Foreign Affairs: 100 Years
A New Americanism
Why a Nation Needs a National Story
All Presidents are dependent on the permanent bureaucracies of government inherited from their predecessors. A President must have the information and analysis of options which the bureaucracies provide in order to anticipate problems and make educated choices. He must, in most cases, also have the coöperation of the bureaucracies to turn his decisions into governmental action. A bureaucracy can effectively defuse a presidential decision by refusing to support it with influential members of Congress or to implement it faithfully.
The President's dependence on the bureaucracy and his limited freedom to man?uvre are acute in all areas. The military, however, poses a unique set of problems for him. These arise in part from the limitations upon the President when he is seeking military advice. When the National Security Council or other presidential sessions are convened to discuss high-level foreign and national security matters, the President has a great deal of influence on the selection of all those who will attend, except the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who must be chosen from a small group of senior career military officers. Compare also the President's ability to appoint noncareer people to subcabinet and ambassadorial posts with the limitations on his range of selection for appointments to senior military positions or overseas military commands.
One dilemma for the President is finding alternative sources of military advice. The military, for example, has a virtual monopoly on providing information to the President about the readiness and capabilities of U.S. or even allied forces. Other groups and individuals can provide advice on many "military" questions, but their access to information is limited. The President may call for judgments from his Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary's analysis must rely on the basic factual material and field evaluations provided by the military.
Judgments about the likely effectiveness of American combat operations are also the exclusive province of the military. In assessing the potential effects of a diplomatic move, the President can turn not only to career Foreign Service Officers, but also to businessmen, academics and intelligence specialists in other agencies. On the other hand, if he wishes to know how many American divisions would be necessary to defend Laos against a Chinese attack, the legitimacy of advice from groups other than the military is distinctly reduced. The military's influence on the information and evaluation of options which reach the President is further enhanced by the important role it plays in the preparation of national intelligence estimates.
Yet another source of leverage for the military is the prestige and influence that military leaders have enjoyed, at least in the past, with leading figures in Congress. Until quite recently, this influence limited presidential effectiveness with Congress and the general public. Even now, military influence continues to be strong with the leaders of the Armed Services Committees and appropriations subcommittees. Legislation clearly gives the military the right to inform congressional committees directly of their differences with administration policy, when asked. Senior military officers frequently exercise that right. In addition, military views on matters of major concern to the services often become known to the press. Thus, Presidents have shied away from decisions that they believed the military would take to the Congress and the public, and have frequently felt obliged to negotiate with the military.
For example, both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower carried on extensive negotiations with the military to secure its support for defense reorganization programs which appeared to have little chance of getting through Congress without military acquiescence. Later Presidents have shied away from defense reorganizations requiring congressional approval, at least in part because of the difficulty of gaining military concurrence, or congressional action without the concurrence. The backing of the military has also been vital to Presidents in other important programs. Truman, for example, relied heavily on the military to endorse his Korean War policies, especially in his disagreement with General Douglas MacArthur over limiting the war. MacArthur, who then commanded the U.N. forces in Korea, wanted to expand the war to China and to use nuclear weapons. The Joint Chiefs were not in favor of the expansion and Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and a much decorated World War II hero, strengthened Truman's position enormously when he stated publicly that MacArthur's proposal would lead to "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time."
The political influence of the military has been substantially reduced in the last few years. The fact that the Joint Chiefs favor a particular proposal is no longer a guarantee of congressional support and may in some cases be counterproductive. For example, the Joint Chiefs were not asked by the Nixon administration to play a major role in defending the Safeguard ABM. Nevertheless, the fact that the Joint Chiefs still wield influence with certain members of Congress and some parts of the public may inhibit the President, particularly if he fears a right-wing attack or needs a two- thirds vote to get a treaty through the Senate.
The implementation of presidential decisions by the military works both for and against the Chief Executive. The military tradition of discipline, efficiency and a clearly delineated chain of command increases the probability that precise orders will be observed and carried out with dispatch. However, the fact that the military implements decisions according to standard procedures may cause presidential orders to be misconstrued through oversimplification. The Joint Chiefs will defer to the field commander and not monitor his compliance carefully. Moreover, Presidents find it difficult to develop alternate means to secure implementation of decisions in the domain of the military. For example, the President may use special envoys in place of career Foreign Service Officers to carry out delicate negotiations while he can hardly send a retired businessman to land American forces in Lebanon or to command a nuclear missile-carrying submarine.
