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Jointness, defense transformation, and the need for a new joint warfare profession.

"Skilled officers, like all other professional men, are products of continuous and laborious study, training, and experience. There is no shortcut to the peculiar type of knowledge and ability they must possess. Trained officers constitute the most vitally essential element in modern war, and the only one that under no circumstance can be improvised or extemporized."

--Douglas MacArthur, May 1932

"How can I be a professional, if there is no profession?"

--A field grade officer, 2001

This article reviews the evolution toward jointness since the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986, (1) relates that progress to the newer initiative of defense transformation, and derives a need for a new joint warfare profession. What has been meant by "jointness," however, is not agreed; it is not a term in the Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. In this analysis the term is used to mean the effective integration of the combat capabilities of the services, America's warfighting professions. The evolution of this "effective integration," as well as the mindset among military officers who facilitate it, has progressed unevenly since 1986. There have been clear evolutionary successes in some areas and a consistent lack of progress in others.

Evolutionary success in attaining jointness has been manifested perhaps most clearly in the execution of joint warfare--America now fights wars almost solely under joint commands. Most recently and vividly this was seen by the integration of combat effects in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, there have been other, less visible successes in the global war on terrorism. There also have been less pronounced but consistent successes toward jointness made in peacetime--the steady evolution in joint doctrine and exercises, for one example.

But it is also the case that jointness has failed to evolve in other areas in which it was anticipated and intended by the framers of the Goldwater-Nichols Act. There are still few standing joint forces ready for joint deployment and employment. (2) Rather, forces are, by and large, still assembled only at the time of deployment. Further, there has been only glacial movement toward joint force training and experimentation and the determination of force requirements based on combatant commanders' warplans. (3)

In other words, while recent decades have shown remarkable improvements in developing warfighting concepts and in planning for and executing joint warfare, they have not shown the same progression, if any at all, in creating truly ready joint forces in peacetime nor in rationalizing the services' future capabilities related to joint warfighting needs.

Why is this the case? Why successful evolution in some areas and evolutionary failure in others? It is certainly not because those personnel assigned to command and staff positions within the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and defense agencies are not solid military professionals deeply steeped in the doctrines and warfighting expertise of their respective services. Nor are those who have cycled through the joint assignments people of bad intent. Quite to the contrary, there are today a few officers who are truly joint in mindset and practice, particularly those who have cycled into the joint arena and then stayed or returned for repetitive joint assignments, notwithstanding the bureaucratic pressures to serve elsewhere. And in them we see a glimpse of the real need for the future.

In this article I will suggest that the uneven evolution toward jointness is symptomatic of a deeper problem, one that is systemic--simply stated, there has been no evolution toward a joint warfare profession. Instead, such evolution has been constrained by the intent and language of the original Goldwater-Nichols Act: "to establish policies, procedures and practices for the effective management of officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps on active duty who are particularly educated, trained in, and oriented toward joint matters." (4) Thus the joint community has not evolved, at any point in time, beyond a collection of "borrowed military manpower" determined by bureaucratic selection and assignment procedures. These officers serve their roughly 2.6-year average tour as a joint specialty officer mindful that such is needed to earn credit for advancement within their own professions.

Other than growing in size and bureaucratic procedures, this management of officers assigned to joint duty has evolved little since the initial implementation in the early years after 1986. Such a management approach, hoping as it does to establish jointness by the cultural interpenetration gained from brief-educational and joint duty assignments, will accomplish no more in the future than it has in the past 16 years.

Clearly, what this approach has not developed is "joint warfare professionals" in the sense that they are: (1) military and civilian professionals deeply schooled in a unique and necessary body of expert knowledge and its practice, and (2) collective members of an esteemed profession who respond with moral commitment to a "calling" to that knowledge and its adaptation and practice in service to the nation.

Further, the lack of a joint warfare profession is now critically damaging to the intended defense transformation. In the words of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "The [defense transformation] outcome we must achieve [is]: fundamentally joint, network-centric, distributed forces capable of rapid decision superiority and massed effects across the battlespace" (5) (italics added). Such transformation is, and will continue to be, completely dependent on resolving this systemic personnel issue that precludes the emergence of a new, joint warfare profession.

Rightly understood, military transformation is less about emerging technologies, hardware, and software, and far more about the mindset of military and civilian DOD professionals, the vision and commitment they carry within their professions, and the service those professions render to the American people. The exploding contemporary literature on how militaries change, much of it financed by DOD itself, has made this point with resounding clarity. Military institutions do not transform, people do; and in so doing, they transform the institution. (6)

This fact apparently is not recognized by the Department of Defense, however--witness the recently published Transformation Planning Guidance (April 2003), which scarcely mentions the human aspects of military transformation. It does note the need to create "a culture that supports transformation founded on leaders who are innately joint and comfortable with change" (7) (italics added). Unfortunately, it does not recognize that culture as a professional culture, and other than directing a review of joint education, there is no transformation guidance whatsoever for the human development of military and civilian professionals within the joint warfare community.

What is needed for the future is a fundamentally different approach to developing the human dimension of jointness--an approach that recognizes and fosters the professional character of the existing warfighting professions while establishing the additional, new profession needed for modern joint warfare: a new joint warfare profession serving under the Chairman, the combatant commanders, and joint agencies.

A New Joint Warfare Profession

If Secretary Rumsfeld would approach defense transformation seeking to increase the expertise and the professional character of the joint community, he should view the community as a joint warfare profession, rather than a bureaucracy of borrowed personnel, and design policies to treat it, and the professionals within it, as such. Based on this community's unique and necessary contribution to the future of joint warfare, he should then seek from Congress, through a Goldwater-Nichols II legislation, authority to:

* Create a new Joint Warfare Profession with full authority over its own internal jurisdictions for the creation and adaptation of the profession's expert knowledge, and for the development and utilization of joint professionals. All professions, if they survive over time, maintain these two internal jurisdictions, including America's current warfighting professions: army, maritime, and air-space. (8)

* Create a Joint Doctrine and Education Command within the new profession for the creation and adaptation of the profession's expert knowledge. The challenge here is bounding and prioritizing the new profession's expert knowledge, rationalizing it with the knowledge maps of the current warfighting professions, and developing professional institutions to ensure its continued adaptation and use in professional development. Fortunately, many such institutions already exist, at least in name, but they remain ill-focused on the expert knowledge required of the new profession.

* Create a Joint Personnel Command with authority to manage the careers of all members of the joint profession, including selection, evaluation, assignment, promotion, and professional development. Once accepted into the new profession, the members would stay until retirement, except for short, periodic returns to their original professions to be renewed in service capabilities.

The new profession should be a lateral entry profession, with military officers entering as majors and DOD civilians entering at rank or expertise equivalents. Ultimately the profession should encompass the roughly 9,000 billets of the current Joint Duty Assignment List, though it should be established initially below that level and expand as the members mature in expertise. Once the profession is filled, its members would serve, as today, within all of the joint command structures and defense agencies.

The two commands mentioned above--the Joint Doctrine and Education Command and the Joint Personnel Command--would be responsible for the members' professional development and career management through the rank of brigadier general. All positions within the joint community from major general to general, and civilian equivalents, would remain nominative and competitive for civilians and general officers from all professions within DOD, including the new joint warfare profession. Thus, the influence and expert knowledge of the warfighting professions would continue to be felt largely as they are today, through the careful selection of those professionals seeking to serve in the new profession (at the point of lateral entry), and by the selection of those to serve at the top three ranks within the new profession, those strategic leaders who can meld together the best from each profession they represent.

The sections that follow explain in more detail the rationale for such a Goldwater-Nichols II legislative request that would directly address this systemic problem. They present six separate but quite interrelated arguments to establish a new joint warfare profession.

