Leadership: October 1, 2004

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The U.S. military is urging that U.S. government agencies work together in a "joint" fashion similar to how 1980s Department of Defense reform measures got the military services working together. US government agencies are not often forced to work together but the Joint Chiefs of Staff feel that there would be benefits of "cross-pollination" by getting departments working together similar to the way the DoD did when it was pushed into "jointness." 

The move for greater inter-departmental cooperation is being pushed to foster better operational efficiency for Homeland Defense. In the proposed model, an appointed lead agency or department would have the power to order officials from other agencies to conduct certain tasks a model that has worked well within the military, but has not yet been tried in the civilian sector. An inter-agency coordinator similar to the Joint Chiefs of Staff could help implement anti-terrorist measures faster and better, according to its proponent. In return, cabinet-level departments could be given authority over specific homeland security missions while military combatant commands could provide facilities for communications, meetings, and other support. Senior civilian executives would do a tour of duty outside of their home turf, working at different departments, similar to what the military does when its officers to take a tour outside their service.

Other areas of cooperation would include involving civilian government agencies with Pentagon operational war-planning much sooner than is now the case. There would also be  a joint acquisition effort for the military services. The joint acquisition operation would be responsible for buying certain types of equipment across the services, including command and control equipment and other network-centric technologies. Currently, "Joint" purchases are set up and handled as individual separate project offices. However, the Navy has gone on record as not willing to go as far as subordinating purchases of key hardware such as ships and aircraft. 

After 9/11, a lot of "jointness" went into the Global War on Terrorism, with the CIA, Defense Department, DEA, FBI, and other government agencies working together to track down and stomp out Al Qaeda. Various intelligence "stovepipes" were reorganized so information could be more freely shared and passed along to operational units seeking to capture and kill Al Qaeda operatives. Sometimes it takes a war to get people to work together Doug Mohney

 


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