Issues of National Security in the 1970's: Essays Presented to Colonel George A. Lincoln on His Sixtieth Birthday

By George Lincoln; Amos A. Jordan | Go to book overview

10.
The Role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the National Security Structure*

LEUTENANT GENERAL ANDREW J. GOODPASTER

In examining the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the national security structure, it is useful to focus upon national security policy, giving "policy" a good deal of operational depth. Policy is best thought of as guiding plans, preparations, deployments, operations, and actions of all kinds. With such reach and depth, the structure of policy extends, like a vast military iceberg, far beyond the surface layers that often tend to catch the eye. General Marshall's reminder that "man is made for action," cautions us that the work of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should always be measured in terms of the actions in which it finally results.

The role of the Joint Chiefs--what it is and what it should be--has two principal aspects, one downward and inward, the other upward and outward. In the first respect, the Joint Chiefs deliberate and debate as a corporate body to formulate their views and seek consensus; they employ and direct a capable professional staff of high capacity, the Joint Staff; they direct the unified and specified commands; and they supervise major defense agencies in the fields of intelligence,

____________________
*

The views expressed in this essay are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of the United States Government.

-220-

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