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what is going on. You do not have time to have a conference call among all the Chiefs, that is not necessary. You go ahead and take the action. You have your conference call later, and then clear it up. This is what is done.
We stay close together, so that the acting chairman or the chairman knows exactly the way we feel about a crisis. He does not have to check in and have a conference call every time he takes an action. He is acting on behalf of all of us.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you. No further questions.
Mr. NICHOLS. Any further questions from any members of the committee?
Thank you very much, gentlemen. We appreciate your testimony very, very much.
Our next meeting of the committee will be Monday at 9 a.m. At that time, we will hear from Admiral Train, who is retired, Admiral Hansen, retired. Assistant Secretary of Defense Wade will also testify next week. He will bring two Defense Agency heads with him.
The subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:07 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 9 a.m., Monday, February 24, 1986.]
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, Monday, February 24, 1986. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9 a.m., in room 2216, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill Nichols (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
STATEMENT OF HON. BILL NICHOLS, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM
ALABAMA, CHAIRMAN, INVESTIGATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE Mr. NICHOLS. The subcommittee will come to order.
This morning the subcommittee continues its hearings on the reform of JCS and the agencies, and we are glad to have this morning as our first witness Adm. Harry Train, U.S. Navy, retired, former commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command. Do you have a prepared statement?
STATEMENT OF ADM. HARRY D. TRAIN, U.S. NAVY (RETIRED),
FORMER COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. ATLANTIC COMMAND Admiral TRAIN. No, Mr. Chairman. I just have an informal statement, if that would be all right?
Mr. NICHOLS. You may proceed.
Admiral TRAIN. Mr. Chairman, I am most grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the deliberations on this very important subject of JCS reorganization. As you may recall, I was privileged while still on active duty, as commander in chief with the Atlantic Command in 1982, to testify before the White Investigation Subcommittee in support of the General Jones proposal for improving the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I make that point because the fact that I testified while on active duty in favor of it, perhaps, will give more credence to what I am saying today.
I also participated in the 18-month-long project conducted by the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies on the JCS organization, and I associate myself fully with the results of that study. The perspective that I bring to these deliberations is that of having been Director of the Joint Staff for 2 years and subsequently commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command for 4 years.
To set the stage for what I will say, I would like to make the point that in my view, and, in fact, it has to be in everybody's view, the Armed Forces of the United States exists for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to support the political leadership of the United States in pursuing these political objectives and those
goals that can be accomplished only with the use of military force. We have no life in and of ourselves, so our purpose is to serve the political leadership of the United States.
The war-fighting commanders, that is the unified and specified commanders, are the points on that spear. Therefore, the line be tween the National Command Authority and the war-fighting commanders or the unified and specified commanders is one of the most important lines for command chains in our entire governmental structure. And it is necessary that that line be as crisp and clear as possible so there can be no misunderstanding because the penalty for misunderstandings is too great.
It is essential that there be a clear blend of accountability and authority on the part of the unified commanders, the war-fighting commanders, and I would suggest that there is a possibility that today there is not a full match between accountability and authority vested in the unified commanders. They have enormous accountability, but they do not have authority commensurate with that accountability.
I can cite one example. During the period that I served as the commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, one of the most pressing requirements for which I was accountable was to ensure that Iceland remained secure in the event of conflict. Now, when you look at the defenses of Iceland that existed at that time, you had to conclude that the poor radar coverage, with stone-age radars, insufficient in number, and the F-4 fighter aircraft maintained there by the Air Force were not adequate in the event of conflict to ensure that you could hold Iceland. Without Iceland, there is no way you can conduct an antisubmarine warfare campaign in the North Atlantic.
For the entire period I served as commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, I tried to persuade another service, the U.S. Air Force, to place in their budget the funds to upgrade the radar and the command and control on Iceland and to replace the F-4's with F-15's, and I was unsuccessful. In retrospect, I believe I was unsuccessful because I was trying to persuade another service to help support a Navy commander. There was no system that enabled me to place that requirement in an overall resource context.
I, indeed was offered the opportunity, when the Defense Resources Board was established, to make the case before the Defense Resources Board, but there is very little you can do in a 10-minute window or 10-minute opportunity every year.
My overall view of the JCS organization probably is that we have four problems that we are dealing with. The first is the authority of the chairman, the second is the staff's support for the Chairman, the third is the resource authority of the unified commanders, and fourth is the issue of the Deputy Chairman.
Of those four problems, the one that I have the strongest personal feeling about is that of the deputy chairman. In my 2 years as Director of the Joint Staff and the 4 years I served as commander in chief of the Atlantic Command, one of the most persistent problems that I encountered was the problem of the acting chairman and the continuity that was lost when an acting chairman filled in for the Chairman during his many absences.
At that time, both when I was Director of the Joint Staff and when I was commander in chief of the Atlantic Command, we had a system whereby the senior service chief in town became the acting chairman in the Chairman's absence. It has happened historically that in the course of a single crisis, we could have four separate acting chairmen serving in that capacity.
When General Vessey became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he changed that system and established a system that rotated an acting chairman every 3 months and kept one service chief in town for a 3-month period, so he could get up to speed on JCS matters and functions as the only acting chairman during that 3-month window of time. That was a considerable improvement and created a situation where we would only encounter four different acting chairmen over the course of a year.
But that is clearly not sufficient in this unforgiving game that we are engaged in in the use of the Armed Forces of the United States in support of our political leadership. I am convinced that one of the most serious needs is to create the position of Deputy Chairman and make that Deputy Chairman the No. 2 ranking officer in the U.S. military and that that Deputy Chairman should be the one that functions as the alter ego to the chairman in the chairman's absence. There is a principle of leadership that says that an effective leader is a known personality and has predictable behavior. It is relatively impossible to achieve the qualities of a known personality and predictable behavior if you are changing the personality every three months, or as we used to in the past, change the personality four times in the course of one crisis.
There is another aspect of JCS organization that bears some examination, and that is the natural tensions that exist between the resource authorities, the service Chiefs and the Service Secretaries on the one hand, and the war-fighting authorities, the unified and specified commanders on the other. This natural tension results from the fact that the war-fighting commander is charged with and held accountable for carrying out today's missions, achieving today's objectives with the capability available to him today. The service chiefs and the resource authorities are responsible for and are held accountable for, providing ships, weapon systems, aircraft and trained personnel to the war-fighting commanders.
Because that is their role, their primary role, they look out ahead 3, 4, 5 years, and they must do so. So their view of the world is not just what happens today, but what is going to happen downstream. Occasionally that forward look will conflict with something that a unified commander feels he must do today. This is particularly true when you look at the balance between four pillars, what we call the four pillars of defense expenditures, that is forcestructure, modernization, readiness, and sustainability. That unified commander is concerned primarily with readiness, and when he sees readiness traded off to buy forcestructure or modernization for 3, 4, 5 years ahead, it makes him nervous. He doesn't like to mortgage today, because he is accountable for today in order to buy something for tomorrow, although that is necessary.
But what we really see is that there is a cultural gap between the resource authorities and the war-fighting authorities and seldom, if ever, do we find a chairman or a service chief that has