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The following recommendations for reorganizing the U.S. government for the post-Cold War era are adapted from a memorandum to the president-elect from a bipartisan commission co-sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Institute for International Economics. Members of the commission are listed on the following page.
Harnessing Process to Purpose
You have won the presidency at a unique juncture in America’s history. The decline of America’s global competitiveness, economic stagnation and the end of the Cold War have transformed the policy agenda. To address these new challenges you will need to harness government process to administration purpose and to make the powers of the government work for you.
Twice in recent American history great crises propelled presidents to restructure the government. In 1933, facing deep economic crisis, Franklin Roosevelt began a far-reaching reform of domestic agencies. In 1947, confronting a new challenge from abroad, Harry Truman carried out a historic reorganization of the U.S. national security structure.
As in 1933 and 1947 new circumstances and new policies require new machinery. If America wishes to compete successfully in the new global economy and to deal effectively with other "new priorities," reorganizing the government for the post-Cold War world is a necessity, not a luxury. But the sweeping organizational reforms of those earlier eras are today probably out of reach or excessively costly in terms of time and political capital. This commission believes that the times call for a middle course: a series of highly targeted changes that would make a difference.
Thirty years ago President Dwight Eisenhower, who believed deeply in the importance of good organization, observed that bad organization "can scarcely fail to result in inefficiency and can easily lead to disaster." In that spirit this commission offers some suggestions on how to reshape the tools at your disposal. In general it has avoided recommending changes that require congressional action. Suggested reforms that do require legislative approval were included only after informal consultations with members of Congress led this commission to believe that, if backed by the administration, they would be favorably considered on Capitol Hill.
America’s current circumstances both allow and indeed demand a shift of priority and resources away from national security, as traditionally defined, and toward the broader problems of making America competitive in a global economy. Foreign threats to national interests have not disappeared, and America’s existing national security structure must be maintained. But the present system, by failing to integrate economic and other global concerns, makes it virtually impossible to develop a coherent and effective national strategy for the post-Cold War era.
To make the government work effectively, it is essential to break down the bureaucratic walls still separating increasingly interrelated issues. Organizing the government requires, first and foremost, organizing the presidency.
MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION
Richard Holbrooke (Chairman), Managing Director at Lehman Brothers; former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
William Frenzel (Co-Chairman), Guest Scholar, Governmental Studies Program, Brookings Institution; former U.S. Congressman (R?MN).
Morton I. Abramowitz, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former Ambassador to Thailand and Turkey; former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.
Madeleine K. Albright, President, Center for National Policy; former Coordinator for National Security Legislation, National Security Council.
Graham Allison, Director of Harvard’s Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government; former Special Adviser to the Secretary of Defense.
C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Institute for International Economics; Chairman, Competitiveness Policy Council; former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.
Stephen W. Bosworth, President, U.S.-Japan Foundation; former Ambassador to the Philippines; former Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff.
Frank C. Carlucci, Vice Chairman, The Carlyle Group; former Secretary of Defense; former Director of Central Intelligence; former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for President Reagan.
Adm. William J. Crowe, Jr., USN, (Ret.), Counselor, Center for Strategic and International Studies; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
I.M. Destler, Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland; served on the President’s Task Force on Government Organization.
Kenneth M. Duberstein, President and CEO of The Duberstein Group, Inc.; former White House Chief of Staff for President Reagan.
Stuart E. Eizenstat, Vice Chairman, Powell Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy; former Assistant to President Carter for Domestic Affairs.
Ellen L. Frost, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Economic and Technology Affairs.
Morton H. Halperin, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former Director of the Washington Office of the American Civil Liberties Union; former Senior Staff for the National Security Council.
Stephen Hess, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; syndicated columnist; former Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs; author, Organizing the Presidency.
Adm. B.R. Inman, USN (Ret.); Vice Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Board; former Director of the National Security Agency; former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.
James A. Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Federal National Mortgage Association; former Executive Assistant to Vice President Mondale.
James R. Jones, Chairman and CEO, American Stock Exchange; former Congressman (D?OK); former assistant to President Johnson.
Winston Lord, Chairman, Carnegie National Commission on America and the New World; former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
Jessica T. Mathews, Vice President, World Resources Institute; columnist for The Washington Post; former Director of the Office of Global Issues, National Security Council.
Donald F. McHenry, University Research Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, Georgetown University; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Paul H. O’Neill, Chairman and CEO, ALCOA; former Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Rudolph G. Penner, Director of Economic Studies in the Policy Economics Group, KPNG Peat Marwick; former Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Peter G. Peterson, Chairman, The Blackstone Group; Chairman, Institute for International Economics; Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.; former Secretary of Commerce.
Elliot I. Richardson, Senior Resident Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; former Secretary of Commerce; former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; former Secretary of Defense; former Attorney General of the United States.
Anthony M. Solomon, Chairman, Economics Focus, Institute for East?West Security Studies; former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs; former Under Secretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs; former President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Theodore C. Sorensen, Senior Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; former Special Counsel to President Kennedy.
Joan E. Spero, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, American Express Company; former Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Peter Tarnoff, President, Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.; former Executive Secretary, Department of State.
Alan Wm. Wolff, Managing Partner, Dewey Ballantine; former Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations.
Commission Coordinator: Daniel Hamilton, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Your principle policy challenges will almost never fall within the purview of a single department or agency. From trade to the environment, from drug policy to education, the issues cut across established bureaucratic boundaries. In these circumstances, no matter how strong a cabinet you assemble, White House leadership in formulating strategy and policy is essential for a successful administration.
The objective of this commission has therefore been to identify and recommend to you a system that manages interagency policymaking from the White House but brings the cabinet departments into policy discussions early, one that upgrades the new global and economic agenda to a higher level and combines flexibility with coordination.
