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through the Joint school system, all coupled with short tours, makes it very difficult for Joint Staff officers, no matter how capable (and many are very capable), to deal effectively with these major staff responsibilities. The result is that the Chairman lacks the support he needs to carry out his responsibilities, and the Secretary of Defense is not provided the kind of military staff support he needs, has a right to expect, and could be provided if the Services gave greater weight to Jointduty positions in their management of officer personnel. (page
43) f. Rapid Turnover Rates
Compounding limited experience and education is the departure of officers from the OJCS soon after they develop some expertise in their joint assignments. The average tour lengths of officers serving in the OJCS is less than 30 months. Even worse, the Joint Staff leadership positions occupied by general and flag officers normally change every 24 months. (Chairman's Special Study Group, page 42) The rapid turnover of officers who already lacked previous joint experience or education makes it extremely difficult for the OJCS staff to perform its important staff responsibilities. Moreover, as the Chairman's Special Study Group notes, because of these short tours: "there is virtually no corporate memory." (page 42)
3. INSUFFICIENT OJCS REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF CONTINGENCY
In Chapter 3 (OSD), the absence of effective civilian review of non-nuclear contingency plans was identified as a problem area. Contributing to this problem was the JCS view that the Secretary of Defense, and possibly his Deputy, were the only civilians (because of the Secretary's command function) who had a need to have access to contingency plans. While the JCS have full and free access to contingency plans prepared by the operational commands, they have given limited attention to reviewing these plans. Inattention to this important duty has been identified as the third problem area in OJCS.
Military contingency plans present only one set of options that should be available to the President during a crisis. There should be diplomatic and economic options developed by agencies other than DoD to provide the full range of alternative courses of action. This comprehensive array of options -military, diplomatic, and economic -should be coordinated in the interagency planning process under the direction of the staff of the National Security Council. Evaluation of interagency planning is beyond the scope of this study. The focus will be exclusively on military contingency planning conducted within DoD.
Global and regional military contingency plans are developed through a JCS system, entitled the Joint Operation Planning Systems (JOPS). The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP), prepared annually by the JCS, is the document that initiates contingency planning. JSCP lists the planning tasks for commanders of combatant commands and allocates combat forces for planning purposes. Contingency plans are prepared by the combatant commanders in response to JSCP tasking and are submitted to the JCS for review and approval. The Joint Staff Officers Guide, Armed Forces Staff College Publication 1, makes an interesting observation about JOPS:
There is no formal relationship between the PPBS and JOPS, but each system obviously exerts a strong influence on the other. It is the military Services that provide a real link, if
not a formal one, between the PPBS and JOPS. (pages 5-13) The combined failure of senior civilian officials and the JCS to give adequate attention to contingency plans and to connect them to the resource allocation process is one of the gravest shortcomings of DoD. Two deficiencies result from this failure: (1) the plans for military action in a crisis or war may not be adequate or realistic, especially from a political perspective; and (2) the useful feedback that contingency plans could provide to future resource allocations is lost. In his draft paper, “Strategymaking in DoD”, Ambassador Robert W. Komer is highly critical of the current contingency planning process:
the non-nuclear war planning process has become routinized, without much imaginative consideration at CINC or JCS level of strategic alternatives. All too few war plans over the last 15 years have called for changing operational strategy in any significant respect. By and large the strategy they call for remains the same, and the whole focus is on getting more
resources to execute them. (page 19) John Kester has also criticized the quality of work in the JCS system on operational plans:
The plans prepared by the joint staff often have dismayed outsiders who had occasion to read them. No "canned" plan, of course, will perfectly fit a real-world situation. But too often it has been discovered when a crisis was at hand that the relevant JCS plans assumed away the hardest problems -by focusing, for example, only on a single contingency involving full-scale enemy invasion; or by assuming that military forces elsewhere would be unaffected and available; or by scheduling reinforcements either too rapidly for available transport or too slowly to arrive before the war was over. Sometimes plans have offered presidents few options between “do nothing" or "shoot the works” by all-out commitment of forces. (“The
Future of the Joint Chiefs of Staff", page 12) In his report, National Security Policy Integration, Philip Odeen cited one instance in which a Secretary of Defense found available contingency plans inadequate. According to Mr. Odeen, after the 1969 shoot down of a U.S. EC-121 aircraft by North Korea:
... Secretary Laird directed the OSD staff to assess selected JCS contingency plans because of his dissatisfaction with the contingency options available when the crisis occurred. (page
38) Many of the professional military officers who provided comments to the Chairman's Special Study Group were critical of the limited OJCS emphasis on contingency plans and the planning process itself. For example, some Service Chiefs believe that:
Organizational changes within the Joint Staff to improve responsiveness and effectiveness are needed, with particular em
phasis on improved war planning. (page 29) Some operational commanders held a similar view:
There needs to be more emphasis on war planning in the Joint Staff. Moreover, the process used to develop military op
eration plans takes too long. (page 33) There are three basic causes of insufficient OJCS review and oversight of contingency plans: (1) contingency plans are not central concerns of the Services and the Service Chiefs; (2) inadequate guidance from the civilian leadership to set the framework for contingency plans; and (3) inadequate quality of the OJCS staff. As the previous quotations suggest, the contingency planning process may also be deficient. It was not possible within the scope of this study to validate problems within this process.
a. Absence of Service Interest
The Chairman's Special Study Group summarizes JCS tasks as follows:
The basic tasks of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are these: (1) to develop and present Joint military advice to the Secretary and the President on a wide variety of issues involving military strategy, objectives, plans, and programs; (2) to guide the development, by the Commanders in Chief of the Unified Commands (the CINCs), of military operation plans for U.S. forces operating jointly and in combination with allied forces; and (3) to support and oversee the execution of those plans by the
CINCs, as the agent of the Commander in Chief. (page 2) By far, the greatest Service interest is in the first task because of its impact on the allocation of resources. Given the mission of the Services to equip, man, train, and supply combat forces, their attention is focused almost exclusively on resources. Naturally, this becomes the greatest interest of the Service Chief. As was previously noted, this is one of the reasons that Service Chiefs do not delegate Service responsibilities to their Vice Chiefs. Given the limited time that a Service Chief can devote to his JCS duties, it is understandable why contingency plans do not receive adequate attention.
