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H.R. 4237, to amend title 10, United States Code, to improve oversight of the
defense agencies, particularly those agencies that support operating forces, and to require a report to Congress analyzing the functions and organiza
tional structure of the defense agencies .....
Audit Agency ....
ment of Defense...
of the Committee on Armed Services), to amend title 10, United States
Code, to reorganize the Department of Defense.......
REORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, February 19, 1986. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:35 a.m., in room 2337, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill Nichols (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BILL NICHOLS, A REPRESENTA
TIVE FROM ALABAMA, CHAIRMAN, INVESTIGATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. NICHOLS. Over the last 40 years there has been a no more consistently troubling question than the organization of our national defense establishment.
The National Security Act of 1947, as well as its amendments in 1949 and 1958, provided us with a framework that has endured over that period. But that framework has been the target of continuous criticism, suggesting that we could and should do better.
Over the years at least a dozen Presidential commissions or special panels, as well as an untold number of academic studies, have left an impressive documentary record of the need to improve. In this decade the changing international security environment, particularly characterized by the demonstration of a new order of Soviet military capabilities, gave additional urgency to this question.
In 1982 two of this country's most distinguished military leaders, Gen. David C. Jones, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Edward C. Meyer, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, took the lead in urging that the JCS system be strengthened by a number of comprehensive reforms. We in the Congress took particular note of their recommendations. I'm especially proud of the record of this House in holding comprehensive hearings on JCS reform and in moving aggressively to recommend legislation.
Last November, the House passed a JCS reform measure, H.R. 3622, by vote of 383 to 27. We sent it to the Senate. Two of our distinguished colleagues in the other body, Senator Barry Goldwater, and Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia have not only moved to examine the issue of JCS reform, but have broadened their investigations to embrace the larger question of Department of Defense organization.
Because of this widening legislative inquiry, Chairman Aspin believed it important that our members have a chance to inform themselves on defense organization.
Accordingly, Chairman Aspin and I wrote Secretary Weinberger last week detailing a broad range of defense organization issues that this subcommittee needs to examine. I shall insert that letter at the end of the hearing. See page 92.
At this point let me outline the major aspects of our inquiry.
First, the unified and specified commands. Should the Commanders in Chief, the CINC's, of the unified and specified commands, be strengthened, and if so, in what ways?
Among other things, the subcommittee will attempt to determine if the command authority exercised by the CINC's is adequate, or if they should have greater authority over subordinate component commanders, assignment of forces within those commands, their organization structures, and the arrangements which now prevail for combat support and administration within those commands.
Also the subcommittee would examine the general question of whether the CINC's play a sufficiently influential role in the Department of Defense resource allocation process.
Second, the military personnel system as it relates to officers performing joint military duties.
The subcommittee has received testimony over the years through the JCS hearings which began in 1982, suggesting that the education, training, and experience of joint officers have been insufficient to equip them for the crucial tasks they perform. Some witnesses also claim that the subsequent careers of joint officers have been adversely affected in terms of promotion, of advancement and of retention. The subcommittee, therefore, would explore the measures to institutionalize the recognition of joint duty as among the most important of assignments, including proposals to create a joint specialty.
Third, consolidating the military department headquarters staffs. For some years the apparent redundancy in the three top Department of Defense management headquarters-Office of the Secretary of Defense, Secretaries of Military Departments, and the Service Military Headquarters Staffs-has been the target of studies calling for reduced layering and duplication. The most common proposal is to consolidate the service Secretaries and the military headquarters staffs, and thereby strengthen civilian control. Is this possible? Would it be prudent? The subcommittee wants to examine this and other proposals, such as those calling for elimination of the service Secretaries altogether, and the creation of Under Secretaries of Defense for land, sea, and air.
