Pace Calls on Congress to Help Government Agencies Work Together
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2007 Cooperation among government agencies is crucial for success in the war on terrorism, the top U.S. general told members of Congress today.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to look at ways to help the military work more closely with other U.S. government agencies.
The general said “impediments” are standing in the way of smooth operations among U.S. government agencies.
Pace has often said the military cannot win the war on terror alone.
The war on terror requires contributions from civilian employees of many other Cabinet departments, including Education, Justice, Treasury and Commerce. “We need as a nation to be able to harness all of the elements of our national power as we move forward for the next decades in fighting terrorism,” Pace said in 2004.
Pace recommended a year ago that Congress look at the interagency process. “We need to find similar ways to encourage interagency expertise,” he said. “Rewarding interagency work experience, education and training will facilitate better synergy between departments,” he said in February 2006. “Likewise, we need and should reward individuals and agencies that rapidly deploy and sustain civilian expertise in tandem with our military. Shared deliberate and crisis planning capacity among our interagency partners will also improve our nation’s readiness for contingencies.”
Congress needs to particularly look at the way the military and the State Department work together and with allies, Pace said today. “We need to look at how we have authorized our military and State Department to work with our partners,” he said.
The general said interagency partners need to find “impediments to effective and efficient assistance and work with the Congress to overcome them.”
Pace, testifying along with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on the president’s defense budget request, also told the senators that the U.S. government needs to look at “the expeditionary capabilities of other parts of our government,” besides those of the U.S. military.
Pace held up the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 as an example of legislation that has had a lasting positive impact on making the government work better. “We should take a good hard look at our interagency effectiveness and take a look at, for example, the empowerment that the Goldwater-Nichols Act gave us in jointness in the military,” he said.
The act forced the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to work together. “(We need to) see which if any of those kind of ideas would help us (be) more effective and efficient in the way we operate in the interagency here in D.C. and across the planet,” he said.
This will be needed because the world is a complex place with many potential problem areas, the general said. “As you look out across the globe for the next 12 months or so, it’s hard to see where the demand (for U.S. military assets) is going to diminish,” he said.
Pace made a figurative trip around the world naming potential flashpoints. “Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Colombia, Venezuela, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, and back around to Pakistan, and I’m sure I missed a few. But there are multiple challenges out there for our armed forces,” he said.
The number of potential trouble spots solidifies the need for more troops, the general said. Such worldwide demands also solidify the need for more mid-grade NCOs and officers, “because those are the ones we depend on heavily to help train and equip our partners.”
Pace used the opportunity of his congressional testimony to thank the troops and their families. “They are just magnificent,” he said. “We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and I’m proud to represent them in front of you this morning.”
Pace also thanked employers of reserve-component personnel. He said reservists “are key members of our team, and we recognize that they are also key parts of business teams.” He said DoD appreciates employers’ patience and support as their employees perform their duties for the nation.