First: Better than a military bureaucracy, a new joint warfare profession would uniquely create the expert knowledge and human expertise to fight modern warfare jointly and thus develop, in Secretary Rumsfeld's words, professionals who are "'innately joint." (9)

The changing nature of modern warfare has been caused both by America's role in the post-Cold War world and by major advances in technology. (10) This new character has brought with it the addition of new fields of expert knowledge for military professionals and new forms of human expertise to be practiced by them on behalf of their client, the American people. However, by their very character, bureaucracies normally do not create expert knowledge, nor do they invest in their "employees" in ways and within relationships that create, sustain, and adapt human expertise.

Simply contrasted, bureaucracies focus on the efficiency of repetitive, routine operations using non-expert knowledge applied through a variety of means of which humans are only one, and quite often not the most important one. In contrast, professions focus on effectiveness in non-routine applications of expert knowledge (every patient has a different chemistry, every legal case its unique facts, and every conflict has its unique forces, history, and causes) applied mainly by humans deeply developed by schooling and experience and applying their expertise through a variety of means, perhaps the most important of which is the repetitive exercise of discretionary human judgments. (11) More so than bureaucracies, professions also have a moral relationship (and obligation) with their trusting client, and thus are often characterized by their professional ethos.

Given this understanding, it follows that the new expert knowledge inherent in, and necessary for, the conduct of modern joint warfare and the "better peace" that must follow it will best be developed and adapted to changing needs by a dedicated corps of individuals, military and civilian, each called to the organization by its unique service to society and then remaining there for the reminder of their active service. These experts would serve within a career relationship that fosters their development and practice, individually and collectively, thereby enhancing the organization's service to society. Such a situation as described is, in fact, a vocational profession, not a bureaucracy filled with a collection of ever-changing, borrowed personnel as has been the case in the joint community for the past 16 years.

Second: There is now a recognized and necessary field of expert knowledge at the nexus of the technical and the operational--the joint command and control of operational forces in planning and conducting all phases of modern joint and combined warfare.

Military officers no longer question that America's armed forces will fight under joint command; that has been resolved, as noted earlier, with the gradual implementation of the intentions of the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Thus, in recent years war planning at the operational level, both deliberate and contingent, has become and will remain within the joint domain. Some might even argue that the same is true at the strategic level, since the two have become so indistinguishable in recent operations.

Neither is it questioned that emerging joint command structures are creating common architectures for the integration of communications, intelligence, and command and control functions to knit together the effects of assigned forces and supporting agencies. Thus, the new expert knowledge, drawing from both the technical and operational, is essentially a newer form of traditional command and control, the command and staff functions in both planning and execution that allow joint commanders the decisional superiority (faster, better informed) to provide synergistic integration of service capabilities and effects. But this is now done simultaneously at multiple levels of joint command, from headquarters distributed over vast regions, networked together with assigned elements of the warfighting professions by the creation of common operational awareness of the battlefields via the emerging architectures.

These structures allow joint commanders to fight under operational concepts that are themselves increasingly joint in origin and which require for successful execution capabilities drawn not only from the warfighting professions but also from beyond the Department of Defense. Two vivid, recent examples of such integration occurred in the US Joint Forces Command's "Millennium Challenge '02" exercise and simulation, and in the conduct of the joint warfighting phases of the war in Iraq.

It appears that this new expertise, unfortunately known in the jargon as "joint C4ISR," is evolving largely outside the current maps of expert knowledge of the warfighting professions. (12) This should not be surprising, and in fact is most desirable. Of course, the maps of expert knowledge will always overlap to some degree, as is necessary for the redundancy required for success in high-risk ventures such as war. But in the main, the current evolution is progressing outside the traditional knowledge domains of the established professions.

Logically, this newer expert knowledge of, and the expertise for, integrating the effects of the warfighting professions--blending military means with the other coercive means of power--should have been established first. Such knowledge and expertise has to be considered "logically prior" to that of the warfighting professions and supporting agencies. Without such knowledge and expertise manifested in the forms of the C4ISR architectures, joint operational concepts, and adaptable warplans, how can the warfighting professions and supporting agencies possibly know how to plan for their own future capabilities?

