Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White Remarks to NDU Symposium
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
John P. White, Deputy Secretary of Defense
NDU Goldwater-Nichols Symposium, Bolling AFB
December 3, 1996
Thank you for inviting me to speak at your symposium.
Goldwater-Nichols Act is a subject of deep importance to the
Department of Defense.
As someone who served in DOD in the late
70s, and then returned to the Pentagon in the mid-90s, I am
struck by the difference made by the Act during this time period.
From the day I walked back into the building, it was clear that
Goldwater-Nichols had made tremendous changes in the way DOD
operates as an institution.
It was also clear that those changes
were largely for the better in fact, they've been almost all
for the better.
There's just no question that because of
Goldwater-Nichols we are stronger.
We are better at joint
The chain of command is more clear.
The roles of
the CINCs and the Services are clearly enunciated.
and the Secretary are better served by having the Chairman as
their principal military advisor.
The quality of the Joint Staff
is utterly remarkable.
And there is close, effective cooperation
between OSD and the Joint Staff.
We have made great strides from
where we were in the 70s, and Goldwater-Nichols is the principal
As a result, our military institution is stronger and
more versatile, and our nation more secure.
In between my tours at the Pentagon, I also had the
opportunity to participate as a member of the CSIS Defense
Organization Project chaired by Phil Odeen.
This was a precursor
to Goldwater-Nichols whose charter was to propose a pragmatic and
feasible agenda for strengthening the organizations and
procedures through which we establish and execute our defense
I also studied Goldwater-Nichols from my perspective
as Chairman of the Commission on Roles and Missions, the CORM.
Indeed, the CORM's central goal improving DOD's operational
effectiveness was the same as that of Goldwater-Nichols.
CORM's central conclusion was that today our emphasis must be on
molding DOD into a cohesive set of institutions that work toward
a common purpose -- effective unified military operations.
Everything else DOD does from developing doctrine to acquiring
new weapons must support that effort.
taken us far down that road.
But the CORM concluded that we
needed to do even more in order for Goldwater-Nichols to reach
its full potential.
Nothing I have seen as Deputy Secretary in
the last year-and-a-half has dissuaded me from this view.
Indeed, quite the opposite.
Even with the implementation of the
lion's share of the CORM recommendations, more needs to be done.
As a general matter, there is no question in my mind that
the Department needs to continue to change.
The world around us
is changing at a frantic pace.
Our forces and military
operations have changed dramatically to respond to the evolving
security environment -- but they need to change even more.
Consequently, the way we support the warfighter is also changing.
And when you start talking about supporting the warfighter, what
you are really talking about is the relative roles of the key
elements of the Department.
This is the core issue that
This symposium is called a retrospective on Goldwater-
Nichols, but my talk today is going to be more of a
prospective. I want to focus not so much on where we have been
as where we need to go when it comes to supporting joint military
operations -- namely the unified, regional commands.
I want us
to look at all that we do through the prism of Goldwater-Nichols.
How can we realize the full potential of the philosophy
To date, the change brought on by Goldwater-Nichols is most
evident in the way we conduct military operations.
that military operations would be primarily joint operations
under the responsibility of the CINCs, the law fundamentally
changed the way the Department worked.
It made the lines of
command more clear, and the fighting force more effective.
Today, joint operations, once considered a major challenge, are
now the norm whenever our military is called upon to uphold and
defend American interests, whether it is in Panama, the Arabian
Gulf, Haiti, Rwanda or Bosnia.
Our recent operation to evacuate non-combatants from Liberia
is a prime example of jointness at work.
We initially went in
with Air Force planes carrying Army Special Ops Forces and Navy
We then had elements of a Marine Expeditionary Force
relieve the Special Ops Forces.
You have to remember too, that
this was a pick-up game it was come-as-you-are; there was no
time for a lot of advanced planning.
And it was just done
without great fanfare or comment, as if to say, Of course we did
it that way that's what we do. Ten years ago it would have
been front-page news that we could organize and execute this type
of operation, with the newspapers delighting in the intramural
fighting among the Services.
Today, we just did it and the only
questions that came up in the planning were who was where, what
their capabilities were, and whether we could use them.
In fact, every morning, I meet with the Secretary of
Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Vice Chairman.
As we talk about all the various operations that we do, most
recently the issues around Zaire, never once has anyone raised
the issue of what Service gets to do what in order to somehow
share the opportunities.
We have done it all as best we could
based on what we thought were the assets, the requirements and
Of course, that's the way, in my judgment, it ought
And in fact I think it works.
Some critics have said that we have taken jointness too far
in the way we conduct operations; that in Liberia, for instance,
we didn't really need to pull in elements from all those
I would say that is definitely not the case.
In Liberia, we changed the force mix to meet mission
requirements, both there and elsewhere.
