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In discussing formal JCS advice, the Steadman Report also noted:

In formal papers argumentation and recommendations usually have had such extensive negotiation that they have been

reduced to the lowest common level of assent. (page 52) The desire for unanimity not only forces JCS advice to the lowest common denominator, but also greatly limits the range of alternatives that a Secretary of Defense can consider. As General Bruce Palmer, Jr., USA (Retired) has written:

It is dangerous to submerge divergent views on important issues, and a disservice to civilian authority to infer JCS agree ment when, in fact, the chiefs disagree. (The 25-Year War, pages

198-199) Much has been written about the problems of inter-Service rivalry. Within the JCS system, however, the opposite appears to be the dominant case. There is limited competitive and objective examination of issues, but rather a search for compromises, often useless or ineffective, to which all Services can agree. In the work of the JCS, collusion and collegiality are the dominant features. General Jones has commented on the imbalance of Service and joint interests and the desire for unanimity:

It is commonly accepted that one result of this imbalance is a constant bickering among the services. This is not the case. On the contrary, interactions among the services usually result in “negotiated treaties” which minimize controversy by avoiding challenges to service interests. Such a "truce" has its good points, for it is counterproductive for the services to attack each other. But the lack of adequate questioning by military professionals results in gaps and unwarranted duplications in our defense capabilities. What is lacking is a counterbalancing system, involving officers not so beholden to their services, who can objectively examine strategy, roles, missions, weapons systems, war planning and other contentious issues to offset the influence of the individual services. (SASC Hearing, December

16, 1982, page 22) (4) closed staff character of JCS system

Despite its critical position in DoD as the source of unified military advice, the JCS has placed strict limits on its interactions with others. This has been termed a “closed staff.Paul Hammond addresses the closed staff character of the JCS in his book, Organizing for Defense:

...By closed we mean that the JCS as a corporate body, as distinct from its individual members carrying out their responsibilities as military Chiefs in their respective services, kept the deliberations by which it finally reached its corporate will

relatively unfettered and unobserved. (page 171) Hammond discusses the closed staff character of the JCS during World War II and indicates that its procedures "suggest an analogy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the U.S. Supreme Court." (page 173) Hammond notes the problems that this caused because military and judicial councils are so different.

Hammond discusses the reasons for the closed staff character of the JCS as follows:

This insuperability of service interests in the JCS is probably the major explanation for the closed military staff characteristics of the JCS: the refusal to delegate authority (to let, that is to say, anyone representing the JCS commit it in any way), the insistence upon taking exclusive jurisdiction over questions, the requirement (less successfully enforced) that agency viewpoints, even those of the State Department, be final before the JCS will review them, the refusal of the JCS to alter its military character by including nonmilitary experts in the Joint Staff or as advisors to the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, the difficulties in communication between the JCS and the Assistant Secretaries of Defense, or with anyone else as a matter of regular procedure, the slowness of JCS action on many important matters, and the inadequacy of their action, as viewed from the requirements of responsible administrators. Since its establishment the JCS has maintained a barrier against anyone and everyone, including the service Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, and all the defense reorganization studies. Its tactics have undoubtedly been successful. It has not had to "negotiate" in the open, where inter-service conflicts could be exacerbated (although on occasion inter-service disputes have brought its deliberations into the open)....

Without the tactics of closed diplomacy it is doubtful that the JCS could have survived World War II as a viable agency, for what held it together was not its own cohesion, but its shield against division....Even though most of the evidence presented above on the operation of the JCS was drawn from its early postwar history, the continuity in its external facade, supplemented by the data which is available concerning its behavior in the last year of the Eisenhower Administration, make it fairly evident that these characteristics have not

changed. (pages 349–351) Since these words were written by Paul Hammond in 1961, the JCS system has become somewhat more open. The Report of the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel in 1970 noted this trend:

There is an increasing “openness” to the JCS, quite in contrast to the closed nature of the organization in the past. The Joint Staff has become considerably more open to informal channels and something like a normal relationship has grown under which discussions can take place prior to rather than after JCS positions are officially and formally reached. It is generally felt that considerable progress has been made in coordinative activity and flow of information and opinion among the Joint Staff, OSD, and the State Department. This cooperative atmosphere should allow the Secretary of Defense to provide more useable policy guidance to the JCS and, in return, enable them to provide him increasingly with more useful broad gauged military advice. This movement toward flexibility and openness, it should be added, is generally approved by the military. (Appendix N, page 9)

There are logical reasons, given its current composition, for the JCS to retain a closed staff. Yet, this approach does limit the quality and timeliness of JCS advice and inhibit the important interactions between the Joint Staff and OSD.

Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., USN (Retired), a former Chief of Naval Operations, noted in his book, On Watch, a negative impact of the JCS closed staff on its own work:

...the Joint Staff was almost totally useless as an instrument to monitor what other parts of the government were doing or thinking. Working, as it had to, strictly through the prescribed channels of communication and command, it was generally the last to know what was happening in Washington's bureaucratic labyrinth. (page 285)

(5) limited joint experience of JCS members

In his book, U.S. Defense Planning, A Critique, John M. Collins evaluates the credentials of the 48 military officers who have served as JCS Chairmen or Service Chiefs between World War II and 1982. He concludes:

Neither education nor experience equipped a majority of the Joint Chiefs to perform well in the joint arena...A lifetime of uniservice employment suited them perfectly to deal with Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps matters, but not in combination....Nearly a third lacked any kind of joint assign

ment in their entire careers. (pages 49-50) Collins explains the absence of joint experience as follows:

A practical reason perpetuates that pattern. Joint assignments have not been, and are not now, considered stepping stones to success. They divert officers from the main stream of their respective Military Services into channels where duties

may even conflict with narrow Service interests. (page 50) General Jones has also noted this deficiency:

... The services control most of the money and the personnel assignments and promotions of their people wherever assigned, including in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and the Unified Command Staffs. Officers who perform duty outside their own services generally do less well than those assigned to duty in their service, especially when it comes to promotion to general or admiral. The Chiefs of Staff of the services almost always have had duty on service staffs in Washington but almost never on the Joint Staff. Few incentives exist for an officer assigned to joint duty to do more than punch his or her ticket, and then get back into a service assignment. I cannot stress this point too strongly: He who controls dollars, promotions and assignments controls the organization -and the services so control, especially with regard to

personnel actions. (SASC Hearing, December 16, 1982, page 22) Whatever the reason, JCS members have traditionally not had a strong background of joint service. This situation has contributed to the inability of the JCS to provide useful and timely unified advice. (6) cumbersome staffing procedures

The OJCS staffing procedures are described in detail in Section C of this chapter. The Blue Ribbon Defense Panel characterized this staffing system as follows:

The system used to process JCS actions and decisions reflects the nature and intent of the JCS structure. It is a system which is based not only on coordination with the Services but on their concurrence. It is a mechanism which maximizes the opportunities for compromise and resolution of disagreement at every step from the inception of the paper to consideration by the Joint Chiefs. It is a process of negotiation and unabashedly

so. (Appendix N, page 14) The extensive negotiation that results from OJCS staffing procedures and the Service veto at each step of the process produces staff recommendations that have been "watered down" to the lowest common level of assent. The negative impact of OJCS staffing procedures on the quality of unified military advice has long been identified. For example, the 1960 Symington Report found:

...Nor can the Joint Staff become fully effective in developing the basis for clear military judgments unless the present degree of influence exercised by separate Service thinking is

sharply reduced. (page 6) The 1978 Steadman Report concluded:

...the present system makes it difficult for the Joint Staff to produce persuasively argued joint papers which transcend Service positions and difficult for the JCS to arrive at joint decisions in many important areas. These limitations are related in part to JCS/Joint Staff procedures and style of presentation as well as to inherent tension between Service interests and a

joint perspective. (page 57) The Chairman's Special Study Group was highly critical of OJCS staffing procedures:

...Service staff executives actually have effective veto power on most Joint Staff actions....the JCS and the Joint Staff do not reach decisions by executive staff process; they seek unanimous consensus among the Services...(pages 8 and 9)..it is possible, and indeed likely, for a JCS paper to go through four levels of staffing, each with multiple iterations of drafting, commenting, and revising. This admittedly thorough but prolonged process of trying to reach some mutually satisfactory compromise among the Services tends not to sharpen and hone the issues, but rather to bury them. The more iterations this process involves, the longer the process takes, and the less substantive the paper becomes. The objective becomes one of

agreement, at the expense of content. (pages 47 and 48) And finally, in 1985, the CSIS report, Toward a More Effective Defense, found:

...the JCS have constructed an array of Joint Staff procedures for drafting and coordinating documents which ensure that all services pass on every item at several levels. In effect, each service has a veto over every joint recommendation, forc

ing joint advice toward the level of common assent. (page 12) Although the JCS have recently attempted to expedite their work by compressing the levels of staff review, the staffing procedures remain lengthy, cumbersome, and, most importantly, open to the Service veto at each step of the process. (7) unfavorable incentives for OJCS officers

Like the Service Chiefs, military officers who serve in OJCS have a conflict of interest. While they are suppose to provide a joint perspective on issues, there are tremendous incentives for them to pursue the point of view of their parent Services. The CSIS report, Toward a More Effective Defense, comments on this situation with respect to Joint Staff officers, but it applies to all military officers in OJCS:

...the officers who serve on the Joint Staff have strong incentives to protect the interests of their services in the joint arena. Joint Staff officers usually serve only a single tour there, and must look to their parent service for promotions and future assignments. Their performance is judged in large part by how effectively they have represented service interests.

(page 12) Given this situation, Service interests play the dominant role in OJCS staff work. Thus, even before the JCS focus on an issue, the joint perspective has been relegated to a secondary role. (8) absence of mission orientations

The Joint Staff is organized along the traditional military functional lines (personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, etcetera). Secretary Weinberger views this functional arrangement to be appropriate:

The Unified Commands, as the headquarters of our fighting forces in the field, are mission-oriented in purpose and outlook. These headquarters staffs, as well as the staffs of the Service Component Commands, are organized functionally in a manner which is designed to most effectively accomplish their assigned military missions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, which are responsible for providing strategic direction to the Unified and Specified Commands, and for serving as the military staff of the Secretary of Defense and the National Command Authorities, have organized the Joint Staff along parallel functional lines. Accordingly, organizational arrangements for command, control, and employment of U.S. military forces are compatible across all operating elements and activities. (Answers to Au

thorization Report Questions) Despite Secretary Weinberger's view, it does appear that the absence of a multi-functional, mission orientation in the Joint Staff inhibits the ability of the JCS to articulate mission requirements. In fact, given that the JCS system is expected to balance Service

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