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Finally, we should build on the accomplishments that have been made to date. These accomplishments have been substantial and have gone a long way toward improving past deficiencies in DOD operations. They should not be discarded, nor disregarded, but used as a foundation upon which to build further and more lasting improvements.
In the final analysis, it is essential that the Congress preserve, not just for this Secretary, but for all future Secretaries of Defense, an organizational structure which allows for diversity, and a balanced input from cognizant civilian and military officials, and the flexibility to adapt specific defense organization and management arrangements to meet the demands of ongoing national security requirements. We are confident that this can be accomplished through the joint efforts of the executive branch and the Congress.
Let me close, Mr. Chairman, by again complimenting you for the work that your committee has done over the years, and also for calling these hearings. I am the first of a number of witnesses, I know, many of whom will be from the Department, and we want you to know that all of our witnesses are available to you, any that you desire, to discuss these matters, and we want to help you understand our perspective, and work with you as you develop your own.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be glad to take any questions you or the members of the committee may have.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF WILLIAM H. TAFT IV Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
It is a pleasure to appear before you and the members of the subcommittee today to discuss the organization of the Department of Defense. In this statement I will focus on those elements of the defense structure outlined in your invitation to Secretary Weinberger announcing this series of hearings. However, before proceeding, I want to recognize the leadership exercised by this committee in the development of H.R. 3622, relating to the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Although there are still a few aspects of H.R. 3622 with which we disagree, the bill does provide a basic framework which we support and about which a constructive consensus is developing
As noted in my testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in December, defense organization is a matter which we take very seriously in the Department. This administration's commitment to seeking improvements in the Nation's military capabilities and its willingness to undertake management changes in pursuit of this goal have been clearly established over the past five years.
Although we have made a number of organizational changes, where required, during this period, we have primarily concentrated on improving management systems and processes. Generally, such changes accomplish substantive management improvements more quickly than organizational changes and achieve their objectives without the turbulence, disruption, and uncertainty which normally accompany a major organizational shake-up. We have demonstrated that we are in favor of change when it will provide a net benefit. By the same token, however, any proposed reorganization of significant scope should be subjected to a rigorous needs test and the implications of its implementation should be carefully considered. Furthermore, we favor an evolutionary approach to organizational change, which preserves that which is functioning effectively and modifies only that which needs fixing. My impression is that this committee also has favored this approach.
Let me now turn to the subjects in which you have expressed special interest for these hearings.
THE UNIFIED AND SPECIFIED COMMANDS We share your concern for improving the manner in which the combatant commanders prepare for performing their warfighting mission. The matters addressed in this area by your letter deserve genuine consideration, the issues are complex and change must be carefully fashioned to avoid reducing the current effectiveness of our capabilities. As you know, the JCS have initiated a review of JCS pub. 2, "unified action armed forces” which the Secretary directed to be completed by June 30 of this year. In our view, changes to the current combatant command structure should reflect the results of that study. The Secretary and I are committed to give genuine, aggressive consideration to these issues and to work closely with you and your colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee in examining them.
The thrust of the Senate staff proposals in this area was generally to enhance the authority of the CINC's over the components of their command at the expense of the military services. The Secretary and I have consistently supported expanding CINC opportunities for involvement in resource allocation matters and other significant decisions of the Department. We have tried to do this, however, in an absolute sense without reducing existing opportunities of the service Secretaries and service Chiefs to advise us. This is a delicate task. As a rule, any adjustments can be accommodated within existing statutory authority, and there are significant advantages in avoiding more specific statutory prescriptions as long as the congressional intent is reflected in current practice.
JOINT MILITARY PERSONNEL SYSTEM We have shared the committee's concern with the personnel impacts surrounding joint duty for our military officers. It was in response to your direction that the secretary forwarded on May 16, 1985, a report on our study to improve the capabilities of officers in joint activities. He promised “meaningful and substantial progress” at that time, which has been reflected in the actions already completed or underway. Among these are: (1) the Secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have instructed the service Secretaries and service Chiefs to recognize the value of joint duty and its critical importance to national defense, (2) increased emphasis has been placed on nominating highly qualified officers for joint duty, (3) we have increased the utilization on joint duty assignments of graduates of the three joint schools comprising the National Defense University, and (4) a second course in joint activities is being added for newly promoted flag and general officers. The question of a joint specialty was carefully considered in our report and we believe a special experience identifier in officers' records is the best avenue to enhance the level of experience in joint activities. However, in response to your direction in this year's authorization act, an independent research organization is being employed to conduct a study on the establishment of a joint duty career specialty and related issues. We will carefully examine the results of that study and implement policy or procedural changes as appropriate.
CONSOLIDATING THE MILITARY STAFFS AND SECRETARIATS While some consolidation has already been achieved and further consolidation may be appropriate on a limited and selected basis, the Department does not believe that the staffs of the service secretariats and the service staffs should be consolidated in a wholesale fashion.
The service secretariats participate in the formulation and implementation of policy within the executive branch; they respond to congressional requirements and supervise compliance with legislation involving the Armed Forces; and they are the Secretary's line managers of their respective services with respect to administration, training and support functions. In order to perform these roles, each service Secre tary must have a separate staff to provide independent analytic support and executive assistance. I believe this is an important aspect of assuring civilian control of the military departments.
It is important to note that the service secretariats are relatively small in size and that the Department has made a concerted effort in recent years to keep their size to a minimum, consistent with mission and management requirements. In fact, there has been a total net reduction in size of service secretariat staffs of 25 percent since 1978. It is highly doubtful that operational efficiencies would result from further integration/consolidation of secretariat and service headquarters staffs. The relatively minor personnel savings would, by no means, justify the corresponding loss of effective civilian executive influence in the administration of the military departments.
DEFENSE AGENCIES The Reorganization Act of 1958 authorized the Secretary of Defense to provide for common support and service activities by agencies or other organizational entities, such as single managers, where it is advantageous in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and economy.
Over the years, under this authority, successive Secretaries of Defense have consolidated activities, which involved more than one military department, under a single functional manager, leaving unique service functions in the military departments. In most instances, these consolidations have resulted in increased efficiency, reduced duplication of effort, and improved resource utilization. There is, of course, still room for improvement in resource management and operating relationship between the military departments and the defense agencies in specific functional areas. On balance, however, the defense agency concept provides the most effective, efficient, and economic approach to the management of service and support functions that cross-cut the military departments.
There has been considerable effort addressed to the Department's organization in recent years. There have been many studies by outside groups. We have reviewed these issues within the Department and made some changes. There has been legislation. More recently, there have been hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committe, and many distinguished witnesses have appeared before your during the deliberations leading to H.R. 3622. The Packard Commission will release its report in a few weeks. Even though differences remain, it appears that, as a result of all this activity, a consensus is evolving, both within and outside of the Department, regarding a number of principles that should guide our determination of the method of implementing whatever changes we may settle on as desirable:
First, the Secretary's flexibility to manage the Department in a rapidly changing, complex, and dangerous world should be preserved. Neither the administration nor the Congress can foresee all the circumstances that future contingencies may arise.
Second, we should assure continued and effective civilian control of the military. This is a fundamental constitutional principle which must not be abridged.
Third, we should not only avoid, but actively discourage, micro-managementwhether by the Congress or top-level DOD staffs.
Fourth, we should maintain the Department's philosophy of centralized policy. making and decentralized operations. This is a fundamental management principle of this administration and one which has proven its value over the past five years.
And finally, we should build on the accomplishments that have been made to date. These accomplishments have been substantial and have gone a long way toward improving past deficiencies in DOD operations. They should be neither discarded nor disregarded, but used as a foundation upon which to build further and more lasting improvements.
In the final analysis, it is essential that the Congress preserve, not just for this Secretary, but for all future Secretaries of Defense, an organizational structure that allows for diversity and a balanced input from cognizant civilian and military officials, and the flexibility to adapt specific defense organization and management arrangements to meet the demands of ongoing national security requirements. We are confident that this can be accomplished through the joint efforts of the executive branch and the Congress. I am prepared to answer your questions. Mr. NICHOLS. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
First let me thank you for your compliments on the JCS bill that we passed last year, which is presently being considered by the Senate.
I notice you say in your closing statement here on page 10 we should avoid and actively discourage micromanagement by the Congress and top-level staffs. Let me say to you-you can take this back to the Pentagon with you—that it's not the intent of this congress or this committee, to micromanage the Department of Defense. But let me point out to you that the last substantial change in Defense management occurred back in 1958, some 30 years ago, and that doesn't necessarily mean that changes must be made simply because 30 years have passed. I'm not for making changes unless they can be justified. But I would just remind you that over the last three Congresses, this subcommittee has heard from between 50 and 60 witnesses, prestigious people, people who have been there, Secretaries of Defense, Chairmen, Joint Chiefs, Secretaries, and the great majority of those people who come before this committee have recommended changes.