Bosnia is another good example of joint operations.
on the ground, is an Army show, and there's no quarrel about that
anywhere in the Pentagon.
But the ground forces have active,
critical support from Air Force and Marine air plus the 6th Fleet
-- all, until last month, under the command of a Navy admiral.
The real genius of Goldwater-Nichols in terms of joint ops
is that it forced us to start doing in the 80s what the strategic
environment of the 90s and beyond absolutely demands.
range of potential security crises we could face means that joint
operations have to be the norm.
Indeed, for almost any conflict
we can imagine, the key to victory will be the synchronized
application of military force from land, sea and air, along with
Thanks to Goldwater-Nichols, no one does this
any better than the US military.
That given, we still need to do
The true vision of Goldwater-Nichols won't be fulfilled
until we have effective cooperation, not just in operations, but
in the way we prepare for and support those operations.
means extending the philosophy that underlies Goldwater-Nichols
to the areas of doctrine and training, requirements and
acquisition, logistics and support, as well as personnel
Let's look at doctrine and training.
The good news is,
there's a lot of progress to report here.
But we still have a
long way to go.
There's a lot of excellent work being done on
joint doctrine by the Joint Warfighting Center and on joint
tactics, techniques and procedures by the Joint Training,
Analysis, and Simulation Center, or JTASC, down in the Tidewater
In terms of sheer volume, we have published close to 70
manuals on joint doctrine, with another 40 in the works.
And, of course, the crowning achievement to date in the
development of joint doctrine is the Chairman's Joint Vision
2010. General Shalikashvili calls this a conceptual template
for moving the entire Armed Forces into the 21st century jointly.
It's a remarkable achievement and a far, far cry from the past
when each of the Services relied on their own visions of the
future almost exclusively to guide their decisions about
These supporting visions of each of the
Services are invaluable, but they are not complete without a
joint warfighting vision that ties them together and defines the
total capability that is needed.
My concern about joint doctrine is that we have done the
easy work, but the hard work is still ahead.
Some of this hard
work has to do with solving today's problems with today's known
capabilities and technology.
There are some real vexing problems
here that just haven't been worked out from a doctrinal
The role of deep attack is a good example.
yet to define mission responsibility clearly.
And we have two
issues that have come up recently because they now have greater
importance than in the past -- force protection and
In both cases, we are not doing enough
and, in both cases, as we turn to implementation, we have to look
to Goldwater-Nichols as a guide for how to allocate
We have to allocate and execute those
responsibilities in this larger context to make sure we do force
protection and counterproliferation correctly.
We are in the
process of doing that.
But, we have not finished yet by a long
One issue that is even further out and harder to deal with
is information operations.
Information operations are very
important, very complicated and, as we are defining it, a very
new set of responsibilities and capabilities.
We need to
understand the CINCs' role, the Joint Staff's role, the Services'
role; we have not done that yet.
That has to be done in terms of
the larger argument about how we are going to play with respect
to these kinds of operations.
There is an added complexity here
because there is a large Intelligence Community-added set of
functions and responsibilities that we also have to include.
we have a lot to do, but we are on the right path.
Even if you accept the premise that we are doing a pretty
good job at developing joint doctrine and again, let me make
clear that I think Joint Vision 2010 is an excellent start you
are still faced with the problem of making that doctrine work in
How do we turn something like Joint Vision 2010 into
For starters, we are improving joint training by increasing
our use of simulation, and by increasing our proficiency as an
integrated team, especially in the area of weapons system
We have also made real progress in training
Joint Task Force Commanders.
But it is less clear that the
warfighting forces themselves have benefited from the same level
of dedicated, routine joint training.
Joint training means more
than a set of theater exercises every year.
It has to mean a new
attitude that focuses on joint operations from the earliest
One of the recommendations of the CORM was that joint
training be fully-funded in DOD's budget and that the CINCs be
given more control over the portions of Service component
training budgets that are integral to joint training.
We are now
well on the way to making this a reality.
The Joint Training
System, which will be fully in place by FY98, will help us
identify the CINCs' joint training requirements and priorities.
And we are committed to increasing funding for the Chairman's
exercise program up to $533 million in 2003.
Beyond funding, we have a number of important activities
underway to improve joint training.
Notable among these is the
work going on at USACOM and its Joint Training, Analysis and
Simulation Center that I mentioned a moment ago.
as the joint force provider is maturing, but needs to take on
greater and greater training responsibilities.
As evidence of
the great start they've had, they have designed a three-tier
system involving training for tactical operations conducted by
the Services, joint field exercises involving troops from more
than one Service, and exercises designed to train joint
commanders and their staffs.
Moreover, USACOM has been
instrumental in developing something called the Universal Joint
What this does is set out all the tasks our military
has to perform to carry out their missions.
