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quently, many of the changes that have been recommended, as I have said, have already been put into effect and are already common practice.
I think it is noteworthy that General Lemnitzer and I-and General Vessey and the present Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Crowe-do not agree with these changes that are being proposed because they are familiar with what is going on today.
Surely, there have been mistakes. There have been difficulties. There have been errors throughout the situation that has been prevailing since World War II, and they should be corrected and are being corrected. But I contend that you cannot solve these problems by simply drawing boxes and expect people to stay in them.
Let me get more specific, Mr. Chairman, and start with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The proposals in the Senate bill as well as in these two bills, H.R. 4234 and H.R. 4235, certainly must cause great pain, if you can feel such pain, to those who set up the National Security Act of 1947.
They use words such as “anathema" and "repugnant” referring to the very things that are now going to be adopted. So far as the Joint Chiefs of Staff are concerned, I think that it was General Jones that said he did not have enough power. In my view, the Chairman has all the power he is willing to take. Under our system of civilian control, which I support 100 percent, of course, the Chairman cannot tell the Secretary of Defense what to do.
But I have never given an order to a man in uniform any place without him carrying it out, and so far as controlling the personnel in the Joint Staff, I managed that very easily by just vetoing the assignment of any officer I did not want and requesting the chief of the service to send me so-and-so.
Now, so far as participating in promotions, I am going to get to that a little bit later, but if an officer was outstanding in the Joint Staff, from whatever service, I went to the chief of his service and advised him of that and told him I hoped that during the next opportunity, he would, in fact, be promoted.
So, as I say, so many of these things can be done by the people under the present organization.
Now, let me turn a little bit, because I see this as being a reallocation of power: We are going to take power away from the service chiefs. We are going to add more power for the Chairman; and the CINC's, who, for all practical purposes, are being set up, in essence, as small services on their own.
So, let me talk about them a little bit. The duty of the commander in chief of the unified commands is to fight their command. They do not have any responsibility although they make frequent inputs into research and development, into discipline, into recruiting, into training, into dealing with all of the budgetary details that take place here in Washington, attending hearings and so on, except when particularly called, and, consequently, they should devote their time entirely to getting their forces ready to fight.
Now, it is said in this bill that the unified commander should, of course, have his own budget. I think that is a big mistake because, in wartime, the unified commander is not going to fool around with any budget, I can guarantee you, and, consequently, there is not going to be any budget problem for him in wartime.
I do not think people realize that the National Security Act of 1947 and, also, the Reorganization Act of 1958, generally were focused on World War III. In other words, how do we go about fighting the Russians since the whole world is polarized now? The Congress had just come out of World War II and everybody's mind was on how do we provide for the common defense in a world war.
But, subsequent to that time, we have had terrorists, and we have had incidents and so on, all of which generate what I call “horror stories”, that are single incidents. I can tell you right now that if World War II had been described in the terms that anything that the military people do today, we would have lost it because many things went on that were far worse than what you have today. The key thing is we won the war, but you are not going to be able to run a war or run an organization in a war like you do a corporation, no matter what you say.
Let me go on to say that much is made in here about the command of the unified commander, and there is a sentence in here I really do not understand. It says that if a unified commander cannot control the forces assigned to his command, he should report to the Secretary of Defense. If I was Secretary of Defense, and a unified commander ever said that to me, I would fire him. I cannot imagine what you are talking about in this sentence when you say he is supposed to tell the Secretary of Defense. That is like saying, "I am going to tell mama on you if you do not do what I told you to do.” That is kind of a mysterious statement. There are several of those in this bill.
Let me go to the service chiefs who also are active members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In the first place, several accusations have been made that the service chiefs think more of their service than they do the country. I think that statement is in the Senate study. I consider this an insult, and it is not true or fair to label people that way who work as hard as the service chiefs. I cannot understand it. We talk a lot about interservice rivalry. You are talking about budget competition, but there is no interservice rivalry in wartime.
When we conducted the bombing in 1972 on the Monday following Christmas, we put 100 B-52's and 350 tactical aircraft over Hanoi in less than half an hour. I do not think there is any other military organization in the world that has this capability. The Navy positioned a cruiser up in Haiphong Harbor that warned our Air Force planes that enemy fighters were on their tail.
