Expanding Chief of Mission Authority to Produce Unity of Effort
COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FOUNDATION INC FORT LEAVENWORTH KS ARTHUR D SIMONS CENTER
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Both President Obama and Congress recognize that the chief executive needs help integrating the diverse departments and agencies, but their past attempts to improve interagency cooperation have generally failed because they paid insufficient attention to the difficult problem of authority. New positions or organizations are often created with great fanfare and directed to ensure a coordinated response to some particular national security issue -- intelligence, war fighting, reconstruction, or counterterrorism -- only to fail because they lack sufficient authority. Ultimately, the departments and agencies in the national security system see little reason to follow the new organization or individuals lead. At the heart of the problem is the inability to reconcile a desire for a clear chain of command from the President down through the heads of the departments and agencies with the need to empower new mechanisms individuals or organizational constructs with sufficient authority to integrate efforts across the departments and agencies in pursuit of specified national missions. Unity of command down through the functional departments and agencies seems to preclude unity of effort for missions that are intrinsically interagency in nature and cut across those same departments and agencies. In this article we argue that the interagency integration problem can be rectified by expanding the Presidents power to delegate a modified chief of mission authority similar to that granted ambassadors to oversee and direct the activities of employees from diverse government organizations working in a foreign country. The chief of mission model requires modification to work well beyond the bilateral setting of a U.S. embassy, but it does point a way forward to escape the dilemma the current system imposes on Presidents who want unity of effort without sacrificing unified command.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Command, Control and Communications Systems