This has been one of the most pronounced problems in the overall evolution toward jointness since 1986, as the services have resisted for years the development of operational concepts and capabilities that were at variance to their parochial interests. (13) But the Defense Department is now at a critical point--a critical mass of new expert knowledge and architecture or structure for its application has evolved. It is now clear that future wars will be fought and the better peace gained under these new concepts, procedures, and architectures.

Thus the time is right to establish a permanent cadre of professionals--the joint warfare profession--to become the dedicated stewards of that developing knowledge and expertise and, in turn, to develop the future corps who will apply it in the years and decades ahead.

Third: A new joint warfare profession will improve civil-military relations by enhancing civilian control over the jurisdictional competitions of America's military professions.

Contrary to earlier theories, professions are increasingly understood as existing within a system of occupational groups, each of which establishes control over its knowledge, status, and resources in order to engage in intense competitions with other groups for the legitimacy to provide services to the clients. (14) These competitions occur within what are called jurisdictions which, as the central phenomena of modern professional life, link the profession and its work. These competitions are generally fought on the basis of the abstractions from the profession's expert knowledge that allow it to define the client's needs in ways treatable by the profession's own practical expertise. Such successful treatment would then legitimize the profession's claim over future work within that jurisdiction; unsuccessful competition, on the other hand, could lead to the demise, or even death, of the occupational group as a profession.

Today, America's warfighting professions compete intensely (and have for decades, the competition understood bureaucratically as "inter-service rivalry") in the following four jurisdictions: conventional war, unconventional war, operations other than war, and homeland security. (During the Cold War there was also an intense competition over the jurisdiction of nuclear warfare.) Increasingly, within some of these jurisdictions the competitors include private companies, foreign and allied militaries, and international and nongovernmental organizations. The competitions are engaged primarily on the basis of specific operational concepts, abstracted from the military-technical expert knowledge of each occupation or profession. For example, within the conventional and unconventional jurisdictions, the Army would provide deep fires or strikes under an operational concept that employed attack helicopters, land-based ATACM missiles, or special operations forces; the Navy by a concept employing sea-based tactical aircraft or missiles; and the Air Force by a concept employing land-based tactical aircraft or strategic bombers. Such competitions can be resolved in a number of ways: one profession gains full and final claim over the jurisdiction at the expense of all others, or they share the jurisdiction, divide it, etc. (15)

Given this understanding, the creation of a new joint warfare profession would not only increase the number of competitors, but more importantly would expand the range of concepts and perspectives brought to each competition. Since these competitions are adjudicated by the civilian leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Congress primarily through the allocation of resources, such expanded competitions among additional competitors--more narrowly and deeply defined professions with rationalized maps of expert knowledge--will provide for increased civilian control via the presentation of expanded and more definitive alternatives from which to choose.

Fourth: Modern public-sector professions do not just emerge; within DOD they will need to be established and legitimized by overt political actions such as the recommended Goldwater-Nichols II type of legislation.

This reason is straightforward. Entry into the competition among occupational groups as it occurs in the private sector is quite different from that which occurs in the public sector, and particularly within the Department of Defense. In the private sector, occupational groups can go after professional work whenever they believe their form of work potentially meets the needs of the client. As practitioners of an alternative medicine, for example, acupuncturists initially pursued their own niche in pain management, before their expert knowledge was eventually included within that of the professional medical community. While some jurisdictions are regulated by associational, educational, or licensing barriers (e.g., medicine and law), there are still generally fewer barriers to entry in the private sector.

In the public sector, however, and particularly within the Department of Defense, the government holds much more client power. In essence, the government determines in advance what occupational groups may compete. And while the trend in recent decades has been for the US government to open the competitions for selected areas of work to competition by more and more groups, "out-sourcing" so to speak, it has not done the same thing for the critical provision of the nation's own expert warfighting capabilities. Military institutions still are established by law. Thus, the only way in which a new joint military profession will emerge is for it to be founded by Congress in the statutes that govern the Department of Defense.

Fifth: There are immense benefits to the current warfighting professions--at least a two-thirds reduction in the annual flow-through of service officers going to and from joint assignments.

This reason has both quantitative and qualitative aspects. First, let's look at the bare bones of the quantitative aspect (much more of which will be covered under the next, and last, reason).