There was an exchange of electronic jamming capability in time with the strikes. There was also a refueling exchange, and not once did I ever see any effort to either hog the operation or make the other service look bad or any of these other things that people say happen all the time.
Certainly, no chief is going to go up to another chief and say, look, I have got this money in my budget, I really need it, but I think maybe you need it, too. Why don't you take these $400 million? That is never going to happen, and one of the reasons is that the young people that are out in the field have got to believe that the chief of their service is looking out for their interests and is their leader. For the same reason, he, the young officer that is dodging bullets, is not going to be too pleased with an elitist group making the plans while he is out there fighting when he knows that his chief did not have very much to do with the plans. This business of leadership is very, very important in a military organization, and, so, to build the impression that all of the orders and everything come from some mysterious elitist group in Washington is going to destroy, I think, the whole system.
But the thing in all of these bills, Mr. Chairman, that causes me maximum pain is the proposal that we are going to take young lieutenants in the Navy and captains in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, that we are going to make them a special group, and that they are going to spend half their time in joint duties. According to this subspecialty idea, they are going to be promoted faster than any of the other officers. On top of that, you cannot be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or unified commander unless you are in this specialty group. Well, I have warned you before and tell you now that this will absolutely disrupt the entire promotion and officer assignment system to a degree that it probably will never recover. What this does is, in effect, to preselect 25 years beforehand an officer who is going to be eligible for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; if the officer is going to get that job this way it rules out about 95 percent of the rest of the officers. That is going to have a very, very serious impact on the whole system. Furthermore, I think these joint subspecialty people will be essentially isolated by the rest of the officers in the service because they are given such opportunity. I happen to know that the man that stood No. 1 in my class at the Naval Academy never got past lieutenant because just when World War II started, he folded up like a tent. To think that you can take somebody-and the Secretary of Defense with the advice from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will have to do it-and to think you can pluck him out of the organization like that, I think, is a very unwise thought. It cannot work, and you are going to destroy the whole selection system, and morale.
The same thing goes for the proposal that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is going to have an opportunity, if he does not like the selection board from each service, to screen it and add 10 percent of his own people and send it back to the service or to the Secretary of the service who, in turn, then, will have to work it out with the Secretary of Defense. It is really an unbelievable proposal.
My plea is that you not monkey with the promotion system. I mean, you are getting into almost the social level where, you know, the man says "Do not monkey with my wife.” People get embedded with the whole idea of how their career is going to work, and to have certain groups given a running start before they even are dry behind the ears is going to cause a lot of pain in the minds of 95 percent of the people that are not in that group. So, I just think that ought to be thought of very, very carefully.
I will turn for just a minute to acquisitions. It works in several ways. You recall, Mr. Chairman, the TFX (tactical fighter experimental, or F-111]. Mr. Brown, who was Secretary of Defense, at that time was the research and development czar for McNamara. Mr. Brown was an action officer, so to speak, and he sat before this committee and before the Senate committee, and insisted that this was the finest airplane the Navy could get its hands on. Mr. Brown managed to get the program kept active until Senator Stennis put a stop to it. Well, time marches on. Mr. Brown now says that the Joint Chiefs of Staff's advice is worthless. My comment on that is that his advice is very, very expensive because the Navy had to spend $600 million and did not get a single airplane. Nothing you can do to reorganize the Joint Chiefs of Staff can change that because of that kind of civilian control.
General LeMay was very much opposed to the F-111. So was the Chief of Naval Operations. He got fired because he took a strong stand against it. Those are the kinds of things that happen, and that is the reason I say it is the people that are in the position that make it work or not work, and I do not think you can organize around that. I just do not think you can do it. People being like they are, they always are worried about their egos, their chances and whatever, as time goes on.
So, I am just saying that in a democracy, where you have so many people with so many special interests, these things are going to crop up from time to time. But, in my opinion, today the military people, and I have visited many of them, have the highest morale. They are better qualified for operating their equipment and I think that they are in pretty good shape overall. I think the people in this country should be proud of them.
Now, one other thing on which I would just like to comment, and that is, when you get civilian control, which I fully support, the problem is that it is always extended to the point where instead of telling the military people what to do, they are also told how to do it. During the Vietnam war, we were told how many bombs to put on each wing, whether to use a certain kind of weapon, and how far to fly into North Vietnam, how many aircraft to send up there and so on. This is a subject that has not been touched on by the Congress, but I think that it is a very important one. We should never get into another war where we have nonprofessional officials finetuning the military operations. Combat operations are nasty, dangerous, deadly, and to think that you can run them just about like you might a football team that is highly trained is a mistake because things are always popping up that you do not anticipate. They always will pop up in that fashion. I will say that this is not a horse race, and there are no second and third places once you start fighting.