Presidents also have great difficulty convincing the military to create new capabilities, which they may need in the future but which might tend to alter the traditional role of a particular branch. The services emphasize the forces which conform to their notion of the essence of their role and resist capabilities which involve interservice cooperation (e.g. airlift), noncombat roles (e.g. advisers), and élite forces (e.g. Green Berets). At least until recently, they have also resisted the maintenance of combat- ready nonnuclear forces.
This is not to suggest that the President's problems with the military are greater than, for example, those with the Department of Agriculture or other agencies with strong links to domestic constituencies and congressional committees. Nor is it to suggest that the information and advice given the President by the military has over the years been less valuable than the advice of others. The point is rather that within the foreign policy field the greatest limitations on the President's freedom of action tend to come from the military. None of our Presidents has been content with his relations with the military.
In fact, Presidents have used a number of devices to overcome limitations on their power, to get the information and advice they want and to find support for implementing their decisions. Presidential strategies have varied, depending on the type of issue and depending on whether they were seeking: (1) information or options, (2) political support or (3) faithful implementation.
Their techniques include the following:
(1) Reorganizations. The Nixon National Security Council system and the appointment of the President's Blue Ribbon Panel on Defense Reorganization (Fitzhugh Panel) suggest a return to the emphasis on reorganization which tended to dominate thinking in the early postwar period and, indeed, through 1960. Reorganization efforts within the Pentagon have aimed at securing coördinated military advice, rather than separate advice from each service. Presidents have, in general, pressed the Joint Chiefs to transcend service biases and to come up with agreed positions based on a unified perspective, Eisenhower was particularly adverse to JCS splits. But the success of these efforts has been relatively limited. Most observers conclude that JCS papers still tend to reflect particular service views, either by way of deference or compromise, rather than the unified military judgment of a "true" Joint Staff. Secretaries of Defense have not looked upon the Joint Staff as part of their own staff.
The reorganization of the National Security Council system beginning in 1969 appears to have been designed to bring to bear a variety of different views on military problems. The evaluation of alternate military forces is centered in the Council's Verification Panel. This group first considered the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and then the prospects and problems of mutual force reductions in Europe, thereby going beyond traditional military and intelligence channels. The Defense Program Review Committee was designed to apply expertise to a review of budget decisions from the Budget Bureau and the President's economic advisers, as well as the State Department and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The NSC system itself was designed to take into account the views of the State Department and other government agencies about military commitments, bases, overseas departments and military assistance. At the same time, these efforts assured the military of orderly consideration of its views, reflecting the judgment that the military is more willing to participate faithfully in the implementation of a decision where it has been overruled if it feels that military views have been fully taken into account.
(2) Military adviser in the White House. President Franklin Roosevelt relied heavily on Admiral William. Leahy as the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief. Truman for a brief period continued to use Leahy and then, on a part-time basis, relied on General Eisenhower for advice on budget issues, while Eisenhower was President of Columbia University. Truman later turned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Eisenhower, his own military adviser in the White House, had only a junior military officer in the person of Colonel Andrew Goodpaster who functioned in effect as a staff secretary, collecting and summarizing for the President intelligence materials from the State Department and the CIA, as well as the military.
Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs operation, brought General Maxwell Taylor into the White House as the military representative of the President, and Taylor advised the President on a broad range of issues involving all aspects of national security policy. When Taylor moved over to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a JCS liaison office was created in the White House, working primarily with the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs.
President Johnson relied primarily on other mechanisms but did use General Taylor as a White House consultant after his return from Vietnam. Taylor functioned in relation to the Vietnam issue, providing an alternate source of advice and information to the President on options open to him in Vietnam operations and negotiations.
President Nixon recalled General Goodpaster briefly during the transition period and the very early days of his administration, but since then has not had a senior military adviser in the White House. Henry Kissinger's deputy is an army major-general. He ensures, along with the JCS liaison office, that Kissinger and the President are aware of JCS concerns, but he does not serve as an alternate source of military advice.