Under the system of joint officer management established by the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the current number of positions to be filled by officers drawn from the warfighting professions (the Joint Duty Assignment List or JDAL), with each position coded by rank and specialty, is 8,932. (6) Of these, 737 are on the Joint Staff; the remainder are in other joint duty assignments on the staffs of combatant and functional commanders. (Many additional officers serve within the joint community, particularly in the joint agencies, whose assignment positions have not merited inclusion within the JDAL. Thus the following discussion of the impact on the warfighting professions caused by this drain of "borrowed" professionals is considerably understated by focusing only on the JDAL.)

Looking at the opportunity costs to just one service, the Army provides at any point in time 3,030 officers, or 34 percent, of the total JDAL. Thus, given an average tour length of 2.6 years, the Army provides roughly 1,180 officers in the ranks of major through general officer each year. And these are, in keeping with the provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, solidly competitive officers, at least as competitive as those remaining in the Army.

Qualitatively there are two impacts on the Army profession from these assignments, one on the individual professionals themselves, and the other on the institution and its developmental systems for producing future professionals. For the individuals, the issue is that of "career," closely related as it is to the sense of "calling" that professionals have for their work and service. As Andrew Abbott has noted,
 The idea of career--that is, the idea of a single occupational skill
 or identity characterizing individuals for their entire working
 lives--is probably the most central single constituent of the idea
 of profession as it emerged in the 19th century ... and more
 importantly for the present case is the fact that the development of
 formally patterned careers is the Army's chief mechanism for
 reconciling the demands of its dual nature as an organization
 [bureaucracy] and a profession. (17)

In other words, Army officers tolerate over the long term the bureaucratic aspects of service life in order to be fulfilled by the professional aspects, e.g., accepting orders to Korea for an unaccompanied short tour (keeping tour equity within the assignment bureaucracy) because it offers the opportunity for intense professional development and service within a critical theater recently brought to a wartime posture.

But there is a tipping-point where the bureaucratic demands of a career pattern can be perceived to outweigh the professional satisfactions. Such occurred0 to the Army junior officers in the late 1990s, causing a major exodus of captains. "Career satisfaction" was usually the first or second item listed in the many empirical studies that attempted to analyze the causes of the exodus and why the "stayers" remained. Insofar as they could be isolated, contributing factors to career dissatisfaction, and ultimately to career decisions, included: time away from family due to the high operations tempo, micromanagement within the systems of the field army (the "PowerPoint Army"), and rigid, inflexible assignment systems that left little room for individual choice in professional development. (18) This last factor, which becomes even more important in the early field-grade years (major) when the officer is assuming more responsibility for his or her own professional development, is clearly exacerbated by the addition of a three-year joint duty assignment. There simply is not enough time for majors to fit it all in.

Recent research has shown that a majority of Army field-grade officers have accepted the necessity for "radical change in their approach to warfare," implying that they must gain new expert knowledge and expertise. (19) But it also shows that they are keenly aware of the very limited time available to fulfill their responsibilities as professionals to develop this new expertise, both in terms of general leadership abilities and the technical competencies of their specific branch. (20) Thus, career, and therefore personal, satisfaction for these professionals is in increasing jeopardy as Army majors must choose between a joint assignment which is desirable for future competitiveness and a branch qualifying position which is immediately needed in preparation for the next deployment and subsequent competitiveness within the core of their chosen profession.

Turning to the second impact--i.e., the opportunity costs to the Army profession of sending 1,180 officers to joint assignments each year--one critical place to look is at the institution's professional schoolhouses and doctrinal centers. They are practically devoid of ex-battalion and brigade commanders teaching the Army's future professionals. Why is this so? It is largely because the professionals borrowed to fill JDAL-designated positions constitute between 20 and 24 percent of each Army branch's most deeply committed and developed field-grade officers, those who have chosen to remain in the "operational" career field of each combat, combat support, and combat service support branch. (21) As the branches allocate their remaining officers, particularly in a period of very high operations tempo, the field army takes priority, of necessity. Thus, the "institutional Army"--the schoolhouses, doctrinal centers, and training centers--suffers most of the shortfall.

