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Subcommittee work on the M-16 rifle and the rest-have come from this committee. I want to say that particularly because I want to emphasize that I feel a strong sense of support for the Congress and for both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees' roles in the process of overseeing and legislating with regard to the armed services.
I do think, however, that there are some points that need to be made about the pending legislation, in particular its level of detail. I have had the benefit of reading John Kester's fine and scholarly testimony that was presented to you, I believe, yesterday. There are several general points that I want to make about the legislation somewhat along the lines that he made.
First of all, you have before you 45 pages of rather detailed legislation in these four bills. I believe that the country has been wellserved over the last number of years by the comparatively sparse nature of the title 10 provisions with regard to the Department of Defense, compared with the extraordinarily detailed regulation of many other Government departments and agencies. That is not to say that changes should not be made. And indeed, I agree with the major thrust and general direction of the legislation that you have before you. But there are several caveats that I would like to suggest.
First of all, I think that many of us who have been interested in reform of the military and defense structure over the last several years have seen, have talked about and have written about the importance of enhancing the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the role of the joint combatant commanders and the like, because of what has come to be a very strong emphasis in peacetime on the role of the individual military services. I believe that there is good justification today for beginning to move, and move rather solidly, in the direction of jointness, to put it briefly. But I believe that those steps ought to be taken in such a way as to ensure that we do not establish in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and in the Joint Staff a rival for the Secretary of Defense.
This is why I had originally suggested that the legislation-now passed by the House and before the Senate-enhance the role of the Chairman to be the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, but not to the President. I did not intend by that suggestion to denigate the role of the Chairman at all, but rather to stress that I thought that his increased power and authority should principally come at the expense of the individual military services, not at the expense of the Secretary of Defense.
In the Packard Commission, we discussed this issue at some length. In our report, we decided to include a key word in order to emphasize the point that we did not believe that the Chairman should have his role enhanced at the expense of the Secretary of Defense. That was to describe the new role of the Chairman as the principal uniformed military adviser to the President and to the Secretary.
I believe that the word “uniformed” is crucial. This is because the word "military" standing alone might suggest to some future Chairman, I think certainly not this one, at some future time some overall role of rivalry which I would not want to see exist.
I also think that the word “supervises," as John Kester pointed out yesterday-in the legislation that has been passed and in H.R. 4234—with respect to the Chairman's role should be sacrificed to some other word for the reason that Mr. Kester stated. The Taft memorandum issued earlier in this administration, when Mr. Taft was general counsel of the Department of Defense, could be read as interpreting the word “supervises”-if it is passed in legislation and attached to the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-as creating a single overall uniformed military commander of American Armed Forces. I do not believe that would be wise. Along with John Kester, I also have serious doubts about its constitutionality.
There are two other general areas in the legislation that you passed, and also that which is before you which I believe require serious consideration, and in many ways may be more important than some of the organizational proposals in the four bills before you. These two areas were emphasized to a greater or lesser extent by the Packard Commission. They are civilian personnel, the civilian personnel system, and reform in the Congress itself.
With respect to the civilian personnel system, we proposed that the Navy China Lake experiment—which has significantly stripped away major parts of the detailed civil service requirements for managing scientists and technical personnel, scientists and engineers—be enhanced to include senior acquisition personnel, in order to introduce a good deal more flexibility into civilian personnel management.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I apologize to my friend and today's witness for interrupting his testimony. This is one of those mornings where you have to be three places at one time. But I do want to ask a question before I leave.
Mr. WOOLSEY. Surely.
Mr. SKELTON. I would like to ask you about the proposal for a Deputy Chairman, and having him in essence No. 2 with the full powers of the Chairman when the Chairman is off to Europe, or Singapore, or whatever.
Mr. WOOLSEY. I agree with that proposal, Congressman Skelton. I believe that it would be a better system for the Deputy Chairman to be the Acting Chairman in the Chairman's absence. But I would want the Secretary of Defense to be able to decide that issue. And if he should want to set up a rotation or some other system because of the way that he wanted to manage the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs, I would leave that flexibility open to him. But I believe that as a matter of policy that the enhanced role of the Deputy Chairman to serve as Acting Chairman is the preferred solution.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
Mr. WOOLSEY. The civilian personnel system, Mr. Chairman, I believe is quite inadequate at the present time, and is one of the greatest rigidities and one of the greatest barriers to the successful management of the Department of Defense. I would not propose to talk longer about this issue this morning, but simply to suggest that in the future, and during consideration of this legislation, that the types of reforms of the civilian personnel system that we discussed in the Packard Commission report be given a high priority. With respect to the personnel cuts that are in the proposed legislation and other similar changes that are suggested for the Department of Defense, I might stress that much of the manpower that exists in, particularly, the headquarters operations in the Defense Department does have to do with people who are involved in dealing with the Congress and with requirements which the Congress has levied on the Defense Department for reporting and the like.
Reductions in reporting are important. But even more important I think are the proposals for the biennial budget, for the two-milestone authorization for major weapons systems, and for an approach toward authorization and appropriation within far more general categories than the current line items when one is dealing with early stages of weapons programs.
I would add to that the importance of enhanced prototyping and particularly 6.3A prototyping. Those steps almost all suggest major changes in the way that Congress does business. And I would suggest to you that the civilian personnel reforms and the congressional reforms which the Packard Commission proposed for consideration are among the most important features of its recommendation.
I might say a word briefly about each of the four bills, Mr. Chairman, that are before you, and then I will submit to whatever questions you might have.
H.R. 4234, the Armed Forces Combatant Command Reorganization Act, has as its centerpiece the strong enhancement of the role of the CÍNC, the unified commander. I believe that it is true that the role of the CINC has not been sufficiently strong in peacetime, particularly in recent years. Stories filter through the system which are really nothing short of appalling about the lack of authority which many CINC's have had, particularly over their component commanders.