(3) A civilian adviser in the White House. There has been a growing trend in the postwar period toward presidential reliance on White House staff assistance in both domestic and national security policy. In the National Security field, civilian assistance has been used not only as a source of additional information, advice and options, but also as an aid to the President in seeing that his decisions are carried through.
Truman tended to rely on his cabinet officers and the uniformed military, but there were episodic interventions by civilians in the White House. Under Truman, Clark Clifford became heavily involved in the negotiations leading to the Defense Unification Act and the National Security Council system. Later he contributed to the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission and the continued control of atomic weapons by the Commission, Averell Harriman, who became Truman's national security adviser just before the Korean War, functioned briefly during the early stages of the war as a spokesman for the President's position; his tasks included a visit to General MacArthur to explain the President's policies to him and seek his compliance.
Eisenhower had no single national security adviser in the White House. His Assistants for National Security Council Affairs were involved only in the very limited number of issues that were handled in the rather stylized machinery of the National Security Council system as then constituted. Eisenhower brought in several advisers for specific issues, including Nelson Rockefeller, but these advisers tended to interact and overlap with Secretary of State Dulles rather than with the Department of Defense. They were responsible for some new initiatives, such as Eisenhower's "open skies" proposal in 1954, but the instances are few.
The regularization and institutionalization of a civilian adviser in the White House on national security matters came with President Kennedy's appointment of McGeorge Bundy. Bundy, following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, moved to increase the independence of the White House in securing information by arranging to get a good deal of the raw material directly from the field, including State, Defense and CIA cable traffic. Bundy also assumed primary responsibility for briefing the President. Despite the expanded role which involved them in many foreign policy matters with military implications, neither Bundy nor Walt Rostow, Johnson's adviser for national security affairs, were heavily engaged in Defense budget matters. Under President Nixon, Henry Kissinger has been as active in Defense Department matters as he is in those for which the State Department has primary responsibility. Nixon appears to rely upon Kissinger as an alternative source of information and options on the broad range of military and national security matters, and as a channel for various kinds of military advice.
(4) Reliance on the Secretary of Defense. Truman and Eisenhower tended to rely on their Secretaries of Defense primarily to secure the implementation of their decisions, particularly Defense budget decisions. They expected the Secretaries to bear the weight of military objections to ceilings on defense spending and to force the services to develop forces within those ceilings. Even in this role the Defense Secretaries were of limited value to the President since they tended to become spokesmen for the military desire for increased spending.
The appointment of Robert S. McNamara brought to fruition a trend which had been developing gradually and had accelerated during the brief tenure of Secretary Thomas Gates. This called for the Secretary of Defense to become in effect the principal military adviser to the President, superseding the Joint Chiefs. Over time Kennedy and Johnson, at least until the Vietnam war accelerated in late 1965, tended to look to the Secretary of Defense for advice on commitments, bases, overseas deployments and military aid, as well as budget decisions. The Secretary's job included absorbing the advice tendered by the military and combining that in his recommendations to the President. Both Kennedy and Johnson did, of course, continue to meet with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in formal sessions of the National Security Council and in other meetings, but by and large they received military judgments and advice through the filter of the Secretary of Defense. As the Vietnam war heated up, JCS Chairman General Earle Wheeler was included in Johnson's regular Tuesday lunches and began to act as an independent vehicle for reporting JCS views to the President, at least on the range of issues discussed at those meetings. Defense Secretary Laird has continued the tradition of taking positions on substantive issues of military policy and operations, as well as defense budget issues, although the President seems to regard him simply as a second source of advice on military questions. The Secretary and the Joint Chiefs have a co-equal role in the National Security Council arid in all of its subordinate institutions.
(5) Reliance on the Secretary of State. No President has given the Secretary of State a dominant role in decisions regarding combat operations or the defense budget. Truman did call on General Marshall-when he was Secretary of State-for support in keeping the Defense budget down, and Nixon has brought the Secretary's staff into the Defense budget process through the Defense Program Review Committee. However, on issues concerning commitments, bases, overseas deployments and military aid, Truman tended to rely largely on Acheson's judgment, and Eisenhower depended to a large extent on Dulles. Secretary Rusk played a major role in these issues along with Secretary McNamara.
