Pace Extols Virtues of ‘Jointness’ to Colombian Officers
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
BOGOTA, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2007 Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recounted yesterday to Colombian military officers his initial doubts about the U.S. military going “joint,” but he said he was firm in his conviction two decades later that the armed forces are better off when fighting together as a team.
Pace told students at Colombia's War College that he was a lieutenant colonel when Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 mandating joint military operations and he had many questions and concerns at that time.
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know what ‘joint’ is, but I need some,” Pace said, drawing laughter from his audience.
During his initial joint command assignment, in Korea, Pace said he got his first real sense of the high caliber and capabilities of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as his own Marine Corps.
But the U.S. military’s move toward jointness didn’t happen overnight, he told the group. It took letting go of a service-centric mentality to embrace other services’ strengths and capabilities. It also required developing a sense of trust between the services.
“Once all of us learned to trust each other, then things started to happen really quickly,” he said.
In fact, Pace said commanders started to realize that by looking across the broad spectrum of military capabilities, not just their own services’, they could be more effective. “They were able to give much more support to those who needed it most,” he said.
Applying that concept on the battlefield “took a lot of trust and a leap of faith,” Pace acknowledged, “but once we tried it out, we really liked it.”
Joint warfighting “makes for victory much sooner,” Pace said.
He pointed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the speed in which the military was able to close in on Baghdad. “It took three weeks, which was incredibly fast, and could not have been done if we had not had a joint command that was allocating resources for everything--and the Marines on the right, the Army on the left, and all kinds of airplanes up above, all fighting together to get to Baghdad,” he said.
“It took 20 years…to get to the point that we truly appreciate the strength of jointness,” Pace said.
The chairman encouraged the Colombian officers to strive to develop trust in each other and each others’ services so they, too, can benefit from the advantages of jointness.
“I encourage you to get trust right now in the schools, apply that trust on the battlefield and allow the senior people wearing the various color uniforms to allocate those resources where they are needed,” he said.