Carter Proposes Changes to Goldwater-Nichols

The role and authority of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must be clarified because in this “increasingly complex security environment,” the US is “not postured to be as agile as we could be,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Those changes to the 30-year-old Goldwater-Nichols Act include allowing the Chairman to “help synchronize resources globally for daily operations around the world,” to “provide objective military advice for ongoing operations, not just future planning,” and to advise the Secretary on military strategy and operational plans, Carter said. “We need someone in uniform who can look across the services and combatant commands and make objective recommendations to the department’s civilian leadership about where to allocate forces throughout the world and where to apportion risk to achieve maximum benefit for our nation,” and the Chairman is the best person to do that, Carter said. Additionally, he said, the DOD must update combatant commands, to adapt to new functions, and by continuing to “aggressively streamline headquarters.” That adaptation “will include changes to how we manage ourselves in cyberspace,” Carter said, adding that “we should consider changes to cyber’s role in DOD’s unified command plan.” (See previously: Carter: Changes to Goldwater-Nichols Coming.)