It's worth noting that Gates' military assistant, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former commander of multinational forces in Iraq, is among the officers who have written articles calling for a shift in priorities among the Army's missions and a shift in personnel policies to promote commanders who are well-disposed to reform.
Whether this shift takes hold of the Army establishment is another matter. Defense secretaries come and go, but the Army staff stays forever—and this defense secretary is leaving in a little more than a year. But in part owing to articles by several creative officers—Chiarelli, Lt. Col. John Nagl, and especially Lt. Col. Paul Yingling—the critique of the promotion system has been percolating for the past year or so in defense-policy circles of both parties. The winds are blowing; the ground is shaking. At least on this level of things, change might really be in the offing.