It's now accepted
throughout the force as the means for determining who needs to
train for what, so the force will be ready for joint operations
across the full range of missions.
In addition, the joint community, led by the Joint
Warfighting Center and USACOM with collaboration from the
Services, is developing a new set of tools to assist in the
training of our joint warfighters.
Chief among these is the
Joint Simulation System scheduled to come on line at the turn of
This system will allow us to conduct wargames that
are grounded in common principles of joint warfare in a common
virtual environment for our CINCs, Services, war colleges and
eventually our allies.
And it will operate through our real-
world command and control system so we conduct joint training as
routine, without having to move troops and commanders from their
home bases to a central location.
We're also moving forward with
a new system of special criteria to measure the state of joint
USACOM has pioneered with a prototype of this system
that we are planning to enhance so we can have a better, quicker
picture of our readiness to carry out joint operations, and to
spot and correct problems in joint readiness before they happen.
Another key step to turning joint vision into joint reality
is improving the way we develop requirements and acquire systems.
Here again, we have made a lot of progress, but we cannot let up.
Over the past few years, the Joint Requirements Oversight
Council, the JROC, has been given a much stronger role. This has
been enormously beneficial in helping develop a truly joint
perspective on requirements and resources because it brings the
Services together under the leadership of the Vice-Chairman and
makes them actually debate these issues and forge a consensus.
Even in the past 24 months, JROC has evolved a lot, and I think
all the participants are much more comfortable with the whole
The Services are still the primary source of new
"mission needs statements." This is as it should be.
JROC reviews these requirements in a joint context with the
CINCs' warfighting needs as paramount.
And thanks to two dynamic
Vice Chairmen -- Admiral Bill Owens the former VCJCS and General
Joe Ralston the present VCJCS -- the JROC is doing a superb job.
In the old days, there really wasn't a method for getting
the CINCs' input on requirements and resource issues.
CINCs' views are heard in lots of ways.
The CINCs have a major
input to the Chairman's Program Recommendations (CPR) document
which is the Chairman's input to the Defense Planning Guidance.
Through the JROC, they are fully engaged during all phases of the
program review and budget process.
Finally, the CINCs have an
input to the Chairman's Program Assessment (CPA) that is the
Chairman's fiscal input to the Secretary of Defense.
I can tell
you that the Secretary and I are heavily influenced by both the
CPR and the CPA.
There are also the annual Integrated Priority
Lists, and, thanks to Goldwater-Nichols, CINCs also have direct
communication with the Secretary.
And, finally, they participate
in the large number of Joint Warfighting Capability Assessment
studies conducted under the auspices of the JROC.
These changes mean we now have better input from the CINCs
into the requirements and resource allocation process.
mean a stronger role for the Chairman, since he is responsible
for coordinating their views and the views of the Services, while
the role of the Services remain central, as it should.
resulted in better support for joint warfighting needs. The
success of these efforts can be seen in a series of program
adjustments recommended in the past year, such as focusing and
limiting UAV programs, and retiring the EF-111 while making
necessary adjustments in the EA-6B fleet, and most importantly,
the recent Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF, announcement.
The spirit of cooperation engendered by Goldwater-Nichols
has made acquisition reform a real option.
We still have a long
way to go, but all of the goals of acquisition reform are now
Full implementation is one of our most important
And it is inherently a joint challenge.
Secretary and I were talking about this the other day and he
said, You know, this is the third time I've tried this.
it's the first time it's really worked, and in fact it's worked
better than I thought it would three years ago when I began
pushing it. That's because we have a spirit of cooperation in
the Department that we did not have before, where people
recognize the requirement to make these kinds of reforms that are
laid out in acquisition reform.
What the Department needs to do
now is build on and expand cooperative joint acquisition programs
such as the JSF, ballistic missile defense and the various guided
weapon and missile programs being developed jointly such as the
Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and the Joint Direct Attack Munition
Logistics and general support is another key area where we
can do better.
We must make joint logistics capability a more
integral part of our mission planning.
Our goal should be to get
the most combat power to the CINCs as rapidly as possible.
Unfortunately, it is clear that our present lack of a joint
logistics capability results in a lot of inefficiencies.
summer the Defense Science Board compared DOD logistics support
with the commercial sector and found it less efficient in almost
For example, distribution of in-stock items took
nearly a month for DOD -- most commercial companies do it in one
to three days.
The Board did not address the question of joint
logistics capability head-on, but its observations and
recommendations are relevant as we consider ways of improving our
logistics and support system.
Our goal is to achieve a truly joint logistics system.
achieve this goal, we formed a Joint Staff working group to study
ways of integrating the logistics systems of all the Services.
And we are looking at ways to use the tools of the information
revolution to speed integration.
