For this report, we collected and analyzed existing DoD data on presidential appointees with Senate confirmation and on political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation. We reviewed the literature on the appointees and the appointment process. From these sources we identified a number of trends.
The number of PAS positions in the DoD (including the three military departments) increased from 12 in 1947 (of which 11 were military department PAS positions) to a high of 47 in 1993. As of October 17, 1998, Title 10 authorizes 44 PAS positions in the DoD (22 for the OSD and 22 for the three military departments combined).1
Position titles reflect the onset and explosion of PAS layers in the OSD that Light noted in his 1995 assessment of post-New Deal government growth (Light, 1995). In contrast, these layers are absent from the military departments. The most noticeable growth in OSD PAS positions has been in the long-standing Assistant Secretary of Defense positions and since 1977, in two new administrative layers— Under Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary. By 1994, these new layers contained four Under Secretary of Defense positions and two Deputy Under Secretary of Defense positions. Consequently, the Secretaries of Defense during the Clinton administration have had more and thicker layers of advisers than did their predecessors.
Although the intention behind adding layers of political appointees to the OSD may have been to allow the Secretary of Defense to better manage and control the DoD, several authors argue that in fact the opposite occurs. Light maintains that a diffusion of accountability ensues with more layers of oversight (Light, 1995). Pfiffner (1987) argues that the balance should be shifted back toward fewer presidential appointees, who are best at setting goals, and more civil servants, who are best at designing programs to implement the goals.____________________