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b. Personnel Strengths
The number of military and civilian personnel authorized to be assigned during fiscal year 1985 to the Service headquarters staffs are shown in the following table. To establish the total size of the top management headquarters of each Military Department, the personnel strengths of the Secretariats are also included in this table.
D. PROBLEM AREAS AND CAUSES
The predominance of the power and influence of the four Services in decision-making is the most critical organizational problem of DoD. As John G. Kester states in his paper, "Do We Need the Service Secretary?":
...the greatest organizational shortcoming of the Department of Defense always has been dominance by the services at the expense of truly joint military preparation and planning. That difficulty has been papered over, since McNamara's time, by building a large OSD staff around the secretary of defense to do things that the parochial services cannot be trusted to do. The underlying defect has never been cured. (The Washington
Quarterly, Winter 1981, page 166) Parochial Service positions have dominated for three basic reasons: (1) OSD is not organized to effectively integrate Service capabilities and programs into the forces needed to fulfill the major missions of DoD; (2) the JCS system is dominated by the Services who retain an effective veto over nearly every JCS action; and (3) the unified commands are also dominated by the Services primarily through the strength and independence of the Service component commanders and constraints placed upon the power and influence of the unified commanders. In sum, the problem of undue Service influence arises principally from the weaknesses of organizations that are responsible for "truly joint military preparation and planning."
Noting this critical problem, some have urged that the four separate Services be disestablished and combined into one uniformed Service, as Canada has done. There is little evidence to support the need for such drastic action in the U.S. military establishment. First, there are substantial benefits to having the four separate Services. Former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown addresses this issue in his book, Thinking About National Security:
Any organization as large as the Department of Defense must be divided into major operating units, with appropriate authority delegated to them. Historically, having an Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines has made considerable sense. Each service has definable functions, and the land, sea, and air environments differ sufficiently to call for differing skills, experience, and sometimes even equipment. The morale and esprit in the military have largely come from service identifications. Recruiting, training, and personnel functions up to a certain level are clearly best carried out in such a structure. Attempts to substitute for service identification some general professional military identification, or a functional identification that would go with the activities of particular unified or
specified commands, are unlikely to work as well. (page 207) Former Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert supported this view in his article, "The Service Secretary: Has He a Useful Role?":
Looking at the big picture of service roles and missions, no reason for separate services seems more important than the freedom to apply many years of thinking and experience to operational concepts and weapon requirements. In the Army, Navy and Air Force, and in the Marines, too, a sense of professionalism has been distilled to: develop each requirement; design and produce the suitable weapon; devise the doctrine to govern its proper use in battle; then train and supply the troops to operate that weapon effectively in a familiar medium.
(Foreign Affairs, April 1966, pages 477 and 478) The second reason for retaining the four-Service structure of DoD is that there are numerous and less drastic actions that can be taken -as presented in this study -to provide for more effective integration of Service capabilities and for more useful joint military preparation and planning. For these reasons, the basic fourService structure of the Department of Defense remains a viable concept.
While the larger problem of undue Service power and influence can most effectively be corrected by changes outside of the Military Departments, there are deficiencies internal to the Departments that, if corrected, could improve their organizational performance. This section discusses four problem areas that have been identified within the Military Departments and presents analyses of their contributing causes. First, there is substantial confusion about the authorities, responsibilities, and roles of the Service Secretaries. Second, there are unnecessary staff layers and duplication of effort within the top management headquarters of the Military Departments. The third problem area is that the Military Departments, like OSD, suffer from inexperienced political appointees. The last problem area is the limited utility of the current assignments of Service roles and missions and the absence of effective mechanisms for changing those assignments.
1. CONFUSION CONCERNING THE ROLES OF THE SERVICE SECRETARIES
The confusion concerning the roles of Service Secretaries is most clearly confirmed by the divergent views of those roles by individuals who are or have been a part of the U.S. military establishment. These individuals share some common views. Most believe that the Service Secretary has an important role as an implementor of effective civilian control of the military although those who cited this role did not agree upon the meaning of civilian control. Many others, but not all, believe that it is the Service Secretary's role to be an advocate for his Military Department's point of view. While some common views were found, conflicting views were prevalent.