Fourth, the defense agencies. Increasingly, the Congress hears calls-sometimes from incumbent Department of Defense officials for the elimination of several or all defense agencies. The subcommittee would, therefore, examine the viability of the defense agency concept-whether agencies with the missions to support combat forces are sufficiently responsive to combat related operation requirements and capable of performing their wartime missions—and the adequacy of financial oversight of defense agencies within the Department of Defense.
Finally, I would encourage our witnesses to take a broad view of the issues raised by the current debate over defense organizations, especially as the bill now being drafted by the Senate becomes available.
Although as I have indicated, the documentary record on defense organization problems is an extensive one, we are approaching a most critical time in the legislative decision process.
Each of our witnesses has been invited to appear based upon a distinguished record of service to this country. Yet there may be no more critical duty for them to perform than to help shape the decisions that this Congress must make on the organization of our Nation's defense. For good or bad, that structure of command will be in place for years to come. It is one that must permit this country to prevail if we are ever again put to the supreme test of war.
The Romans said, and I quote, “If you would have peace, you must be prepared for war.” And while we pray for peace, we can never forget that organization, no less than a bayonet, or an aircraft carrier, is a weapon of war. We owe it to our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, and our marines to ensure that this weapon is lean enough, is flexible enough, and tough enough to help them win if, God forbid, that ever becomes necessary.
Our first witness this morning is Deputy Secretary of Defense, William H. Taft, IV.
Mr. Secretary, we appreciate you being here as spokesman for the Department of Defense, and we look forward to your testimony. STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM H. TAFT IV, DEPUTY SECRETARY
OF DEFENSE Mr. Taft. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I'm delighted to have the opportunity to be here to represent the Department.
I should say that I appear on behalf of the Secretary. He is appearing at this very moment before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I know that you and he have in the past, discussed this subject a number of times, and with the other members of the subcommittee as well—and the fact that I am here representing him, does not preclude and should not preclude, his continuing those discussions that you have had over the years, and he looks forward to doing that.
I would say that in my statement I'm going to focus on the elements of the defense structure that you have outlined in your opening statement, and in the letter of invitation announcing this series of hearings.
I would like to recognize before moving to those specifics, however, the leadership that has been exercised by this committee in the development of H.R. 3622, which relates, of course, to the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in prior years, in the development of other legislation, some of which, of course, has been enacted, and others which remain as part of H.R. 3622, and are potentially the subject of these hearings.
Although there are a few aspects of H.R. 3622—which I'm sure we will have an opportunity to discuss—with which the Department is not in agreement, we do feel that that bill provides a basic framework which we do 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 in the Department take very seriously. 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 established over the past 5 years. Although we have made a number of organizational changes where required, we have primarily concentrated on improving manage ment systems and processes. Generally, we believe that such changes accomplish substantive management improvements more quickly than organizational changes, and achieve their objectives without as much turbulence as would normally accompany a major organizational shakeup.
We have demonstrated that we are in favor of change when it provides a net benefit to the operation of the Department. 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, over the years that this committee has also favored this approach.
Let me now turn to the subjects in which you have expressed special interest in your opening statement.
On the unified and specified commands, we share your concern for improving the manner in which the combatant commanders prepare for performing their war-fighting mission. The matters addressed in this area by your letter do indeed 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 Joint Chiefs of Staff have initiated a review of JCS Pub. 2, entitled “Unified Action Armed Forces,” which the Secretary directed be completed by June 30 of this year. Changes to the current command structure should, in our view, take advantage of the outcome of that study, and reflect its findings. The Secretary and I are committed to giving 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 CINC's over the components of their commands, somewhat at the expense of the military services. The Secretary and I have consistently supported expanding the CINCs' opportunities for involvement in resource allocation matters that you mentioned, and also in other significant management decisions of the Department. We have tried to do this, however, in an absolute sense without reducing existing opportunities of the service secretaries, and the service chiefs, to advise us. I would say this is a very delicate task. As a rule, we do believe that any adjustments that might be made in JCS Pub. 2, or in other relevant directives, can be accommodated in the existing statutory authority that the