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"we deployed with virtually nothing except what was in our rucksacks". The 82nd deployed with no vehicles. There was no room on any of the aircraft for the 150 transporters a battalion would normally take on a mission. Without its trucks, the 82nd has no long range communications gear. “No vehicles meant no radios" said Nightingale's executive officer. The 82nd arrived without any heavy anti-armor weapons. TOW missiles did not arrive until D+3. The 82nd did not have the ability to communicate sophisticated intelligence data because its radio teletype were “delayed because they earned a low ranking on the aircraft priority list.” (“Grenada: Rampant Confusion,” page 26). As a result, the Rangers and the 82nd had to commandeer local trucks and gasoline.
Once the Port Salines airstrip had been secured, a substantial airlift began but backups occurred almost at once. One principle reason was that the runway would only permit aircraft to land, unload, and take off one at a time. But there were other, more organic problems. Duffy writes:
Many units deployed from U.S. bases to Grenada actually spent more time circling the Point Salines airfield than in transit. Some aircraft had to return to Puerto Rico and other locations to refuel. “Aircraft were stacked up to the ionosphere,” says one commander, who added that lift operations might have been aborted had the enemy had longer range antiaircraft capability.
The airlift back-up was complicated by a number of factors. All requests for supplies and access to the island were channeled through the Military Airlift Command's liaison working with the task force commander. But many units, both in renada and in the United States, tried to obtain direct flights to the island regardless of the pecking order. The conflicting systems kept a lot of people in the air and probably delayed the arrival of needed equipment. ("Grenada: Rampant Confusion,'
pages 26-27) In addition there were a number of other problems. Native food had to be bought in great quantities because much of the rations shipped to the island for U.S. soldiers had to be diverted to feed the more than 800 prisoners of war. The Army also had to create a unique supply system because its existing supply channels proved to be too cumbersome. According to reports, the 82nd Airborne Division resorted to using messengers who would return to Ft. Bragg and order supplies directly from various Army depots. The supplies would then be sent by Express Mail to Ft. Bragg where they were loaded on aircraft bound for Grenada. Even with this expedited process, the first delivery took eight days.
URGENT FURY revealed many shortcomings in the logistical support for the rapid deployment of joint forces. Vice Admiral William Cowhill, the Director of Logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the operation, has observed:
You've got to get the logistics in early. You get different forces from different services and it causes overlaps and shortages. Unless you get the staffs together early, you can't do the proper coordinating. (“Grenada: Rampant Confusion,
page 22) As in the other areas examined in this analysis, it seems reasonable to conclude that better organization would have avoided many of these problems. 6. Conclusions
The operation in Grenada was a success, and organizational shortcomings should not detract from that success or from the bravery and ingenuity displayed by American servicemen.
However, serious problems resulted from organizational shortfalls which should be corrected. URGENT FURY demonstrated that there are major deficiencies in the ability of the Services to work jointly when deployed rapidly. The poor communications be tween the Army and the Navy are unacceptable. The Services are aware of some of these problems and ave created a number of units and procedures to coordinate communications, such as the Joint Communications Support Element and the Joint Deployment Agency. However, in Grenada, they either were not used or did not work. More fundamentally, one must ask why such coordinating mechanisms are necessary. Is it not possible to buy equipment that is compatible rather than having to improvise and concoct cumbersome bureaucracies so that the Services can talk to one another? Are the unified commands so lacking in unity that they cannot mount joint operations without elaborate coordinating mechanisms? In a war, these mechanisms would probably be discarded in favor of a much more direct procedure, as happened in several instances in Grenada.
Similar problems arose because of differences in doctrine and training. The lack of understanding on the part of very senior commanders in all Services about the capabilities, assets and tactics of the other Services resulted in serious shortcomings. Far more attention must be paid to joint operations because employment of force by the United States in all but the most unusual circumstances will be joint.
The JCS is not unaware of this problem. In its report of April 1982, the Chairman's Special Study Group on the Organization and Functions of the JCS concluded:
The military organizations given the responsibility for the planning and execution of Joint activities-notably the JCS, the Joint Staff and its subordinate agencies such as the Joint Deployment Agency, and the various Unified Command headquarters-simply do not have the authority, stature, trained personnel, or support needed to carry out their jobs effectively.
This inability to work together has its roots in organizational shortcomings. The Services continue to operate as largely independent agencies, even at the level of the unified commands. The failure of the Joint Task Force Commander in Grenada to be familiar with Army and Air Force tactics and assets, and the failure of the senior Army commanders to be aware of the problems of working with the Navy, clearly demonstrate this problem.
In future conflicts, we may not be so successful.
THE MILITARY CHAIN OF COMMAND
PREPARED BY RAYMOND J. CELADA, SENIOR SPECIALIST IN AMERICAN
PUBLIC LAW, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, MAY 17, 1985
THE MILITARY CHAIN OF COMMAND 1 The framework of the defense establishment is authorized in a handful of basic statutory authorities and several major reorganizations. Of course, at the top of the pyramid stands the President who, as Commander in Chief, Art. II, § 2, cl. 1, has "the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and Admiral of the Confederacy
." 3 "His [the President's] duty and his power are purely military. As commander-inchief, he is authorized to direct the movements of the naval and military forces placed by law at his command, and to employ them in the manner he may deem most effectual to harass and conquer and subdue the enemy."
The Department of Defense, the successor agency to the National Military Establishment authorized by section 201 of the National Security Act of 1947, was made an executive department of the United States by section 4 of the National Security Act Amendments of 1949.5
Headed by the Secretary of Defense who “is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense," DOD includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Armed Forces Policy Council, the military departments and the military services within those departments, the unified and specified commands, and
1 The phrase "chain of command” as best we can determine, does not appear in the United States Code. Its appearance in decisional authorities is almost as rare. One exception is Gregory v. Laird, 326 F. Supp. 704, 708 (S.D. Cal. 1971), where it was noted that in the military establishment the phrase is used to describe a “hierarchy of responsible parties." At the same time, the court stated that “there are numerous chains of command organized to serve different functions, and that certain individuals fit into more than one such chain.” For present purposes, the phrase is intended to suggest the hierarchy of responsible parties through which orders run for carrying out military missions.
2 These authorities, as implemented by regulations, see, generally, 32 CFR Chap. 1, parts 40379, include the National Security Act of 1947, 61 Stat. 495, the National Security Act Amendments of 1949, 63 Stat. 578, the Act of October 21, 1977, 91 Stat. 1172, the Inspector General Act of 1978, 92 Stat. 1101, the Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1984, 97 Stat. 614, and Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1953, effective June 30, 1953, 67 Stat. 638 and Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, 72 Stat. 514.
3 The Federalist Papers, No. 69 (Hamilton).
such other agencies as the Secretary of Defense establishes to meet specific requirements. 6
Although both provide staff assistance and advice to the Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are separately identified and organized.?
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are the principal military advisers to the President, the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense. The individual service chief is the senior military officer of his service and is responsible for keeping the Secretary or civilian superior of his military department informed of matters considered by the Joint Chief of Staff. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the ranking military officer, he may not exercise military command over the Joint Chiefs of Staff or any of the armed forces. 8
The military departments are separately organized under their respective Secretaries and function under the direction, authority and control of the Secretary of Defense. Each Secretary is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for the operation of his department. Orders to the military departments are issued through the Secretaries of these departments, or their designees, by the Secretary of Defense or under authority delegated by the Secretary or provided by law.
Military missions are performed by unified combatant commands or specified combatant commands which are established by the President, through the Secretary of Defense, with the advice and assistance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Combatant commands, which consist of forces assigned to them by the military departments are "under the full operational command” of the commander of the command to which they are assigned. Combatant commanders are responsible to the President and the Secretary of Defense for the accomplishment of the military missions assigned to them. 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. Orders to combatant commanders are issued by the President or by the Secretary of Defense, or by the Joint Chiefs of Staff by authority and direction of the Secretary of Defense.9
The prerogatives of the President as Commander in Chief to specify the chain of command involves the creation of offices and the filling of offices, two separate and distinct powers. The Constitution by the Necessary and Proper Clause assigns the former to Congress, 10 while it deals with the appointing power in Art. II § 2, cl. 2 which provides as follows:
And he (the President) shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States,
6 10 U.S.C. 88 124, 133, 141, 171, 3010, 5011, 8010. 7 See 10 U.S.C. 88 133 et seq., 141 et seq. 8 10 U.S.C. § 142. 9 10 U.S.C. & 124. 10 Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 138 (1978).
whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for
of law, or in the heads of departments. As Commander in Chief, the President sits on a tremendous source of potential power. However, as in most other things affecting the President (except the powers to pardon, to receive ambassadors and to negotiate with foreign nations), he is dependent upon Congress for authority or money, or both, to convert a potential power into an actual one. So much was clearly stated by Justice Jackson, who concurring in the Steel Seizure Case, 11 observed that "[w]hile Congress cannot deprive the President of the command of the army and navy, only Congress can provide him an army or navy to command.” (Emphasis added.)
Professor Edward S. Corwin, a noted constitutional scholar of the recent past and hardly a grudging or reluctant advocate of a strong Chief Executive, noted that insofar as selecting military subordinates is concerned, Congress had kept that power to itself.
One power of supreme military command the President curiously lacks: that of choosing his subordinates. Not only does Congress determine the grades to which appointments may be made and lay down the qualifications of appointees, but it has always been assumed that the Senate shares the appointing power for military as well as civil officers. Without doubt Congress could transfer the power to “the President alone,” but has never done so. Indeed, it has at times attempted to usurp the appointing power
itself.12 So long as the distinction is maintained between the creation of positions and the fixing of appropriate grades with respect to such positions on the one hand and who the President actually consults in formulating and executing military policy on the other, congressional authority to fix the chain of command is significant. In the exercise of its necessary and proper power Congress both directly and indirectly through the determination of grades and laying down qualifications of appointees effectively establishes the chain
11 Youngstown Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 644 (1952). 12 Edward S. Corwin, The President: Office and Powers 1787-1957 (New York, 1957), p. 261.
In one of two footnotes to this paragraph, Corwin observes: “Polk was bitter because Congress would not create during the Mexican War the grade of Lieutenant General in order that he might appoint somebody over the heads of Scott and Taylor. 'My situation', he lamented, 'is most embarassing. I am held responsible for the War, and I am required to entrust the chief command of the army to a general in whom I have no confidence.'” Id. 465, note 102.
In another of Corwin's well-regarded works, The Constitution And What It Means Today 125126 (1973 rev. ed.), the author describes limits placed on presidential choices by congressional authorization of positions and grades as follows:
Legally, the President is limited in choosing his principal military subordinates, whose grades and qualifications are determined by Congress and whose appointment is ordinarily made by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, though undoubtedly Congress could if it wished vest their appointment in “the President alone.” Also, the President's power to dismiss an officer from the service, once unlimited, is today confined by statute to require a trial by court-martial if the officer contends that he “has been wrongfully dismissed" and requests one in writing. But the provision is not regarded by the Court as preventing the President from displacing an officer of the Army or Navy by appointing with the advice and consent of the Senate another person in his place. The President's power of dismissal in time of war Congress has never attempted to limit.