Joint Planning, Education, and Execution
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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After a series of military failures in the early 1980s, Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Two key facets of the legislation were the intent to increase attention to the formulation of strategy and contingency planning, and the implementation of mandatory joint education and training for officers of all services. The legislation helped formalize collaboration between largely autonomous military services. In the sixteen years since the Goldwater-Nichols Act was passed, the Department of Defense has taken steps to implement its provisions. Joint Vision 2020 articulates that the Armed Forces will be fully joint intellectually, operationally, doctrinally and technologically. This paper examines the current two-phased Joint Professional Military Education system adopted by the Army in response to the requirements of the Goldwater-Nichols Act. It determines what the legislation actually said and how the law has been clarified and modified in the years since it was passed. It briefly discusses joint doctrine and examines three recent military operations, Operations Desert Storm, Allied Force, and Anaconda to show the maturation of that doctrine. The Department of Defense is meeting the letter of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, but has been slower to embrace the intent - to improve the interoperability of the services in joint operations. To improve future joint planning and execution, the Department of Defense must encourage officers to serve in multiple joint duty assignments, continue to improve and incorporate joint doctrine, and make joint education beneficial to the officers who attend and their gaining commands.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics