apparently believed
that once he had taken the enemy's capital, he had won-when in fact, that is
when the real wars began in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I would conclude from
this and other mistakes that the Army had failed to prepare Franks to be a
Killebrew has every right to invoke his own version of the ghost of George
Marshall, especially because he was the guy several years ago who told me I
should learn more about Marshall.
I interviewed Marshall's ghost, contrary to Killebrew's sense, Marshall was not
at all pleased with the state of American generalship. Lots of little things
puzzled and irked him. Yes, as Bob suspected, he didn't understand why the Army
has neglected professional military education, which should be its crown jewel
during peacetime. He also was shocked to see so many retired generals making a
bundle in the defense industry, and also endorsing political candidates and
using the name of their services while doing so. Both struck Marshal as abuses
of the profession.
bothered him most, the old white-haired general said in a slow, steady, quiet
voice, was the failure of four-star generals to carry out their roles in
dealing with their civilian superiors. He was shocked by the failure of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak truth to power on several occasions, most
notably during the Vietnam War and during the planning for the invasion of
Iraq. Indeed, he almost lost his temper when discussing how Gen. Richard Myers
allowed himself to be pushed around by Donald Rumseld. "How can you go to war
without a strategic rationale?" he wondered.
Dempsey, like many readers of the book, thinks that my emphasis on relief is
too simple. The problem, he says, is rather that the entire Army general
officers corps is overly focussed on tactical issues, and so if one small
thinker were ousted, he simply would be replaced by another. (This is my
interpretation of what Dempsey wrote, but not his words.) So, he believes, some
other sort of remedy is necessary. I disagree. I think that a few well-placed,
undisguised removals would encourage the others, as it did with the peers of Admiral Byng.
where I think where Dempsey and I really part ways is in our assessment of the
adaptiveness of others-that is, the raw material of our generals and their
successors. I think that there are many intelligent, determined, ambitious Army
officers who would get the message that the ability to think and adapt is
valued by the institution, and is the route to generalship. A little
accountability could go a long way.
words, relief should not be seen as an end in itself, but rather as one the two
most basic tools of personnel management-hiring and firing. I say, reward
success, punish failure, and promote the promising, and you will get more of
the adaptive generals that our nation needs -- and our soldiers deserve.
By Robert Killebrew
Tom's conversation with General Marshall was after mine, and I don't want to go back to the general -- patience has its limits. But I stand by what I wrote: in large terms, he was pleased that the current crop of American generals is younger, fitter, and better-educated than generals in his day. As I said in the first post, Marshall was concerned with youth and fitness in senior officers, and while that may not seem like much to an academic, Marshall knew that the physical demands of war would eventually overwhelm a brainy but slobby officer. Don't overlook this point -- it's more important than it seems, as Marshall knew.
I do think that Tom overlooked a point about which he, I, and General Marshall are in complete agreement -- that generals in the early days of the Iraq-Afghan period hesitated to speak truth to power, and that -- by inaction -- they allowed politicians to intrude in what is rightfully the military leadership's responsibility. The most shameful example in recent history was the disgrace of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, over which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Gen. Richard Myers, who had foreknowledge and took no action) should have resigned, and the Army commander on the ground, Lt. General Rick Sanchez, should have been fired very publicly. Instead, after some delay we reduced a National Guard brigadier to colonel and court-martialed a pregnant private first class. That, coming on top of General Tommy Franks' incompetence, was probably the nadir of American generalship.
General Marshall had little patience with trimmers; the heart and soul of officership is the acceptance of responsibility, and in that we should wait and see how the present crop of leaders -- the post-Franks generation, who were colonels when these wars started -- measures up. So far, the results are hopeful.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images