(6) Reliance on scientists. Although scientists have occasionally been used to evaluate combat operations, by and large their role has been limited to issues reflected in the Defense budget. Eisenhower depended, particularly in the later years of his administration, on the chief scientist in the Pentagon (the Director of Defense Research and Engineering) and on his science advisers. Kennedy also looked to his science adviser, Jerome Weisner, for alternate advice on the Defense budget, as well as on arms- control matters, particularly relating to the nuclear testing issue. The role of the science advisers seems to have declined precipitously under Johnson and Nixon, with their energies going largely to non-Defense matters.
(7) Reliance on the Bureau of the Budget. The role of the Budget Bureau (now Office of Management and Budget) in Defense decisions has been very limited. Truman and Eisenhower relied upon the Budget Director to help set a ceiling on Defense spending, but the Bureau did not get involved in deciding how that money would be spent. Under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson it became a matter of tradition that the Budget Director would have to appeal Secretarial decisions on the Defense budget to the President, the reverse of the situation in all other departments. Press reports suggested that initially Nixon had reversed this process, but he now appears to have returned to this traditional pattern. The Budget Director sits on the Defense Program Review Committee, but the extent of Budget Bureau influence is difficult to determine.
(8) Ad hoc techniques. Presidents have used a number of ad hoc or special techniques to secure information and options on military questions. One technique frequently used during the Truman and Eisenhower periods was the President-appointed commission. Nixon's Fitzhugh Panel may mark a return to the use of this technique, although it has thus far been limited to organizational rather than substantive questions.
Occasionally, Presidents have sent special representatives into the field to investigate military questions. Kennedy, for example, sent an old friend and military officer to the camp preparing the Cuban guerrillas for the Bay of Pigs operations, and Richard Nixon sent British guerrilla war expert Brigadier General Thompson to Vietnam for an independent assessment.
Now and then a President has been fortunate enough to have the concurrence of the military on a particular policy, without having to bargain. That the Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed expansion of the Korean War and felt that General MacArthur had indeed been insubordinate was of critical importance to Truman in securing public acceptance of this policy. However, in most cases, the President has been forced to bargain for the public support of the Joint Chiefs. Truman had to accept the case for German rearmament in order to gain JCS approval to send American forces to Europe. Kennedy and his Secretary of Defense engaged in long hours of bargaining with the Joint Chiefs before they were able to devise an acceptable safeguard program of standby preparations for nuclear testing that made it possible for the Joint Chiefs to give their reluctant support to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Johnson felt obliged to have the Joint Chiefs of Staff on board before he would order the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam in 1968.
In some cases, the President has sought to use the prestige and power of his office to accomplish his objectives in the face of military opposition. This tactic has a better chance of success when the decisions involve only executive department action; when the Chiefs are split; and particularly when the decisions do not require the use of armed forces in combat operations. But it can be done in other cases. For example, on the matter of civilian control of atomic weapons and the creation of a civilian- dominated Atomic Energy Commission, Truman appealed to the public and Congress over the objections of the military, and was able to win. Eisenhower in the same way (although less successfully) enlisted the support of the American business community in his effort to reorganize the Defense Department against the judgment of the military.
Presidents have had the greatest success in bypassing the military on Defense budget limitations, because military demands are essentially open- ended and always have to be overruled. However, the appeal to fiscal conservatism and alternative demands for resources have also tended to check defense expenditures.
Techniques used to improve the information and options reaching the President can also be applied to the implementation of decisions. For example, civilian advisers in the White House have been used to monitor compliance with presidential decisions, and other Presidents have tended to rely on the Secretary of Defense to see that their decisions were carried out.
In addition, Presidents have sometimes resorted to selecting military officers who they felt shared their views and therefore would act to implement them properly. The most dramatic case came in 1953 when Eisenhower replaced all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and appointed Admiral Radford, a known supporter of his policy of massive nuclear retaliation, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and chose service chiefs who by and large were prepared to comply. After the Cuban missile crisis, Admiral George Anderson, who had not coöperated fully with the President, was not reappointed to the post of Chief of Naval Operations. However, there are severe limits to the value of such actions: General Ridgway and later General Taylor, the Army Chiefs of Staff appointed by Eisenhower, resisted the reduction in the size of the Army and the Administration's reliance on massive nuclear retaliation. When their views were ignored they resigned and protested publicly. In response to Admiral Anderson's reassignment as Ambassador to Portugal, Congress legislated statutory terms for the members of the Joint Chiefs.
