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tion and force structure, in the view of many analysts. Perhaps even more seriously, they have little influence over training and they do not have the ability to modify service doctrines to fit the unique requirements of their combatant commands.
Opponents of JCS reorganization, including Navy Secretary John Lehman, argue that the JCS must remain the principal military advisors to the President, the NSC and the Secretary of Defense, because of what they claim is the well-known principle that those who will be charged with carrying out a decision will provide the most responsible advice before the decision is made.
The people responsible for carrying out the most significant military decisions are the unified and specified commanders, the CINCs, who are responsible for employing U.S. forces. The CINCs command U.S. military forces and are responsible for fighting wars and responding to crises when the use of force is required. The service chiefs, by law, supervise, (vice command) their services.
General P.X. Kelley clarified the advice-responsibility linkage in 1983 in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee after the Beirut bombing. He correctly pointed out that as Marine Commandant he was not in the chain of command to Lebanon. Both the Long report and the House Armed Services Committee report on the Beirut tragedy confirmed General Kelley: They held the unified commander and his subordinates in the chain of command responsible—not the service chiefs or the JCS—for any oversights that contributed to the tragedy.
As the Congress comes to grips with Gramm-Rudman, it is important to consider its impact upon the CINCs. Press reports in September, 1985 indicated that the Pentagon, responding to congressional belt-tightening, was planning a $300 billion cutback in previously projected defense expenditures over the next five years. No major weapon system, beyond the politically doomed DIVAD, was to be cut, according to the articles. Ammunition and spare parts cutbacks that undermine readiness are the likely alternative.
The underlying reason for this distortion is that the interests of the combat commanders, who would be responsible for employing U.S. forces in a war or crisis and who, therefore, would live or die by the readiness of their forces, is not adequately reflected in a JCS dominated by four service chiefs whose top priorities have been de scribed by many as 600 ships, 40 wings and 18 divisions.
IMPROVING JOINT OFFICER CAPABILITIES Retired Air Force Lieutenant General John Pustay, formerly an assistant to the Chairman of the JCS, makes an interesting point in linking the organization of the JCS to our military performance.
We tend to press forces designed and trained for the most likely forms of conflict] into service in situations where they simply can't cope with the confronting lower-intensity, unorthodox threat.
It is fair to ask why is this so. It is clear to me that the answer lies in the lack of a joint perspective and the lack of a strong JCS system to make that perspective a reality permeating all the Services. Such a perspective can provide this nation with viable fighting forces tailored for all parts of the conflict
spectrum and all parts of the globe where our interests are threatened. This is the core answer to the problem reflected in our military failures of the past two decades. The inability to cope with such conflicts or threats is not only reflected in the human-truck bombing of the Marine enclave in Beirut, but also retrospectively in the inadequacies reflected in the way we handled our involvement in Vietnam, the Mayaguez episode, and the more recent aborted attempt to rescue the U.S. hos
tages in Iran. The “joint perspective” of which General Pustay speaks is something with which, as a past president of the National Defense University, he was intimately involved during his time on active duty. The NDU system is the cornerstone of our system of higher military education. It includes the Armed Forces Staff College, where our mid-career officers are trained for joint warfare, as well as the National War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces—the premier training grounds for our future generals and admirals. Yet these educational establishments, vital as they are in building the joint perspective so essential to modern warfare, can be no better than the organization they are designed to support.
Dr. Theodore J. Crackel, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, completed a “Defense Assessment Project” for the foundation in 1984 and came to these conclusions regarding the functioning of our officer corps in joint assignments:
The fact is, what we have is a defense structure that actually encourages the promotion of the interests of each individual service over the national interest. This system makes it difficult for joint staff officers to produce persuasively argued joint papers that transcend service positions. Officers serving on the joint staff have to look to their services for future promotion and assignments. They soon learned that their services view them as representatives of the service interests, and are made to feel—and occasionally see evidence-that repeated bucking of the system will have dire career consequences. The services dominate the joint staff-top and bottom.
The staff serves the (JCS.—and must satisfy each diverse interest represented. The evidence of this is found in the advice , the JCS provides on virtually any controversial issue-a lowest
common denominator solution, to which all the services can agree. On a substantive issue each of the four services' action officers might demand a 100 or more changes-often changes that conflict with those demanded by the other services. Joint staff officers quickly learn that the art of achieving compro
mise—and the art of writing proposals that will offend no one. It is important to remember that the Joint Staff of today, like the JCS system itself, is the product of a conscious political choice that we made in not installing a conventional military staff at the head of our services after World War II. There were undoubtedly good reasons for doing so at that time, but what does the record show since then? Is our Joint Staff living up to what it really should be: the pinnacle of our staff system, where excellence should be taken for granted?
When he was Chairman of the JCS, General Jones commissioned a study of the Joint Staff. It was conducted by William P. Brehm and a panel of retired senior officers from each of the four services. The findings read like a virtual indictment of the system:
1. Officer Preparation and Assignment. There are about 4,600 officer positions in U.S. Joint headquarters. While that is only three percent of all the officers in the four Services, it accounts for thirteen percent of the generals and admirals, six percent of the colonels and Navy captains, and six percent of the lieutenant colonels and commanders. The officers in these positions have major and complex responsibilities, frequently quite different from the tasks they have been trained for within their parent Services. Officers on the Joint Staff analyze major national issues such as arms limitation proposals, national security objectives, Joint military operation plans, and other topics that require a depth of knowledge of the several Services, of defense strategy, of the overall defense program, and of how business gets transacted in the Pentagon. They must de velop complex planning and information systems, such as those required to support the preparation and execution of complex military operation plans.
There is now no systematic, effective plan for assuring that officers assigned to Joint duty have the requisite staff experience, technical knowledge of Joint systems, practical knowledge of DoD staff activities, and sense of the imperatives of Joint military preparedness to deal effectively with their responsibilities. The Services would not think of manning a submarine or an aircraft or an infantry battalion the way they staff Joint headquarters. Here are some of the statistics. Of the officers serving in the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of our analysis:
a. Only two percent had previous Joint Staff experience. Only about one third even had prior Service staff experiencethat is, experience in the Washington arena. Most were assigned directly from the field without training.
b. Only thirteen percent had attended the five-month resident course at the Armed Forces Staff College specifically aimed at training young officers for Joint duty.
c. Although two-thirds of the colonels and Navy captains had been to one of the five senior military colleges—the three Service war colleges, and the two Joint schools (the National War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces), less than one-quarter had been to either of the two Joint schools. And while improvements are being made, the two Joint schools have not focused specifically on educating officers for Joint assignments.
d. Their average tour length is less than thirty months. This means that at any given time their average experience level on the Staff is about fifteen months. And there is virtually no corporate memory. The law limits both repetitive tours and tour lengths, and even if it didn't, there are few if any incentives for lengthy or repetitive tours as the system is now managed.
e. The normal tour of general and flag officers is twenty-four months, even less than that of their subordinates. Thus the average level of experience on the Joint Staff for generals and admirals is about one year. Moreover, for those who served during the past five years, less than sixty percent had served previously in any kind of Joint assignment, even though DoD policy states that a Joint duty assignment is a prerequisite to promotion to flag rank, and Joint duty for that purpose is very broadly (actually, too broadly) defined.
This combination of lack of Washington staff experience, lack of practical knowledge of Joint activities, and lack of formal preparation through the Joint school system-coupled with the very short tours without repetition-makes it very difficult for Joint Staff officers, no matter how capable, to deal effectively with their responsibilities. Thus, the Charter and the JCS as a corporate body are similarly handicapped.
Actually, Joint assignments are seldom sought by officers. There are few rewards and there are significant hazards. A Joint position removes them from the environment for which they've been trained, in which they have established relationships and reputations, and in which they seek advancement. Joint duty places them in a wholly new environment involving unfamiliar procedures and issues for which most of them have little or no formal training. Their fitness reports, which affect their careers and prospects for advancement, are often entrusted to officers of other Services with little in common by way of professional background. This make them apprehensive.
Adding to these concerns is the perception that much of the work in Joint duty assignments is unproductive. Too much effort is wasted on tedious inter-Service negotiation of issues until they have been debased and reduced to the "lowest common level of assent”, as noted by Mr. Steadman in his 1978 report.
Thus the general perception among officers is that a Joint assignment is one to be avoided. In contrast, most Service assignments are widely perceived as offering much greater possibilities for concrete accomplishment and career enhancement. As a result, many fine officers opt for Service assignments rather than risk Joint duty. In their testimony during the 1982 HASC hearings on JCS reform, Admirals Harry Train and Thor Hansen provided further evidence that confirmed the findings of the Brehm Study:
Admiral TRAIN. Some services do not make an equitable distribution of top quality planners and staff officers between the service staffs and the Joint Staff. Some do. Some do not. Some services over the years have intimidated their officers serving on the Joint Staff. In retrospect I unconsciously contributed to this when I was serving as the deputy director of strategic plans and policy on the Navy Staff. I suffered from it when I served as director of the Joint Staff. So I saw both sides of the problem.
From this observation I conclude the Joint Staff should be responsible to the chairman as opposed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body.
Admiral HANSEN. The individual services do not now treat joint duty assignments with equal emphasis. In my opinion, the Air Force gives the highest priority to sending quality front runners to the Joint Staff, often first as majors, and then reassigning them to subsequent tours.
The Navy gives joint duty the lowest priority of any of the services. Although snapshots can be misleading, these examples are indicative of the difference.
During my 2 years as director, not one lieutenant commander or commander on the Joint Staff was elected below the zone for promotion. Almost every Air Force and Army list had at least one or more early selectees from the Joint Staff. One year we had four Air Force early selectees to lieutenant colonel.
In the primary selection zone, Army and Air Force Joint Staff selection percentages to lieutenant colonel and colonel almost always equaled their Army and Air Force headquarters staff percentages, and greatly exceeded their overall service average promotions in any given year.
Navy Joint Staff selection percentages consistently lag far behind not only Navy headquarters staff percentages but also the overall fleet average.
During my 2 years as director, I was sent three Navy 0-7's—commodore rankwho had no previous joint experience, they were sent to be qualified because they had been waivered for the joint duty requirement for flag selection.
That kind of thing is very unusual in the other services. An Air Force or Army brigadier general almost always has previous Joint Staff experience.
In his testimony during those same hearings, General Jones commented further upon the way the Services treat joint service in their promotion systems. Incidentally, the Services are supposed to insure that, prior to sending forward nominees for the rank of 0-7 (brigadier general/rear admiral lower half), those officers have served successfully in a joint billet or its equivalent. In fact, there are many ways of evading that requirement. General Jones said:
In the 0-7's, the flag/general officer rank, we have averaged about three in the JCS per year for the last 10 years and 60 percent of those have been in one service. There has been a Secretary of Defense requirement that to make 0-7 you had to have joint experience. That has been frequently waived. And the services generally determine what is the definition of joint service; for example, we find in some service definitions duty as executive officer to a service secretary counting as joint service. I have had a hard time understanding the logic behind that. So that hasn't been too helpful.
There is much evidence indicating that joint assignments do not attract the "best and the brightest” of our officer corps. Joint assignments can actually be hazardous to the health of any up-andcoming officer-or, for that matter, of some relatively senior ones. An example of this occurred in the aftermath of the Beirut bombing of October 23, 1983, when serious questions arose concerning the evacuation and treatment of the wounded to Germany.
As a result of reports of serious problems including Army and Air Force bickering in the European Command (EUCOM) handling of casualties from the Beirut bombing, the Secretary of Defense directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to investigate the medical readiness planning in EUCOM. The commission, headed by Rear Admiral James A. Zimble, identified widespread shortcomings in medical readiness planning. In response to the Zimble report, the Assistant Secretary recommended that a command surgeon position be established at the U.S. European headquarters and manned full time by an officer who would oversee subordinate medical units in Europe. Although the JCS agreed in 1984 with the recommendation, no command surgeon was appointed until late in 1985. One reason was that the service medical corps have strongly and actively opposed having a joint authority placed over them.
Navy Secretary Lehman testified before the Armed Services Investigations Subcommittee last June (1985), “You do not find that interservice rivalry is an obstacle with the people that have to live where the rubber meets the road. You find it here in Washington staffs. That is where interservice rivalry dwells." The picture Congress views, he added, “is grotesquely distorted with the intersery