In 1986, against the advice of many admirals, generals, and informed civilians, Congress passed the then highly controversial GoIdwater-Nichols Act (GNA). the most significant reorganization of the Department of Defense since its creation in 1947. The reasons for that law arose from reaction and outrage to a series of military failures and allegations of incompetence in the post-Vietnam era ranging from the disastrous Tehran rescue mission in 1980 to liberate 52 American hostages to paying thousands of dollars for coffee pots and toilet seats. The Pentagon was seen not only as the gang that couldn't shoot straight, it couldn't even buy the goods and services needed for war at reasonable prices.
Today, harsh criticisms and charges of failure have been leveled at the inter-agency process, the means by which the Executive Branch makes, coordinates, and executes policy to protect and defend the nation. To main, this process simply does not work, as post-war Iraq and the Katrina response so vividly demonstrated. One corrective action may well be an expanded version of Goldwater-Nichols, this time for the inter-agency process.