Finally, I want to repeat again that it is men that make the decisions, men that make the plans, men that do the fighting, and men that do the dying, and you cannot circumvent all this by a very detailed and extensive reorganization. Now, I am not opposed to change. I think there is much to change. I think there are too many people in the Defense Department, too many people in the Joint Staff and too many people in the service staffs. I think that, as I used to tell the Secretaries of Defense (and I was with five of them), that I was willing to reduce the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but I could not get rid of the question-answers till they disposed of the question-askers.
The letters that the Congress writes take up so much time, and it gets worse and worse all the time. I remember an experience I had. This was as a relatively junior officer, when Mr. Vinson was chairman of this committee, and Mr. McElroy was the Secretary of Defense. We were just starting the Polaris program, and Mr. McElroy got the idea, on the advice of some of his analysts, that they did not need any torpedoes in the Polaris submarine because, once you fired nuclear weapons, the war was over anyway. So what were you going to do with the torpedoes? So, Mr. McElroy got a letter from Mr. Vinson saying he wanted torpedoes. He thought they ought to have torpedoes. Mr. McElroy sent it down to Admiral Burke. Admiral Burke gave it to me to answer. It went back up. Mr. McElroy signed it, and sent it back to Mr. Vinson. Mr. Vinson took Mr. McElroy's letter, sent it directly to Admiral Burke, and Admiral Burke gave it to me to answer. So, I spent 6 months writing letters to myself. [Laughter.] This is a true story. That is hard to do because you have got to be sure you do not write a letter you cannot answer. [Extended laughter.]
Well, I think I have talked enough, Mr. Chairman. I am ready for your questions.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ADM. THOMAS H. MOORER Mr. Chairman, since I did not have an opportunity to testify during the discussions leading up to H.R. 3622, I would like to ask your permission to present as my formal statement my comments on the key provisions of this Bill.
I will list the provisions of the Bill, which will be immediately followed by my comments.
A. Provision: Replaces the Joint Chiefs of staff with the Chairman as the principal military adviser to the President, etc.
Comment: As a matter of practice, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has always been the principal military adviser. His office is very near that of the Secretary of Defense, he talks on the phone and/or intercom to the President as well as the Secretary of defense several times a week and he attends the National Security Council meetings. It was my experience that the President always asked the Chairman for his advice on the issue under discussion at an NSC meeting.
B. Provision: Assigns the duties currently performed by the JCS to the Chairman who is to consult, as appropriate, with the other JCS members and the Unified Commanders. In addition, authorizes a JCS member to give the Secretary of Defense any opinion and disagreement with the advice of the Chairman of the JCS as well as authorizes a JCS member to submit to the President, after first informing the Secretary of Defense, of any opinion in disagreement with the advice of the Chairman and the JCS.
Comment: This is exactly what happened during my tenure as Chairman of the JCS and to my knowledge has always been the procedure used. This is simply a manifestation of good management procedures in an executive pyramid.
C. Provision: Replaces the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the Chairman as the source of advice for the President in establishing Unified Commands.
Comment: The establishment of Unified Commands is a very involved process. In the real world the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not establish Unified Commands. The recommendations to the President go through the Secretary of Defense when a change in the Unified Command setup is deemed desirable. Before such a recommendation takes place, extensive discussions are held by the JCS, the CINCs of the Unified Commands, and the Secretary of Defense. No Chairman would ever attempt to establish a Unified Command in secret, without discussing it fully with all involved. I am opposed to the Provision.
D. Provision: Assign responsibility to the Chairman for supervising the Unified Command.
Comment: Here again the Chairman has always "supervised” the Unified commanders. The minute the Unified Commanders have a question involving the Component Commanders, the JCS, or the Secretary of Defense, it has been my experience that they always call the Chairman first and seek advice, as well as all the background information they can obtain. While I do not think this provision is necessary, it does no harm and simply codifies normal procedure.
E. Provision: Directs the Chairman to integrate the budgetary needs of Unified Commands into an annual budget recommendation to the Secretary of Defense.