Unfortunately, today the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the single institution responsible for all the Army's doctrinal development, training development, and professional education, is able to do far less than in the past when it was the engine for the professional redevelopment of the Army after the Vietnam War. In recent years, TRADOC has had to turn to contracted civilian firms to do what Army professionals had formerly done. Perhaps the most telling example is the fact that TRADOC recently contracted out the development of the curriculum for the professional education of Army majors at Ft. Leavenworth. In essence, the Army as profession has had to loosen its controls over its critical internal jurisdictions, those where its expertise is developed and adapted.

Before the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986, the received wisdom for junior Army officers from their branch leaders was to spend their career either "leading troops in the field army, studying as a student in a branch schoolhouse, or teaching there the future officers of the branch." Allowing for some obviously parochial bias, the wisdom nonetheless quite accurately conveyed one of the central tenets of any successful profession's culture, military or otherwise--aspiring professionals must be deeply involved over their career in supporting the profession's critical internal jurisdictions, those two activities in which it develops and adapts its expert knowledge and where it embeds that knowledge into future professionals, preparing them for their individual and collective practices. Without such attention, professions quickly lose their ability to compete effectively in their external jurisdictions, as already described in reason three above.

So, if a new joint military profession is established, how much will these immense opportunity costs be reduced? The answer depends on a number of factors, including at what rank military officers laterally enter into the new profession, how long they may remain on active duty, what career model is used to design the new profession, and so forth. (22) But, assuming they enter as majors and can be promoted to brigadier general within the new profession, that they can remain on active duty through 35 to 40 years of active service, and that the career model used is one that focuses on the utilization of the specialized competencies that compose the expert work of the new profession, it is clear that each year the services would be sending only a very small fraction, indeed, less than a third, of the officers they have borrowed from their professions today.

Sixth: The bureaucratic management procedures established under Goldwater-Nichols I have demonstrated their inability ever to produce Secretary Rumsfeld's "innately joint" officers.

To understand this reason, we must revisit briefly the original idea of creating "jointness" via congressionally mandated policies for "joint officer management" (Title IV of the Goldwater-Nichols Act). The principal congressional findings held that the quality of officer personnel assigned to the joint arena was inadequate--the best officers stayed in their services, there was little incentive to go joint, and service practices and priorities, if continued without alteration, would never address this issue.

Thus with the intent of enhancing the quality, stability, and experience of officers in joint assignments, which, in turn, would improve the performance and effectiveness of joint organizations, Congress created a detailed system of joint officer management, including assignment policies, promotion objectives, and educational and experience requirements. Keys to supporting the spirit and intent of Title IV were to be the sharing of quality officers with the joint community and not placing those officers at a disadvantage when they returned to their service.

Title IV has turned out to be one of the most contentious aspects of the Goldwater-Nichols Act simply because it has never produced the results anticipated by the Congress. As a result there have been numerous studies and reports over the years by a vast array of agencies and institutions recommending tweaks to either the legislation or its implementation by the services and the joint community. One of the most thorough of those reviews was completed in 1996 when experts from the RAND Corporation undertook a detailed review of both the supply and demand sides of this personnel issue. (23) Reading through their three reports, as well as many others, one is struck by the degree to which Admiral William Crowe was absolutely right when he foresaw, as the legislation was being created: "The detailed legislation that mandated every aspect of the 'Joint Corps' from the selection process and the number of billets to promotion requirements was ... a serious mistake that threatened a horrendous case of congressional micro-management." (24)

Currently, many management problems remain unsolved even after 16 years of implementation, studies, analysis, and legislative changes. Morale problems remain within the joint community because only a limited number of positions may be designated on the JDAL and these are unevenly allocated across the community, slighting the joint agencies; many of the highest quality officers still do not experience joint duty until they are flag-selected; too many officers arrive at their first joint duty assignment without having completed the requisite educational requirements; the services have not created, nor does it appear that they will create, sufficient numbers of joint specialty officers with the right skills to fill the designated "critical" billets (which because of this have been reduced recently from the original 1,000 to 800); and few officers ever return to joint duty, an insufficient number to be deepening the expertise of the "joint corps."

Thus it is not an overstatement to say that the average service officer now reluctantly spends from six months to a year in joint professional military education to serve two-plus years in a JDAL-designated position and then exits the joint community, never to return.

In sum, these facts portray a situation wherein the intent of Title IV of the Goldwater-Nichols Act has never been met, nor can anyone point to the time in the future when it will be met nor the mechanisms by which this will happen.

Though well intentioned, the framers of the act failed to understand that socialization and professionalization, while similar, are in fact two different processes. While seeking to professionalize the role of the joint officer, they actually created a set of personnel management routines that can at best produce only an officer mildly socialized to joint affairs. Even one of the most involved and astute participants in this long history has recently concluded, "Congress had hoped that DOD, after several years of implementing Title IV, would develop a better approach to joint officer management. That has not occurred." (25)

A Better Approach to Jointness and Defense Transformation

The argument made here is that "jointness," both in mindset and in practice, will best be realized in the future, and the desired defense transformation best pursued, if a new joint warfare profession is created. This necessitates a Goldwater-Nichols II type legislation. Six arguments have been presented from the perspective that military institutions are both profession and bureaucracy, but the evolution of expert knowledge and human expertise flows primarily from the individual motivations and means of social control--a relationship of trust--found within successful, competitive professions. Thus the challenge for the Secretary of Defense is to ensure that his policies are, in every decision and at every level, leveraging current military organizations toward their professional character and away from their bureaucratic character.

It also appears likely that, with further research, this line of reasoning may well be extended to recommend the addition of other new professions, both within and beyond the Department of Defense. In this proposal the joint warfare profession is proposed as a lateral-entry profession within DOD, composed of both military and civilian members from the services. A second new profession, also within DOD, might well be a special operations profession. And some scholars have argued for several years that there is also an occupational grouping of professionals at the national security level, both within DOD and beyond in the executive interagency and Congress, which exhibits many characteristics of a profession, an occupation socially organized for the development of the expert knowledge of "national security policymaking" and its applications. (26)

But for now, the most urgent and apt place to start is within the Department of Defense with the new joint warfare profession. What is not needed at this critical moment, as some have suggested, is to push jointness lower into the force structure and knowledge maps of the warfighting professions. That would only confuse the necessary but very different fields of expert knowledge in the services and exacerbate the problem of junior field grade officers who "can't fit it all in" by imposing such requirements on an even larger population. Rather, the better approach is to deepen jointness right where a long, uneven evolution has finally created a new expertise. Now is the time, by the rapid establishment of a new joint warfare profession, to make permanent that corps of professionals who will be responsible to the Republic for the successful conduct of modern joint warfare.


Research for this article was conducted under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Project: Beyond Goldwater-Nichols. As with all Parameters articles, the views expressed are solely those of the author.

(1.) For an excellent, short overview of the evolution, see James R. Locher, "Has it worked?: The Goldwater Nichols Reorganization Act," Naval War College Review, 54 (Autumn 2001), 95-105.

(2.) The obvious exception to this generalization is the special operations forces under the unified Special Operations Command.

(3.) Douglas A. MacGregor, "The Joint Force: A Decade, No Progress," Joint Force Quarterly, No. 27 (Winter 2000-2001), pp. 18-23.

(4.) US Congress, House, Committee of Conference on Report (H.R. 99-824), Conference Report on H.R. 3622, 99th Cong., 2d sess., 12 September 1986, Title IV, Section 401, ch. 38, sec. 661(a).

(5.) Donald H. Rumsfeld, Transformation Planning Guidance (Washington: Office of the Secretary of Defense, April 2003), "Secretary's Foreword," p. 1, document_129_Transformation_Planning_Guidance_April 2003_1.pdf.

(6.) The best place to start in this immense literature remains Stephen Peter Rosen, Winning the Next War: Innovation and the Modern Military (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1991).

