Pentagon to Look at 1986 Law that Revamped Command Structure

Pentagon to Look at 1986 Law that Revamped Command Structure

The Defense Department is reviewing the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which revamped the military’s organizational structure and streamlined the military chain of command.

“This is something that the secretary feels is important to take a look at the department and the structure right now within the DOD and to make sure that we’re doing things as efficiently as possible,” Peter Cook, Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s press secretary, said Tuesday.

“This is something that he’s initiated here within the department itself, to take a hard look at how things are structured right now. Whether or not things could be done differently in the spirit of Goldwater-Nichols and the changes that resulted from that many years ago,” Cook told reporters.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act, which was intended to fix problems caused by inter-service rivalries, transformed the military’s traditional chain of command by empowering combatant commanders to report directly to the defense secretary, bypassing their service chiefs, reported Army Times.

Lawmakers also have been looking at the landmark legislation through a series of hearings on Capitol Hill this year. Critics say the law has spawned giant bureaucracies at the geographical combatant commands and hampered the department’s efforts to streamline its headquarters structure, according to the story.

The review will include input from the services, the service secretaries and outside experts. It is expected to produce recommendations early next year, Cook said. Carter likely will consider both “initiatives that he can carry out here on his own and things that might require some congressional action,” Cook said.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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