So I think I can say to you in all candor that there's going to be a bill this year. The Senate is marking up today. We have instructions from our chairman to be prepared to bring a bill to the full committee by the time we markup in full committee the authorization bill. So I feel like we're going to have a bill, Mr. Secretary, and we do appreciate your cooperation, your working with us.
Mr. TAFT. Mr. Chairman, I would say that I agree with you, and we are prepared to work with you to be sure that the bill that you develop is the most effective and best bill that we can pass.
Mr. NICHOLS. Before we get into phase 2 of what we are about to do here in the weeks ahead, could you tell us what objections you find to the bill that was passed last year by the House. We don't know what the Senate is going to incorporate, but we've been given the understanding that perhaps a good bit of that legislation might be incorporated in the Senate bill.
What are your objections to it, Mr. Secretary?
Mr. Taft. Well, let me focus just on one aspect of it which I think does cause us concern, and that we would like to have changed. In responding to your question, which does ask me what our objections to the bill are, I don't want to suggest that we have an overall negative attitude toward it. There are things in the bill that we accept. Let me focus on one objection to it that I think is the most important one that we have. It goes to the question of the role of the JCS in the formulating of, and providing of advice, to the President and the Secretary of Defense, basically the National Command Authorities, and the role of the Chairman.
As it exists today, the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body, have the function of being the principal military advisers to the National Command Authorities. As I understand your bill, it would give that function to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
as an individual, and the corporately developed views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would not be the principal source of advice to the President.
Our feeling is that-as is present practice—any individual views of a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including those of the Chairman, should, of course, be presented to the President, and the National Command Authorities, wherever they vary from the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a group. However, we do think the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an entity is a strong means of developing sound advice, and that an effort should be made to have them, as a group, present corporate advice to the National Command Authorities, as under present practice.
Mr. KASICH. Will the chairman yield?
Mr. Taft. That is a change that you would be making in the present practice that we do not support in H.R. 3622.
Mr. NICHOLS. Yes, I yield, Mr. Kasich. Mr. KASICH. I just wondered, Mr. Chairman-thank you for yielding-whether Mr. Taft is aware of the Bennett amendment that occurred in the House that provides that for any particular decision where there is disagreement on the part of the individual service chiefs that that is provided for in the bill and that they would then submit their differing opinion directly to the Secretary of Defense. That was the Bennett amendment accepted on the House floor, substantively different than the bill as it went to the floor in that regard.
Mr. TAFT. Yes, and we think that that amendment certainly improved the bill, but it still-I guess I would say it still leaves you with a set of individual views. Maybe three or four individual views, or five individual views; it does not achieve what we have today, which is the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff trying to reach an agreement.
Mr. SKELTON. Will the chairman yield, Mr. Chairman? Would the chairman yield?
Mr. Nichols. Yes, briefly, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. That's the point of it. That's the purpose of the bill that we put in to do away with the log rolling, the watered down pablum advice that we've been getting. What we want is to have one person in charge, and this person should be a strong Chairman. An adequate dissent provision has been provided very adequately, not one, but two places, where the other members of the JCS shali make recommendations differing from the Chairman. But that's the purpose of our bill, our thrust. Although you give a nice pat on the back to the bill, the main problem is that you don't like the thrust of our bill.
Mr. Taft. Let me say I was not suggesting that this was not something that you intended to do in the bill.
Mr. SKELTON. We did. You bet we did.
Mr. Tart. I understand that, and I have not obscured that, and I have pointed out our reservation about that, as the chairman requested. I don't think we have any difference as to the intent of the bill. I just wanted to make clear our reservation about it, which the chairman-
Mr. NICHOLS. Let me reclaim my time, if I might, Mr. Secretary, and let me assure you that it would not be the intent of this chairman, nor the intent of this subcommittee, to in any way stifle, suppress, the voices of any of the members that sit on the JCS. I strongiy feel that their voices ought to be heard. We have attempted to strengthen the Chairman.
Now, let me read you into the record about some
Mr. Taft. We support those provisions, strengthening the Chairman by voice.
Mr. NICHOLS. Let me just read into the record what we did last year, that I think we thought cleared the air on that.
On page 25 of the report, Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body, shall provide advice to the President, and the Secretary of Defense on matters with respect to which such advice is requested. At the bottom of that page, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other than the Chairman, may submit to the Secretary of Defense any opinion in disagreement with military advice of the Chairman, or of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After first informing the Secretary of Defense, such a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may submit to the President any opinion in disagreement with the military advice of the Chairman, or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Finally, in addition to his other duties, as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chairman shall, subject to the authority and direction of the Secretary of Defense, inform the Secretary of Defense, and, when the Secretary of Defense considers it appropriate,