way the United States flexes it muscle through the Military National
Power needs to be transformed. The Department of Defense
(DOD) must transform at its most critical and arguably, hardest
juncture—the joint fight. Some senior DOD officials believe
that the Joint Professional Military Professional Education system
is “about right,” arguing that service core competencies
should be mastered at the junior officer level, while joint operations
should begin at the
intermediate level. Praises for DOD’s latest campaigns,
including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom,
and the Global
War on Terror, indicate how far the services have come in conducting
the joint fight. I believe, however, that the U.S. military must
transform as one unit, not as individually separate services.
In 1986 Congress
passed the Goldwaters-Nichols Act, a mandate for the military
services to collaborate on developing
doctrine.(2) The service chiefs fought the mandate,but without
it, the U.S. military would still be laboring under a stovepiped
and service-oriented system. The National Security Strategy
calls for the United States to continue as a joint venture. We
must educate the services to think joint at the lowest levels.
Service parochialism must not to be a roadblock to Transformation.
The military should eliminate the distinction between commissions
received from the service academies and Reserve Officer Training
Corps (ROTC) and streamline the services. For example, Army administrative
personnel should be able to perform their duties in the same
manner as any other service, and there should be only one standardized
evaluation system for officers of all services. Doing this would
ensure that officers who rise to the top have been evaluated
DOD, as the executive agent of military power, must have three
distinct organizations: land, sea, and air.
Resource constraints, however, demand that the United States
eliminate redundancy and inefficiency. To do this, the United
indoctrinate military employees—uniformed and civilian—into
a capability and effects-based joint force. These force providers
must be joint-oriented, not service-oriented.
The two best
joint fighters today are the Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
and the Marine Corps, which is not
surprising, since neither
is a distinct service. SOCOM is the organizational construct
that the DOD should model to accomplish missions demanding flexible,
responsive capability and effects-based
units. DOD must flatten and streamline modular land, sea, and
air units that rapidly deploy and then integrate them into a
or JTF commander’s warfighting effort. These units must
be organized, trained, and led as joint entities to assure maximum
effectiveness and efficiency.
DOD must adapt
to change or risk extinction, so it must adapt to new warfighting
techniques and the changing mindset of war.
The United States is fighting a determined, resourceful, and
dangerously adaptive enemy. If change does not occur, “doing business
as usual” could affect the balance of power for the next
1. For more
information about Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing, see <www.usni.org/Proceedings/Articles02/proCNO10.htm#seastrike>,
accessed 19 April 2004. For more information about Global Strike,
accessed 19 April 2004.
2. For more
information about the Goldwater-Nichols Act,see <www.apc.maxwell.af.mil/text/excur/goldnich.htm>,
accessed on 19 April 2004.
Major Michael S. Hopkins, U.S. Army, is a Congressional
Fellow for New Jersey Congressman Jim Saxton. He received a B.S.
Middle Tennessee State University and an M.M.A.S from the U.S.
Army Command and General Staff College. He has served in various
command and staff positions in the continental
United States in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Formerly,
he commanded a Special Forces company in Afghanistan.