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tably to bridge the gap between Johnson's office and the naval high command. The Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, stepped forward to be the spokesman of Navy interests while Denfeld maintained his relations with Johnson and Matthews [Secretary of the Navy). When, in the drama of a Congressional hearing, Denfeld sided with the rest of the Navy, he was fired as CNO.
The intricate development of events which thus ended his naval career is not our concern here, but its significance is. Denfeld had found it impossible as Chief of Naval Operations to play simultaneously the two roles thrust upon him: chief spokesman for the professional Navy and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the two diverged, he favored the second role, only to find that he had been virtually deprived of the first. When the House Armed Services Committee hearings on "Unification and Strategy" finally opened in October, 1949, he found himself in growing isolation from his service, and Admiral Radford was at the tiller. When Denfeld finally sided with the rest of the Navy high command, it was only to acknowledge that the playing of his second role, as a member of the JCS, depended upon the performance of his first, as spokesman for the Navy. His firing was therefore a true administrative tragedy, for the seeds of his destruction were inherent in the
office which he held. (page 246) Hammond reaches the following conclusion from these events:
...As Admiral Denfeld's experience as Chief of Naval Operations suggests, a service Chief remains in effective control of his service only so long as he maintains its confidence; and nothing can cause the loss of that confidence faster than his abandonment of the role of service spokesman in the JCS.
(page 349) In sum, the Service Chiefs cannot effectively fulfill both roles assigned to them. They cannot balance Service and joint interests. As the previously quoted statement from the Chairman's Special Study Group notes: "What the current system demands of the Chiefs is often unrealistic.” More than 40 years of experience with the JCS system has shown the theoretical model to be invalid. The JCS have consistently failed to provide the quality of joint military advice that the Secretary of Defense and other senior decisionmakers vitally need. b) insufficient time to perform both roles
It is also claimed that “dual-hatting” overburdens Service Chiefs by requiring them to shoulder more responsibilities than one person can handle. Simply performing all the duties entailed in leading a military Service is enough to fully consume the time and energy of a single individual. As serious as this problem might be in peacetime, it, of course, would be exacerbated during a prolonged crisis or war.
In 1958, an effort was made to correct this problem by authorizing the Service Chiefs to delegate duties to the Service Vice Chiefs. In his message to the Congress on the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, President Eisenhower explained this change:
I therefore propose that present law be changed to make it clear that each chief of a military service may delegate major portions of his service responsibilities to his vice chief. Once this change is made, the Secretary of Defense will require the chiefs to use their power of delegation to enable them to make their Joint Chiefs of Staff duties their principal duties. (The
Department of Defense 1944-1978, page 181) The effort to shift burdens from the Service Chief to the Vice Chief has not been successful. The Service Chiefs continue to be substantially involved in Service matters. The Chairman's Special Study Group noted this outcome:
..Legislation was passed to permit the Service Chief to deleate his Service responsibilities to his Vice Chief, and thus free himself for Joint matters. But, in practice, no Service Chief can or will do that. The Chief is still the Chief, by tradition, inclination, and expectation. Furthermore, just managing their Service can keep both the Chief and his Vice Chief fully occu
pied. (page 55) The reluctance of a Service Chief to delegate responsibilities to his Vice Chief is an important point. Basically, a Service Chief wants to remain involved in Service matters because that is where his real interests lie. Dr. Lawrence J. Korb in his book, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses this fact:
The problem of the service chief is not that he cannot divest himself of his service duties. The real problem is he does not want to. The man who spends nearly forty years as a follower in his service sees his appointment to the JCS as the opportunity to remake his service in his own image. He does not view it as an opportunity to serve as a principal military adviser to
the President and the Secretary of Defense. (page 20) Similarly, the Chairman's Special Study Group concludes:
It should be expected that the Service Chiefs would have mixed feelings about the time they spend on Joint matters. Their Joint advice is not in demand. Their main interest and their constituencies lie with their Services. They cannot deal with many major Joint issues to their satisfaction because they cannot reach agreement without compromising their Service positions or waffling their advice. Many of the Joint issues they deal with they consider unnecessarily time-consuming.
(page 24) The fact that the Service Chiefs do not have sufficient time to perform their two roles has been recognized for a long time as the following quotes from previous studies show. The 1949 Eberstadt Report stated that:
A further source of the deficiencies of the Joint Chiefs lies in the fact that they are, as individuals, too busy with their service duties to give to Joint Chiefs of Staff matters the attention their great importance demands. (page 69)
President Eisenhower emphasized in his 1958 Message to Congress that:
...the Joint Chiefs' burdens are so heavy that they find it very difficult to spend adequate time on their duties as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This situation is produced by their having the dual responsibilities of chiefs of the military services and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The problem
is not new but has not yielded to past efforts to solve it. And the problem persisted, as found by the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel in 1970:
The numerous functions now assigned to members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff impose an excessive workload and a difficult mix of functions and loyalties. Some of these functions must consequently suffer, and the evidence indicates both the strain on individuals who have served in such capacity and a less than desirable level of performance of the numerous functions assigned. This result has occurred despite the outstanding individual ability and dedication of those who have served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and despite attempts to shift a portion of the load from the Chiefs of Service to their Vice Chiefs.
