Joint Doctrine Development: Overcoming a Legacy
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Over the past decade jointness has become a paean in the quest to improve the effectiveness of the Armed Forces. Congress emphasized its importance by passing the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which increased the power of the combatant commanders in chief CINCs, made the Chairman the principal military adviser to the National Command Authorities NCA, and assigned him specific responsibilities for strategic planning as well as doctrine and training. In addition, the Joint Chiefs of Staff lost their baronial influence, and the Joint Staff was reoriented to serve the Chairman. Yet this seminal legislation has not overcome all the institutional impediments to effectively employing joint forces. One remaining problem in implementing joint doctrine is caused largely by a flaw in the strategic planning process. The lack of a direct linkage between the strategic direction of forces and operational planning for their actual employment hampers the development of integrated joint doctrine. Because of this disconnect between national military strategy and key joint planning documents, the services have been denied the greatest incentive for embracing joint doctrine. As the Chairman and his various agents exert a more assertive role in doctrinal development and service roles are further subordinated, the unifying effect of joint doctrine will more closely follow the intent of Congress as expressed in the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Contradictions between service and joint doctrine will be resolved and the fundamental purpose of doctrine clarified. While there has been marked progress in developing joint doctrine over the last decade, more needs to be done. Recent initiatives and others under consideration promise to enhance its quality and increase its acceptance.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics