Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Article excerpt

CIVILIANS ALSO NEED 'JOINT' TRAINING

Like their military counterparts, top civilian leaders in the national security arena should be required to serve across multiple agencies in order to get promoted, proposed Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The same type of "joint" thinking that the Defense Department is pushing in the military services also is needed among the civilian leadership, Pace said. "You could construct a system on the civilian side ... that to be promoted you have to have a tour in another agency." For example, he said, "if you work for the Defense Department, you have to have a tour in the Department of State, so that we have the opportunity to experience other organizations."

NAVY WILL PUSH TO KEEP 12 AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

Despite rumblings about the Navy possibly downsizing its fleet of aircraft carriers, no cutbacks to carrier strike groups are expected in next year's budget, said Vice Rear Adm. (Sel.) Mark Fitzgerald, the Navy's acting director of warfare plans and requirements.

The Navy is gearing up to defend its current force structure-built around 12 aircraft carriers-in the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, about to get under way at the Pentagon. In the QDR, the Navy will set the stage for building "sea bases" around the carriers, Fitzgerald said. "The carrier is the capstone piece for the QDR ... the capital ship in the hub."

One reason why aircraft carriers may be exposed to budget cuts is that, unlike other ships or aircraft, they don't belong to any single constituency within the Navy. "Carriers don't have a natural home inside the Pentagon," said John Mazach, vice president for business development at Northrop Grumman Newport News.

WHAT'S ON THE AIR FORCE CHIEF'S MIND

When the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. John Jumper, was asked at a recent conference what worries him the most these days, most peopie in the audience-predominantly defense industry types-were expecting him to cite budget woes and possible cutbacks to fighter jet programs. But Jumper said his biggest headaches have been caused by the rising number of suicides among airmen, and of sexual assaults at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Air Force Secretary James Roche echoed similar concerns. "Our kids are killing themselves at a greater rate than the insurgents are killing our kids," he told the Colorado Springs Gazette. …

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