Dr. Brown paints Service Secretaries, in the terms my father would have used, as “spare gear.”)
To protect military programs, get rid of redundant service secretaries
By Harold Brown
Washington Post, October 19, 2012, Pg. 21
The four military services in the Defense Department differ in their roles, missions and skills — which are good reasons to retain their separate identities. But as the duties of the uniformed service chiefs have converged with those of the civilian secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the latter have become redundant appendages. Eliminating those positions would save money and streamline management, a good example for the rest of government. In today’s climate of fiscal austerity, cutting overhead is better than cutting defense programs.
Phi Beta Iota: Secretary Brown means well, and his idea has merit, but only on the margins. This is a classic example of trying to do the wrong thing better. What the USG really needs is a complete revision to Title 10 that rips acquisition out of the Services, and creates a theater and mission driven requirements process, a joint/coalition design and acquisition process, and an absolutely ruthless operational test & evaluation process that includes the infantry — 4% of the force, 80% of the casualties, 1% of the budget — as the lead voice and vote. The same Title 10 revision should put the M back into the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), rebalance the instruments of national power, and mandate intelligence with integrity as the foundation for ethical evidence-based decisions.