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c. North American Aerospace Defense Command
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) consists of U.S. and Canadian air forces. It is commanded by General Robert T. Herres, USAF, whose title is Commander in Chief, NORAD (CINCNORAD). General Herres also commands the U.S. Aerospace Defense Command, a U.S. specified command.
d. ROK/US Combined Forces Command
The ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC) in Korea is commanded by General William J. Livsey, USA, whose title is Commander in Chief, CFC (CINC, CFC). General Livsey is also Commander, U.S. Forces, Korea, a sub-unified command of the U.S. Pacific Command. He also commands the United Nations Command and the U.S. Army component, Eighth U.S. Army, of his sub-unified command. E. PROBLEM AREAS AND CAUSES
This examination of the unified and specified commands identified six broad problem areas, all of which apply to the unified commands, but only two of which apply to the specified commands. First, the chain of command from the Commander in Chief to the operational commanders is confused, which is a deficiency of major proportions. Second, the authority of the unified commanders over their Service components is weak. Third, there is an imbalance between the responsibilities and accountability of the unified commanders and their ability to obtain the mix of resources that they need to fulfill their missions. The fourth problem area is the absence of unification below the level of the unified commander and his staff. Fifth, the Unified Command Plan does not receive an objective review. Last, there has been unnecessary micro-management of tactical operations and circumvention of the chain of command by the National Command Authority (President and Secretary of Defense) during crises.
When the second, third, and fourth problem areas listed above are considered in combination, the authority of the unified commanders can be seen to be extremely limited. They have weak authority over their components, limited influence over resources, and an inability to promote greater unification within their commands. These deficiencies are inherent in the organizational arrangements, established in 1948, for the unified commands. President Eisenhower noted these deficiencies in his message to the Congress on the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958. He stated:
Because I have often seen the evils of diluted command, I emphasize that each Unified Commander must have unquestioned authority over all units of his command.... Today a unified command is made up of component commands from each military department, each under a commander of that department. The commander's authority over these component commands is short of the full command required for maximum efficiency....I recommend, therefore, that present law, including certain restrictions relating to combatant functions, be so amended as to remove any possible obstacles to the full unity of our commands and the full command over them by unified commanders. (The Department of Defense 1944-1978, pages
179-180) The arrangements that President Eisenhower sought have never been implemented and the deficiencies persist. As the Report of the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel notes:
Despite the establishment of the unified command concept in the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, as requested by President Eisenhower, the relationship and relative authority between the Unified Commander and the component commander, and between the component commander and his Military Department, remain substantially unchanged.
The net result is an organizational structure in which “unification" of either command or of the forces is more cosmetic
than substantive. (page 50) 1. CONFUSED CHAIN OF COMMAND FROM THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
TO THE OPERATIONAL COMMANDERS There is considerable confusion over the roles of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the operational chain of command. As a result, the appropriate relationships between the operational commanders and those above them in the chain of command are very uncertain. There are two basic causes of this confusion: unclear statutes relating to the role of the Secretary of Defense in the chain of command and an ambiguous DoD directive relating to the role of the JCS. The chain of command is further confused by the de facto influence that individual Service Chiefs retain over the operational commands. This influence is not the result of formal responsibilities assigned by statute or DoD directive, but is derived from the substantial dependence of the operational commanders on the Service Chiefs for resources and for subsequent career assignments. In many aspects, because of the continuing influence of the Service Chiefs, the executive agent arrangement for operational commands persists despite its termination in 1958. This de facto influence of the Service Chiefs has been identified as a third cause of the confused chain of command.
a. Lack of Statutory Clarity on the Role of the Secretary of Defense.
Under the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, the operational military chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the unified and specified commands who are "responsible to the President and the Secretary (of Defense) for such military missions as may be assigned to them by the Secretary [of Defense) with the approval of the President.” (Section 124(c)(1) of title 10)
While the statutes have been consistently interpreted as placing the Secretary of Defense in the chain of command, the statutes are not clear. For example, nowhere in the statutes is the Secretary of Defense given the authority "to command". In addition, the statutes are silent on the question of who actually commands the operational commanders.
In his study on Military Command Authority: Constitutional, Statutory, and Regulatory Bases, Peter P. Wallace discusses the
statutory ambiguity of the Secretary of Defense's command authority:
One could construct several reasonable arguments that the Secretary has this authority by implication. For example one might argue that the command authority is included within the "authority, direction and control" of the Defense Department. Or that since all residuary powers were vested in the Secretary by the 1949 amendments, and the 1958 amendments specifically took the service secretaries out of the operational chain, the command authority now resides in the Secretary of Defense. Or lastly one might rely on the legislative history of the 1958 amendments which rather clearly indicates that the Congressional intent was to give the Secretary of Defense all the power to run that department that statute could confer, and hence an element so important as command must have been included therein. Yet, it is this very point that makes any attempt to derive command authority by implication so unpersuasive. Command is so critically important that one really has difficulty believing that Congress or the nation could rest very comfortably leaving the command authority open to argument. But this seems to be precisely what has happened. (Pages 27
28) b. Ambiguity of DoD Directive 5100.1
On December 31, 1958, Secretary of Defense McElroy created the greatest ambiguity in the chain of command by amending Department of Defense Directive 5100.1. This directive, entitled “Functions of the Department of Defense and its Major Components,” was changed to provide: "The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense and through the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the commanders of unified and specified commands.' (emphasis added) This provision departed significantly from the precise statutory scheme concerning the combatant commands which did not include the JCS. The only elaboration that this ambiguous formula receives is in the directive's description of one of the functions of the JCS:
1. To serve as advisers and as military staff in the chain of operational command with respect to unified and specified commands, to provide a channel of communications from the President and Secretary of Defense to unified and specified commands, and to coordinate all communications in matters of joint interest addressed to the commanders of the unified or
specified commands by other authority. (page 4) The language of the directive could imply any of three roles for the JCS. First, they could merely be the instrumentality through which command is exercised, making no input of their own. This role, implied by the "channel of communications” language, would portray the JCS as merely the command voice of higher authority.