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the three incumbent Service Secretaries and one former Service Secretary presented divergent views on principal Service Secretary roles. The Secretary of the Army, John O. Marsh, Jr., emphasized the role of Service advocate:
...if Service Secretaries and their staffs are eliminated it would deny one element in the present structure which I believe to be a considerable source of strength. That element is the role of the Service Secretary as the advocate for the Serv
ice... (Part 6, page 217) In contrast, the Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, stated:
...In practice the Service Secretaries should be the senior civilian counselors to the Secretary of Defense on all military matters, operational as well as administrative. (Part 6, page
226) In line with this, Secretary Lehman stated:
... The Secretary of Defense and the Service Secretaries must worry as much about the soundness of military strategy, military operations, military weapons and military leadership as they do about the soundness of contract procedures and spare
parts procurement. (Part 6, page 225) In this same context, he adds:
The Secretaries of the Military Departments, as the principal civilian advisors to the Secretary of Defense, have a voice
in the formulation of military strategy. (Part 6, page 260) Secretary Lehman's views regarding the similarity of the roles of the Secretary of Defense and Service Secretaries can be better understood by his statement that
...I am sure had I been Secretary of the Navy in the fifties, I would have opposed strongly the deletion of the Service Secretaries from both the chain of command and the Cabinet... (Part
6, page 228) The Secretary of the Air Force, Verne Orr, emphasized the role of exercising civilian supervision of Military Department programs as well as the following role:
...I also perform a coordinating role between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and its staff and the Air Force. (Part 6,
Former Secretary of the Air Force John L. McLucas emphasized a different role:
...it seems to me that their [Service Secretaries) principal role is and ought to be a managerial one. (Part 6, page 255) John G. Kester, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army and a former Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, has written that:
Today how a service secretary fills his day depends mostly on himself. Although there are few limits on what an active secretary might do, there are few particular things he must do. Staffs above and below would be happy to take over most of his activities. His office, though it has a traditional title, really is defined so broadly as hardly to be described at all. ("Do We Need the Service Secretary?”', The Washington Quarterly,
Winter 1981, page 154) From the foregoing, there can be little doubt that there is confusion and lack of understanding about what the Service Secretary should be doing as the "head" of a Military Department. There are three basic causes of confusion concerning the roles of the Service Secretaries: (1) misconceptions about the roles of the Service Secretaries in the unified Department of Defense; (2) efforts to provide independence for the Service Secretaries from the Secretary of Defense; and (3) lack of consistency and specificity in statutory descriptions of Service Secretary positions.
a. Misconceptions about the Roles of Service Secretaries
As in many other areas, there has been a failure to determine what role the Service Secretaries should play in the unified Department of Defense. With the creation of the National Military Establishment in 1947, the Service Secretaries remained powerful individuals. Their relationship to the Secretary of Defense, however, was never precisely defined. As the role of the Secretary of Defense was clarified and strengthened in 1949, 1953, and 1958, little attention was given to what roles could usefully be fulfilled by the Service Secretaries. In essence, there has been little, if any, redefining of the Service Secretary's roles during his transition from head of an independent, executive-level department to a subordinate of a powerful Secretary of Defense. As John Kester notes:
The role secretaries of Defense have allocated for service secretaries never has been fixed. (“Do We Need the Service Secre
tary?”, The Washington Quarterly, Winter 1981, page 159) Similarly, the Defense Manpower Commission stated:
In all of the services there is a distinct lack of definition as to what the duties of this layer (service secretaries) are other than being “responsible" for policy. (Volume I, Working Paper C, page 25)
Similarly, Eugene M. Zuckert discusses the confusion concerning the roles of the Service Secretaries that existed when he assumed the duties of Secretary of the Air Force in 1961 – 14 years after the position of Secretary of Defense had been established. In his article, "The Service Secretary: Has He a Useful Role?", Zuckert confirms that the roles of the Service Secretary had not been redefined:
Those first six months (of Zuckert's tenure as Secretary of the Air Force) were frankly disappointing because the scope and duties of the job were stripped down from those which had surrounded Symington's stewardship (as Assistant Secretary of War for Air in the immediate post World War II period). A comprehensive management study was prepared by my staff and the barriers that lay between my office and the job I thought I had been hired to do were laid out in detail. (page
465) While Zuckert later recognized the emergence of "a new, important job for the Air Force Secretary as a defense manager," (page 465) it is uncertain that such a clarification of the roles of the Service Secretary were understood or accepted by many others, either during the 1960's or now.
The most important change in the position of the Service Secretary is that he no longer is at the top of the organization, but rather in the middle. While he continues to represent his Service -his principal role prior to 1947 —the Service Secretary must now also meet the needs of the Secretary of Defense. John Kester comments on this new role and its demands:
The secretary inevitably is a man in the middle -in part an advocate for his service to the secretary of defense, in part a firm preceptor who must persuade his service and the Congress that it should accept the secretary of defense's program and the president's budget, even if he personally disagrees with some of the decisions. He has to know what balance to strike, and when to inject some ideas of his own. If his service perceives him as a politically ambitious transient or a supine tool of the Defense staff (OSD), he will be unable to keep them from running around him to the Congress and the press, and will lose their needed help. But if he becomes simply a loudspeaker for service demands, he will not be able to help his service at all. The secretary of defense will pay him no heed (as happened in the 1950s with Army Secretary Wilber Brucker). ("Do
We Need the Service Secretary?", pages 157 and 158) Misconceptions about their roles have precluded Service Secretaries from striking the proper balance between their two major responsibilities. They have generally given much more attention to their role as Service advocates. Kester notes the problem of overemphasis of the advocacy role:
As these three offices are used now, they are misconceived. The service secretaries are not needed in order to bolster the services. The service staffs are too strong already. What the service secretaries ought to be doing is not acting as uncritical service advocates, but rather riding herd on the service staffs