For example, we are currently
developing a Global Command Support System which will become part
of the Global Command and Control System.
This will produce a
super system that will eventually permit users to get
instantaneous logistical information -- everything from spare
parts to personnel -- from any place on the globe.
In the area of general support, we are committed to
revolutionizing how we do business by incorporating modern
business practices and the latest information technology.
think of this revolution in military support as a complement to
the revolution in military affairs.
This revolution is every bit
It involves enhancing the Services' core
capabilities, expanding joint support and the in-theater role of
the CINCs, and relying more heavily on the private sector,
through outsourcing and other forms of cooperation.
We have a
great deal at stake.
Most importantly, improving support for
operations, but also saving billions of dollars that can be
better used for force modernization.
Finally, turning joint vision into joint reality means
assessing our personnel management practices.
One of the most
important contributions of Goldwater-Nichols was to require joint
assignments and inaugurate the concept of the Joint Specialty
Officer, the JSO program.
Overnight, this enhanced the career
value of joint assignments.
As a result, the quality of officers
assigned to joint entities improved dramatically.
Today, as a
general matter, the best officers don't avoid joint tours -- they
fight for them.
I see evidence of this every day as I interact
with officers on the Joint Staff and in OSD.
The quality is far
higher than it was back in the 70s.
But I am skeptical that we are living up to the spirit of
Overall, we have had problems promoting JSOs and other
officers in joint assignments at the rate required by Goldwater-
For FY95, the numbers are particularly good if you look
in the lower ranks, say 0-5 and below.
But those numbers are not
as encouraging when you start getting up to 0-6 and 0-7 ranks.
That has to change to ensure that officers being selected for
flag rank have had a joint tour.
And there are historical
anomalies and inconsistencies in the Joint Duty Assignment List,
Recognizing these problems, Secretary Perry recently
approved the JDAL Validation Board, which will conduct a
systematic review of the entire list to ensure that these joint
billets truly comply with the intent of law and policy.
As joint and combined operations continue to dominate our
work, it is imperative that our top leaders fully understand and
are experienced in joint matters -- even when they are wearing
their Service hats.
But of course, there is a need for balance.
In light of all of the changes in our overall needs now and in
the future, it is time to reassess our career management goals.
Do we have the proper mix of Service and joint experiences from
our officers? Are we developing future officers who will stress
the innovation, flexibility, cooperation and commitment that will
be necessary for victory in combat in the next century?
As we talk about striving to fulfill the potential of
Goldwater-Nichols in these areas operations, doctrine and
training, requirements and acquisition, logistics and support and
personnel management it quickly becomes apparent that we are
fundamentally changing the entire institution.
That is what has
been going on for the last ten years, and it must continue.
One last area that should not avoid our scrutiny is OSD.
OSD is by no means immune from the need for change.
even apart from the Quadrennial Defense Review, we are already
doing a major reassessment of the size and scope of OSD's
responsibilities and considering whether some of its functions
should be devolved back to the Services.
My belief is that the
sole function of OSD should be to serve the Secretary with the
policy advice and information he needs to make decisions.
should not be OSD's role to manage large, sustaining programs.
It should help guide the changes that must be made, not manage
Change we must, change we will.
But what exactly are the
correct changes? That is the question facing the QDR, which we
began in mid-November.
The QDR will be nothing less than a total
reassessment of America's defense strategy, force structure,
military modernization programs and defense infrastructure.
The QDR will provide a blueprint for America's security
strategy well into the next century. To be an effective
blueprint, it is vitally important that the QDR be a fundamental
taking stock, examining every aspect of our defense program:
what we do, why we do it, how we do it, and how we pay for it.
The QDR cannot just go through the motions. The goal is not to
rationalize and protect what we have now.
The goal is to
visualize and pursue what we will need for tomorrow.
is, only if we are willing to consider major, fundamental change
can we transform the Defense Department into a leaner, more
responsive, more flexible organization that can meet the needs of
our military forces into the 21st century.
This means we have to
be willing to question fundamentals on everything from strategy
to acquisition to the relative roles of the CINCs and the
Services. This is the context in which we should consider and
think about the kinds of changes I have mentioned here today to
improve jointness and fulfill the potential of Goldwater-Nichols.
In summary, the changes obtained in joint operations, while
still in need of improvement, must be reflected in all the other
functions we perform in support of such operations.
Improved joint doctrine and more effective joint
training/joint readiness measures;
Better joint requirements definition, fully implementing
acquisition reform and expanded joint programs;
A revolution in logistics and support practices by
developing joint logistics and implementing a revolution in
A reassessment of officer management policies.
Is Goldwater-Nichols a success? So far so good, but we must
continue to build on the momentum of the previous ten years.
Thank you very much.