Another technique that has been used to increase compliance with presidential decisions is the creation of new organizations which reflect new desires. The most successful such effort was to create within the Navy a Special Projects Office to monitor the Polaris program and to alter promotion procedures so that command of a Polaris submarine would permit promotion to senior grades. The least successful effort was Kennedy's attempt in the early 1960s to give the military a greater flexibility in dealing with counterinsurgency operations by creating the Green Berets.
The decline of the prestige of the military over the past several years has given President Nixon and his successors greater freedom to determine how advice from the military reaches them, and to accept or reject that advice. The experience of the postwar period suggests two basic changes which the President could institute now that would increase his leverage vis-à-vis the military-one involving the channel by which he receives advice from senior military officers and the other concerning the role of civilian advisers.
The experience of the last 25 years suggests that the effort to reorganize the Pentagon and then to demand "unified" military advice from the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been a failure. As noted above, most observers who have had the opportunity to view the product of the Joint Chiefs would argue that unified JCS papers reflect either a compromise among the services, a form of logrolling in which the proposals of all services are endorsed, or deference to the service or field commander most concerned. As long as the function of the Joint Staff is to come up with a paper that will be endorsed by all of the Chiefs, there does not appear to be any way to alter the situation fundamentally, although some progress has been made in the last several years in increasing the flexibility and independence of the Joint Staff.
More radical changes must be effected if the President is to get good military advice. The key to improving the situation is to separate the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff from the Service Chiefs. The President and the Secretary of Defense would in this case solicit the separate views of each of the Service Chiefs and of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and where appropriate, the views of the relevant unified and specified commanders (e.g. commanders in Europe and Asia and the head of the Strategic Air Command). These latter views might be channeled to the Secretary through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Chairman would, in turn, be the officer in the line of command through the President and the Secretary of Defense to the commanders (bypassing the Service Chiefs) for carrying out operations in the field.
The basic rationale behind this change in procedure is that the Service Chiefs and the unified and specified commands constitute the highest level at which reliable (first-hand) information and advice are available. The Joint Staff, when it needs information, must solicit either the service staffs in Washington or the field commanders. In fact, JCS information and advice presented to the President and the Secretary usually come from the services and the subordinate service commands in the field. For example, most of the positions taken by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on questions relating to Vietnam simply involved a JCS endorsement of the recommendations of General Westmorland or General Abrams, the army commanders in Vietnam, and Admiral Sharp, Commander in Chief of the Pacific, who had particular responsibility for the bombing operations.
On questions of requirements for overseas bases, to take another example, the Joint Chiefs in most cases simply endorse the position of the Service which utilizes the base. On budget issues, the Chiefs tend to endorse all of the programs desired by each of the services. When forced to choose on an issue of policy the Chiefs compromise among the different Service positions rather than attempting to develop a position based on a unified military point of view.
Under the proposed change of procedure the President and the Secretary of Defense would be made aware of differing positions which might otherwise be compromised. In addition this would leave the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Joint Staff free from the job of developing a compromise position and therefore able to present the Secretary of Defense with a military judgment separate from the interests of the Services. If this process is to succeed the President and the Secretary will have to choose a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs with whom they can work. Then, if the system is developed properly, the Chairman and the Joint Staff would come to be seen as part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, providing him and the President with military advice which could be weighed against the advice of the operators-the Service Chiefs and the unified and specified commanders. The influence of the Chairman would come from his record of persuasiveness with the President and the Secretary of Defense. They will take his judgments seriously if his choice is shown to be based on a broader range of considerations than the advice of the Service Chiefs.
Such a procedure would increase the probability that imaginative and innovative proposals would reach the President It would also make it more likely that the President would become aware of the wide diversity of military opinions on a question and not act on an erroneous assumption that there was a unified view.
One of the few instances on record in which the President did seek separate opinions from the several Chiefs came in 1961 when President Kennedy was contemplating an invasion of Laos. Partly because of the Bay of Pigs episode in which the doubts of individual Chiefs about the military feasibility of the landing in Cuba never reached him, Kennedy asked each Chief separately for his views in writing and then met with them as a group. He discovered by this process that each one had a slightly different position on what should be done, what troops should be committed, and what the likely outcome of American intervention would be. Receiving this conflicting advice, it was harder for Kennedy to make a decision to intervene but it also meant that he did not make a decision under a mistaken impression that there was a unified military view either for or against the intervention.