Back before the early 1960's, the role and problem was similar for American ambassadors. In the early 1960's a reform making the Ambassador the head of the country team was instituted. This gave the Ambassador the authority to, essentially, veto appointments by other departments and agencies of people who worked in the Embassy, and gave him the authority to, at least, see messages going from, let us say, his military attache to the Pentagon. It generally made him the overall peacetime, of course for the Diplomatic Service, head of the country team.
Something of that sort of reform and enhancement in the peacetime role of the CINC is important I believe, and useful. As you move up the spectrum of violence, however, from pure peacetime to contingency operations, I am not certain that an enhanced role of the CINC is the most desirable path.
I believe that thorough study, which I am sure that this committee and subcommittee have undertaken, of both the Marine massacre in Beirut and the loss of the aircraft, the A-6, in the Bekka Valley, would indicate that there is good reason for the commander actually at the scene of a contingency operation of that sort to have enhanced authority. Otherwise one may have a major some several thousand miles away on a staff in Brussels picking the time that an aircraft in the eastern Mediterreanean is to roll in on its target.
Now there is in H.R. 4234 the authority to set up separate and individual task forces and the like. But I am concerned that the overall enhancement of the role of the CINC might create a situation whereby the increased bureaucracy and layered command at the CINC level could interfere with the needed flexibility of creating task force commanders for individual contingency operations.
As one moves further up the spectrum of violence from contingencies to general nonnuclear war, the unified and specified command structure is, I think, relatively well organized. That is more or less what I believe the CINC's are for, and their role and authority should be strong in that type of conflict.
As one merges into more difficult circumstances, as the spectrum of violence might increase to nuclear war and the like, the situation could change yet again. And the thing that I want to stress is the importance of flexibility in command arrangements to be established by the President and the Secretary of Defense with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
I do believe that at the present time that a tilt toward enhanced authority for the CINC's is important. But I would recommend against 15 pages of detail with CINC councils and the like as a method for trying to correct the current problems. I believe that a general and rather brief statement enhancing the role of the CINC in peacetime particularly, and clearly giving flexibility for various command arrangements to be established, tailored to individual circumstances would be far superior.
With respect to H.R. 4235, the joint subspecialty for military officers, I would identify myself also with John Kester's testimony on this bill. I believe that the direction is right, but the degree of detail and rigidity are wrong. It may well be that in some circumstances an officer of unusual background will be needed for a senior position. I would hate to have it enshrined in legislationthat can only be changed by coming to the Congress and going through a lengthy process—that only a former CINC can be a Chairman, for example.
I believe that that sort of provision is enormously too restrictive. I agree that we want to enhance the careers and the opportunities for those who have served in joint backgrounds and joint commands. I think that it might be worth seriously considering a small number of military promotions at senior levels to be placed in the hands of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense, but I believe that this level of detail of legislation on this type of issue is unwise.
I would submit that one step which has long been proposed by the former commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, Russ Dougherty, might be worth considering. That would be to require that all new flag officers be assigned for the first year of their new status as flag officers to some joint school, perhaps National Defense University, for an opportunity to learn joint operations and the activities and military operations of the other military services. This would be for submariners to get a chance to fly with Air Force fighter pilots, tank drivers to have the experience of serving on destroyers, and generally for the new flag officers to be taught the responsibilities and tools of joint command.
This sort of proposal has been made before. It tends to be watered down in the committee-like structure of the Joint Chiefs to where occasionally a few officers for a few weeks are sent to some sort of endeavor. But even with a full year being set aside-a one time tax essentially, on the military personnel system-I think the time would be well spent. I would suggest to you that if there is any interest in this sort of approach toward increasing joint consciousness, understanding of joint operations, understanding of the other services, that General Dougherty's views be solicited by the committee.
With respect to H.R. 4236, the Military Department Reorganization Act, this consolidated method of running a military department is essentially the way Graham Claytor ran the Navy Department when I was his Under Secretary, and I think that it is a sound approach.
I do not believe that uniformity should be required of each military department. I believe that it is unwise to include in the legislation a prohibition against future reorganizations. But as a general matter, I think that an integrated staff serving together under the service Secretary at the military department level is the proper direction.
And finally, with respect to H.R. 4237 dealing with the agencies in the Department of Defense, I would only echo what I said before about civil service reform being the real centerpiece of this issue. What is important is that able people be provided through the civilian personnel system to manage these agencies, and that the Commander or Director of any of the agencies report to someone in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and, as appropriate to someone in the Chairman's organization, that can actually effectively oversee his operation. But I would recommend against detailed provisions such as Combat Support Agency Policy Councils and the like.
As a general matter, Mr. Chairman, I think that these bills head in the right direction. I think that we are seeing an overdue and desirable move in the Congress to correct some of the problems which have existed as a result of a heavily military-service-oriented peacetime structure, and a set of combatant commands that also are too heavily influenced by the roles of the individual military services. But I would counsel you in the direction of generality, of principles, of oversight hearings, of later amendment if necessary, and against 45 pages of detail.
Mr. NICHOLS. Thank you, Mr. Woolsey. Let me go back to your comments on the Deputy Chairman which is a controversial subject at best. Why did the Commission make the Deputy a sixth member of the JCS?
Mr. WOOLSEY. I think that the use of the number six, Mr. Chairman, was not meant to suggest that he should be sixth in hierarchy, but rather that he should be one of the six members, a full member of the JCS. And I believe that the Commission felt that the addition of a Deputy Chairman was particularly important for several reasons. One, many of us, although I am not certain that this would be true of all on the Commission, thought that the Chairman should have a Deputy Chairman to serve in his absence in order to maintain continuity in the advice and knowledge of