The Goldwater-Nichols Act helped streamline and strengthen the U.S. military-but in stifling service-branch advocacy, has it thrown out the baby with the bathwater ?
At some point, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will come to an end, or at the very least, they will cease to be theaters of major combat operations for U.S. forces. That point may come before the next presidential election, and great questions inevitably will arise as massive amounts of military force are redeployed to continental garrisons. To what extent will the Army and Marine Corps recapitalize after ten-plus years of war ? Will there be another "peace dividend," one that will help defray the cost of physical and social infrastructure investments here at home ? If so, how deep will the cuts be ? And finally - and perhaps most important - what will the grand strategy of the United States be in the PWOT (post-war on terrorism) world ? These questions are obviously difficult ones, and they are just as obviously thoroughly interconnected. An insidious problem, however, is lurking in the shadows of the Pentagon, one that will likely render its ability to deliver wise advice to the President questionable. That problem is jointness, and its impact on the future of our country must be considered.