The Warlord Remembers Ike Skelton (1931 – 2013)
Ike Skelton was one of my patron saints when I labored on Capitol Hill as Senior Specialist in National Defense with the Congressional Research Service. He wrote the first blurb on the back cover of my Military Strategy treatise. Here’s how we cemented relationships after lengthy professional relationship:
Les Aspin, in his capacity as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in 1987, gave Congressman Ike Skelton his choice of several specialized panels. Mr. Skelton invited me to discuss that matter over lunch in the Capitol. I recommended that he concentrate on professional military education, with particular attention to military strategy, which both of us found fascinating. My testimony before Ike’s Military Education Panel on 21 April 1988 identified problems and suggested solutions at senior service colleges: staffs, faculties, curricula, instructional materials, related research, the works. His “thank you” note said, “Your excellent testimony and keen insights into issues we are studying were precisely what I had hoped for….” He then contacted JCS Chairman Admiral William J. Crowe, who announced, “I know John Collins, whom you have correctly described as an original thinker….You will be pleased to learn that members of the Joint Staff have already spoken with Colonel Collins as they prepared the JCS position on joint education.”
Partial payment for Ike’s repeated support included my research assistant Tommy Glakas, who became Skelton’s Legislative Assistant on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) when his two-year term terminated, migrated to Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a professor with the Marshall Center, then returned to the HASC as Skelton’s Democratic Staff Director. I later bullyragged Ike until he joined the Warlord Loop as a “drawing card” and conduit to national security powerhouses in the Pentagon and Congress. The mold broke when gracious gentleman Skelton departed this veil of tears. He will be much missed by many from the far left to the far right on this great Nation’s political spectrum.
John Collins enlisted as an Army private in 1942; retired as a colonel 30 years later; served almost 24 more years as Senior Specialist in National Defense with the Congressional Research Service; conceived, recruited, and for 14+ more years steered the Warlord Loop, a unique national security debating forum; and meanwhile authored 12 books. He is a Contributing Editor at War on the Rocks.