The third JCS task -execution of contingency plans -receives considerable attention during a crisis. Each Service Chief wants to ensure that his Service gets a piece of the action” and appropriate recognition of its capabilities and contributions.
The second task —the actual development of contingency plans -is very low on Service priorities. It, therefore, receives limited attention.
b. Inadequate Civilian Guidance
Given that only the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense have access to contingency plans, there is no mechanism for providing civilian guidance to be used in developing contingency plans. Regarding contingency plans, the Steadman Report states:
...present arrangements place too great a burden on the Secretary and Deputy Secretary for assuring that there is suffi
cient continuing policy guidance in these areas. (page 43) Only once has the civilian leadership attempted to provide formal guidance for contingency plans. In 1980, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown issued a Planning Guidance for Contingency Planning (PGCP). According to Ambassador Komer, this document
...designed to provide broad policy guidelines and assumptions consonant with national policy and SecDef's own defense
guidance. (“Strategymaking in DoD", page 18) The absence of civilian guidance has forced military officers to develop their own assumptions and guidelines for the preparation of contingency plans. John Kester notes this situation:
...the drafting of plans is done by officers in the joint staff who often can find little specific direction in the department's general policy and program documents. They have in the past received little guidance from senior military officers, and usually none from the civilians in the Department of Defense.
(page 16) The Commanders in Chief (CINC's) of the operational commands also reflected this fact in their comments to the Chairman's Special Study Group:
The CINCs sometimes get fuzzy guidance from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The CINCs recognize that JCS guidance must be based on OSD guidance that may itself tend to lack certain specifics; but it is virtually impossible for a military commander to deal with a military mission that depends on guidance ob
jectives such as 'deter', or 'dissuade'. (page 34) The absence of civilian guidance clearly undermines the entire contingency planning process and may encourage senior military officials, including the Service Chiefs, to devote limited time to it.
c. Inadequate Quality of the OJCS Staff
The inadequate quality of the OJCS staff has been previously discussed. This deficiency is mentioned here because OJCS staff officers seldom have the credentials to be effective joint planners. E. DESCRIPTION OF SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEM AREAS
Throughout the history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -a period spanning over 40 years there have been at least 20 major studies and proposals on the organization of the U.S. military establishment, all of which have recommended some changes in the JCS. In addition, a host of individual studies and proposals for reform have originated from scholars and retired military officers. Few of these countless proposals and recommendations have been taken seriously, and an even smaller number have actually been adopted. The JCS remains substantially the same institution that was first established formally in 1947. The few changes that have occurred —such as those instituted in 1958 and 1984 —did not alter the fundamental nature of the institution.
In this section, possible solutions to problem areas of the JCS system are described. It should be noted that the options presented in this section to solve a problem area may or may not be mutually exclusive. In some instances, only one of the options to solve a problem area could be implemented. In other cases, several options might be complementary.
1. PROBLEM AREA #1–INADEQUATE UNIFIED MILITARY ADVICE
Proposals to correct this problem area can be grouped into three categories: (1) remove the Service Chiefs from the institution that provides unified military advice; (2) enhance the independent authority of the JCS Chairman; and (3) make other changes to enhance the prospects for useful and timely unified military advice. Within these three categories, a total of 12 options have been developed.
a. remove the Service Chiefs from the institution that provides unified military advice
The dual responsibilities of the Service Chiefs have proven to be a major impediment to the formulation of useful and timely unified military advice. Accordingly, options to eliminate the inherent conflict of interest of these dual responsibilities are worthy of careful consideration. Should a proposal to remove the Service Chiefs from the institution that provides unified military advice be adopted, it may be necessary to ensure that Service representation on the Defense Resources Board be made a permanent feature of that decision-making council.
o Option 1A -establish a Joint Military Advisory Council This option proposes the replacement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a Joint Military Advisory Council. This council would have the same responsibilities as are now assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in section 141 of title 10, United States Code. Under this option, however, the Service Chiefs would no longer have responsibilities for providing unified military advice. Instead, they would dedicate all their time to serving as the military leaders of their Services.
The JCS Chairman would become the Chairman of the Joint Military Advisory Council. In addition to the Chairman, the council would consist of a 4-star military officer from each Service. These officers should have had substantial joint experience, preferably having served a tour as a commander of a unified or specified command. Service on the Joint Military Advisory Council would be the final tour of duty for all members. To provide the necessary continuity, one of the members of the council would be designated as the Deputy Chairman. The Chairman and his Deputy would be from different Service pairs: one would be from the Army or Air Force and the other from the Navy or Marine Corps.
Proposals to create a military advisory council are not new. General Omar N. Bradley, USA, then JCS Chairman, recommended in 1952 the creation of a National Military Council consisting of military elder statesmen from each of the Services. In his book, The Uncertain Trumpet, published in 1959, General Maxwell D. Taylor,