In This Review

Toward a More Effective Defense: The Final Report of the CSIS Defense Organization Project
Toward a More Effective Defense: The Final Report of the CSIS Defense Organization Project
By Chairman, Philip A. Odeen
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, 1985, 66 pp

Of the many proposals for defense reform over the past two decades, this one deserves to be taken very seriously. The bipartisan Steering Committee of the Defense Organization Project of the CSIS consists of an outstanding group of former Department of Defense civilian leaders, retired military officers, members of Congress and academic experts. The proposed changes are moderate and realistic in political and bureaucratic terms, although they will no doubt meet resistance in some quarters. They have been endorsed as a package by six former secretaries of defense. Among the many recommendations: strengthening the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff vis-a-vis the JCS as a corporate entity in advising the president and the secretary of defense; expanding the role of the under secretary for defense policy; shifting the defense budget from an annual to a biennial cycle; greater prominence to programs for readiness and sustainability of forces in the field; emphasis on market incentives, in lieu of regulation, to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of the weapons-acquisition process. With the consensus of the early 1980s on defense now broken, this pragmatic, nonpolemic report could provide the basis for a new start in revitalizing and reforming the defense establishment.