That was the headline from the Pentagon’s official news service report on Monday’s release of the Defense Department’s proposed 2013 military spending plan. It’s a safe bet other reporters will echo that refrain in the coming days.
Not exactly stop-the-presses news, you think? Turns out you have a good memory – or have waded through too many Defense Department budget cycles and realize this quest for agility is Pentagon’s perpetual Holy Grail:
Pentagon wants agile force for new threats
— Gannett News Service, February 2006
Bush proposes ‘more agile, lethal’ military
— Cox News Service, August 2004
Military changes buying habits to optimize speed and agility
— Aviation Week, February 2002
War in Afghanistan marks shift in military culture; DoD’s chief of transformation says plans call for mental agility
— Air Force Times, December 2001
Pentagon strategy shifting to agility, better home defense
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 2001
Bush Vows an Agile, High-tech Military
— The Associated Press, May 2001
In the reporting trade, these kinds of stories are referred to as “evergreens” – because they’re always true, they can run pretty much any time. But just because the Pentagon re-announces its quest for agility is no reason for the press to embrace it as it it’s something actually new.