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This study, as its title - Defense Organization: The Need for change-indicates, is critical of the current organization and decisioninaking procedures of the Department of Defense (DoD) and of the Congress. The underlying problems within DoD have been evident for much of this Century. The inability to solve these problems is not due to a lack of attention or a failure to have the issues examined by the most experienced and learned experts. At regular intervals during the last 85 years, these issues have been vigorously addressed by highly capable and well-intentioned individuals, both from the public and private sectors as well as from civilian and military life. It is the complexity of the Department of Defense the largest organization in the Free World —that has served to frustrate previous efforts. Adding to the difficulty of these issues are the quickening pace of the technological revolution, the increasing and changing demands of protecting U.S. security interests in a dynamic international environment, and the resistance to needed changes by a substantial portion of the defense bureaucracy. While the problems in congressional review and oversight of the defense program have emerged more recently, their resolution has not been possible despite serious study and concern by Members of Congress.
Twenty-seven years have passed since major statutory changes were last made in DoD organizational arrangements. During that period, substantial experience has been gained with the basic structure provided by the National Security Act of 1947. There is a record —which is not always clear - of what has worked and what has failed. George Washington's statement at the time of the creation of the War Office in 1776 would be equally appropriate to the Department of Defense when it was created in 1949:
The Benefits derived from it (the War Office), I flatter myself will be considerable tho' the plan upon which it is first formed may not be perfect. This like other great works in its first Edition, may not be entirely free from Error. Time will discover its Defects and experience suggest the Remedy, and such further Improvements as may be necessary; but it was right to
give it a Beginning. Moreover, the passage of time may permit more objective consideration of issues that flared into emotional controversies during the unification debates of the immediate post-World War II period. These two factors -actual organizational experience and a measured detachment from previous controversies -enhance prospects for the emergence of a consensus on solutions to the long-standing problems of the U.S. military establishment.
The staff study concurs with Secretary Schlesinger's statement. The performance of the Department of Defense has been seriously hampered by major structural deficiencies.
While the staff study is critical of the current organization and decision-making procedures of the Department of Defense (and of the Congress), it would be incorrect and unfair to place responsibility for these problems on present or past Administrations or on current or former civilian or military officials of the Department of Defense. Most of the deficiencies identified in this study have been evident for much of this Century. Moreover, these longterm problems have confounded some of the most thoughtful, decisive, and experienced officials who have sought to solve them during the last 85 years. As the Department of Defense is the largest and most complex organization in the Free World, it is understandable that effective solutions have been difficult to develop and implement. However, the greater demands on the Department of Defense that have evolved over the last 30 years have increased the seriousness of structural deficiencies.
As is the nature of organizational studies, the focus of this study is on deficiencies in the performance of the Department of Defense and the Congress. Obviously, these two organizations perform many tasks well. The absence of discussion of these areas does not mean that they have gone unnoticed. In some activities, the Department of Defense has achieved a level of efficiency unmatched elsewhere in the Federal Government. Moreover, the trends in the organization and procedures of the Department of Defense are moving in the right direction. Numerous improvements have been implemented, particularly in the last two years. However, much remains to be done, especially in light of the more severe fiscal constraints currently anticipated for the immediate future.
The purpose of this study is to strengthen the Department of Defense. The capabilities of U.S. military forces have been improved over the last five years. In many respects, American forces are better manned, equipped, and led than has been the case for a long time. The full potential of this revitalization cannot, however, be realized under current structural deficiencies. The study does not suggest that this revitalization of American military capabilities should be slowed or that defense spending reductions should be made. On the contrary, substantial force improvements will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future. The study does, however, see the need for a parallel revitalization of antiquated organizational arrangements.
While the staff study contains 91 specific recommendations, it is likely that only a small portion of these recommendations would be appropriately implemented through legislation. The vast majority of the proposed changes can and should be made under the existing authorities of the President and Secretary of Defense. The staff study examined a broad range of problems—including many for which legislative remedies are not feasible or appropriate—so that the Committee might have a comprehensive context in which to formulate legislation.
The conclusions and recommendations of this study represent a consensus of the participating Committee staff members. Not all staff members agree, however, with each conclusion and recommendation. In this regard, the study was the result of an extraordinary effort by a small group of Committee staff members, most of whom were concurrently responsible for their normal staff assignments. In fact, the study would not have been possible without the enormous contributions of two individuals: Rick Finn and Barbara Brown. The quality of this study is due, in large part, to Rick's thorough research and analysis and writing skills. Beyond his substantive contributions, Rick edited the entire study. Barbara typed nearly the entire manuscript through its many drafts-an enormous undertaking. Moreover, she handled much of the administration of this massive effort. Barbara simultaneously performed these two demanding tasks with great skill, patience, and dedication. The important contributions of Jeff Smith, Alan Yuspeh, Pat Tucker, John Hamre, and Colleen Getz also need to be recognized. Each of these individuals played a key part in preparing the study. Finally, another staff member—Carl Smith-and two former staff members-Bruce Porter and Jim Smith-also deserve recognition. While they were not involved in the final stages of the study, their early contributions were significant.
This staff study represents only a starting point for inquiry by
JAMES R. LOCHER III,
and Study Director.
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