A second possibility is that the JCS would function more as a traditional military staff with the Secretary of Defense as the commander. This interpretation finds some support in the "advisers and military staff language of the directive. This interpretation would seem to imply that the JCS would generate options and oversee implementation of the Secretary's decisions, but the business of command would be conducted primarily between the Secretary and the operational commanders.
The third possibility is that the JCS would function as a fullfledged link in the chain of command. This role finds explicit support in the description of the chain of command. Under this interpretation, the JCS would not only generate but also choose and implement options; be the principal, if not exclusive, contact at the DoD policymaking level for the operational commanders; and only involve the Secretary with problems that were beyond their capability to solve. The closed staff nature of the JCS system offers evidence that supports this third interpretation. If either the first or second interpretations reflected reality, it would be necessary for extensive interaction between the JCS system and the Secretary of Defense and his staff. This interaction is not possible due to the obstacles to communication resulting from the closed staff characteristics of the JCS system.
While all three possibilities seem plausible under the directive, the third interpretation seems to most closely describe reality. For example, Admiral Thomas Moorer, USN, then Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman of the JCS, described the chain of command of the Pueblo during her seizure by North Korea on January 23, 1968 as follows:
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, of which the Chief of Naval Operations is the Navy member, exercise command of all operating forces. Thus in the case of Pueblo, the command chain ran up from CTF 96; to Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet; Commander-in-Chief, Pacific; to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who in turn report to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
through the Secretary of Defense. (emphasis added) Despite the tenuous basis for command authority provided by DoD Directive 5100.1, the JCS certainly seem to exercise it, at least on occasion.
Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, USN (Retired), shares Admiral Moorer's view of the chain of command. In his book, Strategy for Defeat, Vietnam in Retrospect, Admiral Sharp refers to the JCS as "military commanders” (page 33); indicates that while serving as CINCPAC, he was “under the direct authority of the JCS” (page 35); and presents a chart showing the JCS in the chain of command (page 38)
Further evidence of command authority being exercised by JCS members is presented in Graham T. Allison's book, Essence of Decision - Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, concerning the naval blockade of Cuba:
Nevertheless, the President expressed concern that the Navy -already frustrated because of the leashing of its designed blockade -might blunder into an incident. Sensing the President's fears, McNamara decided to explore the organization's procedures and routines for making the first interception. Calling on the Chief of Naval Operations in the Navy's inner sanctum, the Navy Flag Plot, McNamara put his questions
harshly. Precisely what would the Navy do when the first interception occurred? Anderson replied that he had outlined the procedures in the National Security Council meeting and that there was no need to discuss it further. Angered but still calm, McNamara began to lecture the admiral. According to Elie Abel's reconstruction of that lecture, McNamara firmly explained that:
The object of the operation was not to shoot Russians but to communicate a political message from President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev. The President wanted to avoid pushing Khrushchev to extremes. The blockade must be so conducted as to avoid humiliating the Russians; otherwise Khrushchev might react in a nuclear spasm. By the conventional rules, blockade was an act of war and the first Soviet ship that refused to submit to boarding and search risked being sent to the bottom. But this was a military action with a political objective. Khrushchev must somehow be persuaded to pull back, rather than be goaded
into retaliation. Sensing that Anderson was not moved by this logic, McNamara returned to the line of detailed questioning. Who would make the first interception? Were Russian-speaking officers on board? How would submarines be dealt with? At one point McNamara asked Anderson what he would do if a Soviet ship's captain refused to answer questions about his cargo. At that point the Navy man picked up the Manual of Naval Regulations and, waving it in McNamara's face, shouted, “It's all in there.” To which McNamara replied, “I don't give a damn what John Paul Jones would have done. I want to know what you are going to do now." The encounter ended on Anderson's remark: “Now, Mr. Secretary, if you and your Deputy will go back to your offices, the Navy will run the blockade." (pages
131-132) A footnote to this portion of the book also proves interesting:
According to Abel, some witnesses say that Anderson "accused McNamara of 'undue interference in naval matters.' The Admiral, thereafter Ambassador to Portugal, said that this was not his recollection, adding that he was brought up
never to say such a thing even if he felt it. (page 309) Not only does the confused chain of command hamper the ability of the Department of Defense to manage crises, it also poses a dilemma for the operational commanders in peacetime. The operational commanders may believe that the only forum available to them to raise joint Service issues is the JCS, which is often not a hospitable forum for doing so as noted in Chapter 4. Should they choose to exercise their statutory right to go to the Secretary of Defense, thus circumventing the JCS, they may feel that they would be undermining their own positions and jeopardizing their careers.
c. De Facto Influence of the Service Chiefs
Clearly, by law and regulation, the Service Chiefs are in the chain of command only as members of the JCS. As individual Serv