The proposed procedure would also increase presidential flexibility in accepting or rejecting military advice because he would no longer be confronted with a unanimous but misleading statement of JCS views. He would be able to choose among service and command viewpoints rather than having to develop a new position which in essence overrules all of the military, in as much as JCS opinions now represent all the services.
In order to increase the President's freedom to choose and the likelihood that he will get faithful implementation and political support for his actions, a procedure should be developed which provides for military access to the President on issues of importance to the military. Access should be provided not only for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, but also for the Service Chiefs and the unified commanders roost concerned. When he finds it necessary to overrule the military, the President should justify his decision on broad political grounds; he should be seen doing so personally; and he should do so in writing with a clear memorandum stating his position. All of these acts would increase military willingness to go along with presidential decisions and to implement them faithfully.
The military takes seriously the President's role as Commander in Chief and also recognizes that he has broader responsibility concerned with both domestic and international political situations. They are much more amenable to being overruled on these grounds than to being told that their military judgment is questioned. (For this reason the military resented McNamara's reliance on civilians, particularly in the Office of Systems Analysis, for judgments on what they took to be purely military questions, i.e. statements of military requirements.) They also implement decisions faithfully when assured that their position has been heard by the President and it has not been lost in the filter of Secretary of Defense memoranda.
Securing separate advice from the Service Chiefs and other military commanders will require that the President, or at least his White House staff, spend more time digesting the separate positions. However, this seems a price worth paying to increase the flow of new ideas or doubts about proposed courses of action to the White House.
Military compliance with presidential decisions would also be enhanced by avoiding the practice of using the military to seek public support for presidential decisions. The value of such action has become considerably reduced in recent years, and such use of the military tends to legitimize and increase the importance of their opposition when they choose to oppose policy.
Implicit in the new procedures as suggested is a reduced role for the Secretary of Defense from that which he assumed in the 1960s. His scope would also be affected by another proposed change-that decision-making on matters concerning Defense budgets and the use of military force be moved outside of the Pentagon and into a broader arena involving officials from the White House and other agencies.
The Nixon administration has moved rather significantly, at least in form and to some extent in substance, to change the locus of decisions. The creation of the Washington Special Action Group (WSAG) brings into existence for the first time a forum in which detailed contingency planning for the actual use of military force is carried out beyond the Pentagon. WSAG is chaired by the President's Assistant for National Security and includes senior State Department and CIA officials as well as civilian and military representatives of the Pentagon. It provides a forum where the military, diplomatic and intelligence evaluations of likely use of American military forces can be brought together in a systematic way, something which was not done in the past. This institution needs to be strengthened, probably with the addition of some White House staff assigned specifically to this task.
A second institution of significance is the Defense Program Review Committee (DPRC), which is also chaired by the President's Assistant for National Security and includes representatives not only from State but also from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of Management and Budget. The implications of this institution are enormous. If it is functioning effectively, decisions not only on the total size of the Defense budget but also on the major Defense programs will be made outside the Pentagon in an interagency forum where White House influence is dominant. The President would be receiving advice on Defense budget issues from several different perspectives. While the institution has been created, it does not appear yet to have either the staff or the necessary top level direction to get into a wide range of Defense issues.
For this purpose and also to make WSAG more effective, the President's Assistant for National Security probably needs a Senior Deputy who would take some of the responsibility for White House direction for budget and combat decisions, and who would be explicitly charged with bringing to bear the broader concerns of the President.
The procedures suggested here in no sense imply a downgrading of military advice. Instead they are designed to assure that the President receives the full range of the existing military opinions rather than what filters through a JCS compromise procedure or a Secretary of Defense responsible for presenting military views to the President. They also aim to give the President critical commentary OR military proposals from civilian officials with a different and somewhat broader range of responsibilities. In the end, good decisions will depend on the wisdom and judgment of the President What he decides, however, is greatly influenced by the information presented to him, as well as by his sense of freedom to choose regardless of strong military and other bureaucratic pressures.