McCain Launches Goldwater-Nichols Review; How Far Will He Go? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain plans a long-term review of the law underpinning the modern American military, the Goldwater-Nichols legislation that created the current chain of command from president to defense secretary to combatant commanders.

“The Committee will be conducting a preliminary examination of the structure, roles, and missions of civilian and military organizations within the (Defense) Department. That will set the stage for a broader review of these issues starting after this year’s NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and extending into next year, many of which are tied directly to Goldwater-Nichols Act,” a congressional staff member wrote in an email after McCain spoke this morning at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

via McCain Launches Goldwater-Nichols Review; How Far Will He Go? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary.

I think it is high time to review, and revise, Goldwater-Nichols. Let’s face it, GW was designed for the Cold War. Also, it has long been argued by many that GW and the DOPMA 1980 have contributed greatly to the bloat in higher headquarters.

Exactly how a reorganization should look is an interesting question, and one I haven’t answered in my own mind yet. But it is a question that should be asked. I’m not certain McCain is the right man for the job, but at least he’s got the ball rolling.

4 thoughts on “McCain Launches Goldwater-Nichols Review; How Far Will He Go? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary”

  1. DOD was bloating before GN, alas. It would appear GN didn’t help the situation either. Frankly I would be in favor of looking at the basic organization of the service during WW2 (a major effort if there ever was one) and returning to something similar. The biggest bloat is in the civilian workforce, which I think is a bad idea in a military organization. The entire force should be under military discipline, except for a very few exceptions.

    1. The WWII organization wasn’t all skittles and beer either. And while there is undoubtedly a lot of civilian bloat, there are some very good reasons for having civilians in quite a few places, not least among them the continuity of tribal knowledge in the more arcane areas. Having a civilian deputy to a military chief in the institutional side, when the chief and the rest of the officers rotate in and out every two years, means at least *someone* in the organization knows how to fill out the forms properly.

    2. Putting everyone in uniform would count against end strength. I think it be a tough sell to add thousands of military personnel and not increase actual combat strength. The discipline part wouldn’t change either, they’re would still be plenty of slackers hiding in obscure offices in and out of uniform.

      Plus having civilians around keeps the military from becoming even more isolated and distinct from the national population than it already is.

    3. The WW2 org was not all skittles and beer, and don’t claim any different. It’s a good starting point, however. The problem with having a civilian workforce, and there was some in 1972, is the problem of severe bloat that we have now. Yes putting them in uniform counts against end strength, but the civilian workforce is much of the reason for the bloat that took place during the cold war. There weer places I went around USAF, in 1970 mind you, where there was no one in uniform-it was entirely civilian. I saw the same thing around NORVA when I was on active duty.

      If a military organization has to keep civvies around to be sure the forms get filled out correctly, then the service is in deep trouble.

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