Sen. John McCain plans a long-term review of the law underpinning the modern American military, the Goldwater-Nichols legislation that created the current chain of command from president to defense secretary to combatant commanders.We've asked this question a lot over the last half-decade with some of our guests on Midrats, and the general consensus was that almost three decades was long enough.
“The Committee will be conducting a preliminary examination of the structure, roles, and missions of civilian and military organizations within the (Defense) Department. That will set the stage for a broader review of these issues starting after this year’s NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and extending into next year, many of which are tied directly to Goldwater-Nichols Act,”
Read the whole thing, but I find question #3 the most interesting;
“At the same time, three decades later, there are real questions about how Goldwater-Nichols has been implemented and what unintended consequences may have resulted. For example:This is a good and meaningful development. More to come, if we're lucky enough to have proper followthrough. I don't think keeping with the status quo is the right answer.
- “Are the roles and missions of the Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, Joint Task Forces, and other headquarters elements properly aligned to conduct strategic planning, equip our warfighters, and maximize combat power?
- “Does the vast enterprise that has become the Office of the Secretary of Defense further our ability to meet present and future military challenges?
- “Does the constant churn of uniformed officers through joint assignments make them more effective military leaders, or has this exercise become more of a self-justification for a large officer corps?
- “Is the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980 still appropriate for the joint force of 2015 and beyond, or is it time to review this law?
Don't get by wrong, I loved the '80s ... but that was a very different time with different threats and different solutions to problems we face.