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When you raise issues with the President, try to come away with both that decision and also a precedent. Pose issues so as to evoke broader policy guidance. This can help to answer a range of similar issues likely to arise later.
When cutting staff at the Pentagon, don't eliminate the thin layer that assures civilian control.
When asked for your views, by the press or others, remember that what they really want to know is the President's views.
Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was - by a taxpayer.
Think ahead. Don't let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact.
The way to do well is to do well.
The Secretary of Defense is not a super General or Admiral. His task is to exercise civilian control over the Department for the Commander-in-Chief and the country.
The price of being close to the President is delivering bad news. You fail him if you don't tell him the truth. Others won't do it.
The Federal Government should be the last resort, not the first. Ask if a potential program is truly a federal responsibility or whether it can better be handled privately, by voluntary organizations, or by local or state governments.
Test ideas in the marketplace. You learn from hearing a range of perspectives. Consultation helps engender the support decisions need to be successfully implemented.
See that the President, the Cabinet and staff are informed. If cut out of the information flow, their decisions may be poor, not made, or not confidently or persuasively implemented.
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