I woke up this morning in the Marriott Crystal City. Nothing unusual in that, except that it's Saturday. Normally it would bum me out to travel on the weekend, but last night I was in town to attend Lt. General Sorenson's retirement dinner. I was honored to be among the 150 or so friends and colleagues there to celebrate his 37 years of service to his country and the U.S. Army.
I've only known him for a few years so it was touching to meet his friends, some going all the way back to high school. They made the trip from all over to be there on his last day in the Army. The sincerity with which his long career was feted was a testament to his style of leadership. You attend these things out of respect, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Part sincere send off, part variety show, it was an unexpectedly pleasurable evening.
The biggest surprise came when Brig(?) General Jeffrey Smith donned his harmonica and guitar and channeled the Smother's Brothers for an amazing and funny send up. It was absolutely brilliant and transformed the Ft. Meyers O Club into a television sound stage. My favorite snippet, and a line I'll use again was: "Cyberspace isn't that complicated. It's like a vibrating bed in a Holiday Inn. Drop in a quarter and people start connecting."
For my part, I just want to thank Lt. General Sorenson for taking some risks these last few years. Of course he will be most remembered for GNEC, and that's appropriate. But I most appreciate his embrace of innovation at the edge. He put his weight behind experiments like Apps for Army and the ArmyTransformation Architecture and planted the seeds for an ongoing transformation.
Leadership roles get filled by either caretakers or visionary change agents and Jeff Sorenson is cut from the second kind of cloth.
General Sorenson, you ended the night by thanking us.
But I really want to thank you sir.