Defense Secretariat Reform
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
The immediate post-World War II period was a turning point for the defense establishment. A confluence of circumstances propelled transformations that will continue into the 21st century. The National Security Act of 1947 began a process of unification. President Harry Truman named General George Marshall to be Secretary of Defense and upheld civil supremacy over the military by relieving General Douglas MacArthur. And the onset of the Cold War initiated the evolution of the multilayered defense bureaucracy which still thrives today. Fifty years later, however, there is a consensus that additional reform is needed to ensure national security. The Commission on Roles and Missions, Quadrennial Defense Review, Defense Reform Initiative, and National Defense Panel called for revamping the Department of Defense. This article argues that reform must extend to the defense and service secretariats, that is, to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the subcabinet level offices of the three service secretaries. Such reform is not only advisable for fiscal reasons, it is the next step in the process of unification that began in 1947. It is critical for maintaining civilian supremacy and reversing the deterioration of this traditional role into the modern and less efficient concept of civilian control.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations