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Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, calls for Goldwater-Nichols style legislation for the national security apparatus

May 19, 2010

In the latest edition of PRISM, former Chairman Peter Pace says:

You need people on both sides of the aisle in Congress and one or more Cabinet officials to become seized with the idea that we can have the same impact on interagency effectiveness and efficiency with a Goldwater-Nichols–like approach to the interagency process that was the result of the Goldwater-Nichols Act that forced the U.S. military to operate jointly.

Pace makes many observations in line with our thinking in Forging a New Shield.  For example,

The problem is that there is nobody below the President with “Choke Con” over this system. So if a problem starts between DOD [Department of Defense] and State—unless it is so significant that the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense want to bring it to the President—it just does not get solved. People try to work around it and it just bubbles along. There are great people trying to do the right thing, but nobody is tagged with the responsibility of keeping all of this tied together. The bottom line is if any agency says no, unless it goes to the President, there is no way to move that “no” off center.

This is very similar to the problem we identified of the inability to effectively delegate Presidential authority in the system in order to coordinate integrated strategies.

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