(7.) Rumsfeld, p. 21.

(8.) For a description of the services as military professions, their fields of expert knowledge, and competitive jurisdictions, see Chapter 1 of Don M. Snider, Gayle L. Watkins, and Lloyd J. Matthews, eds., The Future of the Army Profession (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002), pp. 3-18.

(9.) For greater detail on the critical differences between professions and bureaucracies and the inherent tensions within the current warfighting professions, which have characteristics of both, see Chapters 1,2, and 24 of Snider, Watkins, and Matthews.

(10.) For a brief introduction to post-Cold War, modern war, see Chapter 1 of Wesley K Clark, Waging Modern War (New York: Public Affairs Press, 2001), pp. 1-28.

(11.) Don M. Snider, "Officership: The Professional Practice," Military Review, 83 (January-February 2003), 3-8.

(12.) For an approach to mapping the expert knowledge of the military professions, see Richard Lacquement, "Strategic Leadership of the Army Profession for the 21st Century," forthcoming, US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, Carlisle, Pa., 2003. The acronym C4ISR stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

(13.) For one such argument, see MacGregor.

(14.) This argument draws heavily from Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of Andrew Abbott, The System of Professions (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988).

(15.) For a current review of the status of the Army profession's competitions, see James Blackwell, "Professionalism and Army Doctrine: A Losing Battle?" and Elizabeth A. Stanley-Mitchell, "The Digital Battlefield: What Army Transformation Efforts Say about Its Future Professional Jurisdiction," Chapters 6 and 7 in Snider, Watkins, and Matthews.

(16.) US Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress, 2002 (Washington: GPO, 2003), Appendix E.

(17.) Andrew Abbott, "The Army and the Theory of Professions," Chapter 24 in Snider, Watkins, and Matthews., p. 531.

(18.) Michael Matthews and John R. Hyatt, "Factors Affecting the Career Decisions of Army Captains," Research Report 1760, US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, June 2000.

(19.) See Chapter 8 of Thomas G. Mahnken and James R. FitzSimonds, "The Limits of Transformation: Officer Attitudes Toward the Revolution in Military Affairs," Newport Papers (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College, 2002).

(20.) Gayle Watkins and Randi Cohen, "In their Own Words: Army Officers Discuss their Profession," Chapter 5 in Snider, Watkins, and Matthews.

(21.) Data provided by Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Peterson, doctoral candidate at the RAND University, Santa Monica, Calif., 12 June 2003.

(22.) For a discussion of alternative career designs, see Chapter 3 in Harry J. Thie, Margaret C. Farrell, and Robert Emmerichs, "Interagency and International Assignments and Officer Career Management," a report by RAND, National Defense Research Institute, Santa Monica, Calif., 1999, pp. 8-26.

(23.) James F. Shank, Harry J. Thie, and Margaret C. Harrell, "Identifying and Supporting Joint Duty Assignments, Executive Summary"; "'How Many Can Be Joint: Supporting Joint Duty Assignments"; "Who is Joint? Reevaluating the Joint Duty List," RAND, National Security Research Division, Santa Monica, Calif., 1996.

(24.) William J. Crowe, Jr., The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 158.

(25.) James R. Locher, "Taking Stock of Goldwater-Nichols," Joint Force Quarterly, No. 13 (Autumn 1996), p. 15.

(26.) David W. Tarr and Peter J. Roman, "Army and Joint Professionalism After Goldwater-Nichols: Seeking a Balance," in Snider, Watkins, and Matthews; Peter J. Roman and David W. Tarr, "Military Professionalism and Policymaking," Chapter 11 in Peter Feaver and Richard Kohn, Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001).

Dr. Don M. Snider is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at the US Military Academy, a position he has held since 1998. He earned a doctorate in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, 1993. His military career included three combat tours as an infantryman in Vietnam and, much later, service on the staff of the National Security Council. He retired from the Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in 1990. His current research and publications focus on military innovation and adaptation, American civil-military relations, the roles of the American Army officer, officer development, and military professions.
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Author:Snider, Don M.
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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