The Rumsfeld Papers


About the 2001-06 Snowflakes

When I returned to the Pentagon in 2001, I continued writing the short memos that had been nicknamed “snowflakes” some years ago.  They quickly became a system of communication with the many employees of DoD, as I would initiate a topic with a short memo to the relevant person, who would in turn provide research, background, or a course of action as necessary.  In the digital age it was much easier to keep the originals on file so I could track their progress.  They quickly grew in number from mere flurries to a veritable blizzard.


The term “snowflake” covers a range of communications, from notes to myself on topics I found interesting, to extended instructions to my associates, to simple requests for a haircut.  There was no set template; some are several pages and some just a few words.  They were all conceived individually and I had never considered them as a set until I started work on the memoir.  I then found that when reviewed together, they give a remarkable sense of the variety of topics that are confronted by a secretary of defense.