This is quite an interesting piece on Ike and the military-industrial complex.

Probably the only President in modern history who really understood how the military worked.

As president, Eisenhower kept a skeptical eye on “those boys down at the Pentagon,” as he called them. Eisenhower believed in what he called “The Great Equation,” the balance of security and economic needs. Eisenhower knew, from long experience, not the least as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, that the military was skillful at getting politicians to pay for unnecessary weapons systems by exaggerating the threat.
When Defense Secretary Neil McElroy warned him in 1959 that further budget cuts would harm national security, Eisenhower replied, “If you go to any military installation in the world where the American flag is flying and tell the commander that Ike says he’ll give him a gold star for his shoulder of he cuts the budget, there’ll be such a rush to cut costs that you’ll have to get out of the way.”

Eisenhower would periodically sigh to his staff secretary, General Andrew Goodpaster, “God help the nation when it has a president who doesn’t know as much about the military as I do.”

The warning was not idle. John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were politicians who believed in compromise and half-way measures, which they translated into warfare with words like “flexible response,” “surgical strikes,” and “gradual escalation.” The result was America’s descent into the Vietnam War.

Eisenhower, who had run a total war in Europe, was an all-or-nothing man. He warned JFK and LBJ to go all-in or get out of Vietnam. They did not listen.
Ike was certainly not perfect, but we could use another President who had this kind of savvy about how the Pentagon works ... and could be respected by those at the Pentagon.