(page 34) The Chairman's Special Study Group in 1982 highlighted another aspect of the problem of excessive time demands:
...the Chiefs must travel extensively to meet their own Seryice leadership obligations... Their travel schedules make it hard for the JCS to maintain continuity as a working group; ...only one-quarter of the time (over the past five years) were all five principals present [at JCS meetings) and 40 percent of the time
two or more were gone. (page 25) (2) limited independent authority of the JCS Chairman
Though having the title of chairman, the JCS Chairman is by law one of five equals. His limited independent authority was discussed by the Chairman's Special Study Group:
...his potential effectiveness is, by law and by practice, curtailed. As one of five equals, he cannot speak authoritatively for the other members of the JCS as a corporate body unless they all agree or he states the positions of the individual Service Chiefs; he is not the "chairman of the board.” Unlike the Service Chiefs, he manages few resources, and resources are an important source of influence. With regard to personnel, he controls no promotions and few assignments, so has little sway over the officers assigned to the Joint Staff and other Joint or
ganizations, including the Unified Commands. (page 18) The inability of the JCS Chairman, the only JCS member with no Service responsibilities, to exercise more than limited authority independently of the Service Chiefs makes it difficult for him to advance his unique joint perspective on issues affecting more than one Service.
However, it should be noted that some argue that the JCS Chairman should only have limited independent authority if civilian control of the military is to be ensured. Those that make this argument believe that the full consideration of the four Services' experiences and expertise ensures that senior civilian decision-makers have the benefit of competitive points of view. This argument is, however, inconsistent with the pattern of JCS advice. Senior civilian decision-makers do not receive the benefit of competitive points of view; the JCS pre-negotiate issues and normally provide only one alternative for consideration by higher authority. General Jones has commented as follows on this argument:
...It is ironic that the services have, with considerable help from outside constituencies, been able to defeat attempts to bring order out of chaos by arguing that a source of alternative military advice [the JCS Chairman) for the President and Secretary of Defense runs the risk of undermining civilian control.
(SASC Hearing, December 16, 1982, page 21) A convincing argument can be made that a more independent JCS Chairman would lead to a greater diversity of views and better defined choices and, as a result, provide for more effective civilian control.
The JCS consists of a presiding officer with more influence but less control than the other four members. In such a collegial organization, the personality and leadership style of the Chairman are crucial to its effective operation. Of course, JCS Chairmen have differed in these personal qualities and, hence, in their effectiveness. However the JCS is organized, the leadership skills of its Chairman will determine to a great extent its success. Indeed, some assert that the JCS has been an ineffective institution principally because of the personality and leadership shortcomings of its Chairmen rather than because of deficiencies in the organizational structure.
The determination of the JCS to reach a consensus on issues (instead of distinct alternatives) minimizes the independent authority of the JCS Chairman. Rather than developing and pressing his own views, he must be concerned with harmonizing the competing views of the Services. In doing so, however, the Chairman cannot rely on any executive authority over the Service Chiefs; instead, he must simply hope to persuade them to accept his suggestions. General Jones discusses the JCS Chairman's difficult position in the following terms:
Only the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is unconstrained by a service constituency, but he is in a particularly difficult position. His influence stems from his ability to persuade all his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff to agree on a course of action and any disagreement requires by law a report to the Secretary of Defense. A Chairman jeopardizes his effectiveness if, early in his tour, he creates dissension within the corporate body by trying to force the services to share some of their authority. (SASC Hearing, December 16, 1982,
Despite their lack of statutory freedom to volunteer military advice in their own right, former JCS Chairmen have provided their personal views on an ad hoc basis to the Secretary of Defense and the President. Apparently, these personal views have often differed from the institutional views of the JCS. Former Secretaries of Defense have testified that this informal guidance was very helpful -usually more useful than the written advice generated by the JCS staff process. Again, however, it appears that JCS Chairmen have been able to offer their own military advice only to Secretaries of Defense and Presidents with whom they enjoyed personal relations of trust and confidence. In any organization, the willingness of a superior to accept the advice of a subordinate is seldom a function of formal organizational relationships, particularly in cases where the superior has no control over the selection of his subordinates. Rather, relationships of trust and confidence, like those that should exist between the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, largely depend upon personalities and perceived confidence. Such relationships cannot be legislated.
If the Chairman's informal practice of providing his own advice is to be expressly authorized and encouraged by law, he would be constrained by the current legal requirement that he manage the Joint Staff "on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". (Section 141(d), title 10) That mandate would hinder the Chairman from drawing upon the Joint Staff for the kind of support which he would require to develop his own views. (3) desire for unanimity
Section 142(b) of title 10, United States Code, specifies the following as one of the duties of the JCS Chairman:(3) inform the Secretary of Defense, and, when the President or the Secretary of Defense considers it appropriate, the President, of those issues upon which the Joint Chiefs of Staff have not agreed.
The elaborate staffing procedures established by the Joint Chiefs to develop their corporate views reflect their strong interest in achieving unanimity. Although there is no statutory or administrative requirement, successive groups of Joint Chiefs have labored to develop unanimous positions on all but a small number of matters. Apparently, the JCS has believed that its recommendations carry more weight if they reflect the agreement of all of the Chiefs. Rather than offer policy alternatives to the President or the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs have considered it their responsibility to debate and refine the options into a single recommendation. The effective result is that the Services can frustrate an agreement on most Joint Staff actions.
In his draft paper, “Strategymaking in DoD,” Ambassador Robert W. Komer, former Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), comments on the negative impact of the JCS desire for unanimity:
Because of the way it operates, the JCS system is the prisoner of the services which comprise it. The rule of unanimity which the JCS deliberately impose on themselves in order to achieve a unified view vis-a-vis the civilians permits in effect a single service veto. This means in turn that JCS advice on any controversial issue almost invariably reflects the lowest common denominator of what the Services can agree on. In effect, while this JCS system deprives the nation's military of an adequate voice in defense decisionmaking, this must be regarded as mostly a self-inflicted wound. (page 13)