Local News

Former, Current Chairmen Of Joint Chiefs Of Staff In Raleigh To Discuss Business, Iraq

Posted November 15, 2002 4:14 a.m. EST

— Both the former and current Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were in Raleigh Friday to discuss the importance of leadership in the business world and the potential for war against Iraq.

Gen. Hugh Shelton, an Edgecombe County native and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who spent 38 years in the military, spoke Friday at the Hugh Shelton Initiative for Leadership Development forum. He spoke about the importance of values-based leadership, something which he said needs to be practiced on the battlefield and in the corporate boardroom.

Shelton, who recently recovered from a serious fall at his Virginia home, discussed recent scandals at companies such as Enron as examples of unethical leadership. Shelton said corporate CEOs, like military commanders, make decisions that dramatically impact people's lives.

"You don't have to go too far to see that in action. When WorldCom collapsed right there in the D.C. area, we had hundreds of people whose lives were affected by that," he said.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke at the leadership conference. He said the military is prepared for whatever Iraqi president Saddam Hussein might throw at U.S. forces, including chemical weapons.

"Given that they used them on Iran and given that they've used them on their own people, we have to figure that that might be something that could happen, so we have to prepare for that," he said.

Myers joined the Air Force in 1965. In the early 1980s, he was stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro. Myers said he is confident U.S. troops can complete whatever task the President asks, but he would not predict how long that might take.

"War is a very inefficient business," he said. "The military will be given a mission and I think to achieve that mission, we'll take whatever time it takes. The Secretary said that could be five weeks or five months. We have to be prepared to get the mission done, no matter how long it takes."

Michael Durant, the Army pilot whose story was told in the movie, "Black Hawk Down," was also a speaker at the forum.