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When I speak of substituting good government for poor government, I do not mean electing one individual, one symbol, one person to typify the might and majesty of America—by no means. I mean to elect a team, to send to Washington the pick of our men and women chosen according to merit.

—Candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower at Newark, Oct. 17, 1952

In the green-carpeted Cabinet Room of the White House, 21 men sat down one morning last week to consider the most vital aspects of U.S. defense. First to speak at the...

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