The successful launch of your presidency begins during that special period in American political life known as the transition. It must be used wisely; too often the seeds of future problems have been planted during the euphoric weeks between election day and inauguration.
This commission believes you can safely defer presidential appointments to senior positions for four to six weeks, as previous presidents-elect in full transitions between the parties have done. It strongly recommends that you delay all major appointments—including your senior White House policy assistants—until you have made fundamental decisions about priorities and organization. It suggests that you try to announce senior appointments in "clusters" of people who will have to work together closely; for example, all the members of your top economic team might be unveiled at the same time.
"Choosing a team, not a group of individuals," has been a laudable slogan of every recent transition, but it has not always worked according to plan. The people you appoint must agree with and share your basic objectives, rather than try to reshape them. It is equally important that they understand and accept how the job they have been offered fits into your system of governance. They must be loyal not only to you personally, but also to your goals and—something more difficult—to each other.
Feuding and disloyalty among senior political appointees has been a continual and costly problem for recent presidents, and yours will be no more immune than generations of their predecessors. Once chosen they will take on the coloration and biases of their new posts, reducing your maneuverability and the chances for organizational reform—if it has not already been secured. Only if you match your appointments to your purposes and priorities will that group of individuals become a real team.
The White House
Each president’s individual style is the essential determinant of how the White House functions. In any administration the goals are the same: to organize the White House staff in order to lead the entire executive branch, to maintain the initiative with Congress, to reach out to the public for broad support, to formulate programs and priorities and to get decisions implemented.
But even as it shapes interagency policy and negotiates with Congress, the White House should not turn into an operational agency, a role for which it is ill-suited. The great domestic departments, with their statutory and administrative responsibilities, cannot be run from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Your staff should not cross the fine line between strategy and implementation, between policy formulation and operations. Watergate and Iran?contra, among other examples, illustrate how dangerous this temptation can be.
Modern government requires both strong cabinet members and a strong White House staff. They must understand their distinct roles before your administration takes office. The United States does not practice cabinet government, in the parliamentary sense. It has cabinet members, but the cabinet does not make decisions; the president does, and that distinction is central to America’s system of government. Moreover it is not the primary duty—much less the practice—of cabinet officers to think in interdepartmental terms; they properly try to advance their own departmental interests. But cabinet officers must do more than run their departments; they should be influential voices in policy debates.
Despite its flaws the National Security Council system that exists today has evolved into a policy coordinating mechanism with no clear parallel on the domestic side of government. This commission’s central organizing principle for the White House is based in large part on that experience.
This commission recommends placing all policy coordination in three coequal councils: the National Security Council, the Economic Council and the Domestic Council, each supported by a professional staff. Alongside the consolidation and elimination of several unnecessary offices, this structure could result in a more efficient, less fragmented and smaller White House.
Each of these three councils would consist, as the National Security Council system already does, of three basic components: the council itself, a formal body chaired by the president and composed of cabinet-level principals; a senior, widely respected assistant to the president, supported by a professional staff; and sub-cabinet level machinery, chaired either by the assistant to the president or by an appropriate sub-cabinet official, with staff work coordinated by the proper White House council staff.
The choice of who chairs a sub-cabinet group is important: it can help determine outcome; it can also carry symbolic weight, signaling the status of a cabinet member.
Each of these three key presidential aides should carry a title that is simple, stripped of adjectives and qualified only by a single introductory article: the assistant to the president for national security affairs; the assistant to the president for economic affairs; the assistant to the president for domestic affairs.
There would of course be other important presidential assistants responsible for press relations, legislative strategy, public outreach, political affairs and other matters. But these three assistants would be your work horses, the senior team through which to forge and coordinate new policies. They must work well together; turf battles would be immensely costly to the entire administration. All three would have direct face-to-face access to you, although the chief of staff should always be fully informed so that he or she may play the critically important coordinating role.
When a critical issue falls within the range of more than one council, which will be common, the relevant council staffs should strive to address the problem to the greatest extent possible as a single policy staff and, by example, compel interagency decision?making in systems that have usually resisted it. Like the three presidential assistants, the council staffs should know each other and interact as close colleagues, not rivals.
The National Security Council: The National Security Act of 1947 created the cabinet-level National Security Council (NSC), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a civilian secretary of defense and uniformed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to head the combined military services, including a newly independent air force. Although the result of an unhappy compromise between Congress and a badly divided executive branch, the legislation was an organizational prerequisite for the success of those historic policies—the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, containment, NATO and the first foreign aid programs—that were put into place at the same time.
This commission does not wish to weaken the NSC system. In a still dangerous world the nation cannot abandon its global leadership role. Moreover the nation must preserve the capability and the will to use force, if necessary, to protect American interests. The NSC system remains an essential safeguard for the nation’s security—but it should be modernized and better integrated with the economic and domestic portions of government, enabling it to deal more effectively with the "new" economic and global issues.
Although the need to integrate foreign and domestic economic matters, and economic and geopolitical policy, is an article of faith, the failure to do so is endemic. In recent years the NSC system has, if anything, narrowed the definition of its responsibilities. Four of the last five national security assistants have come from the military. At the deputy level a similar situation has existed. Regardless of the personal abilities of the men who have held these positions, this staffing pattern has led to an undesirable emphasis on just one area of national security.
This commission thus recommends that you instruct your assistant for national security affairs to work closely with the assistant to the president for economic affairs and strengthen significantly the NSC’S staff capability in areas such as international economics, the environment and humanitarian affairs.
The National Security Act specifies only four statutory members of the NSC: the president, vice president, secretary of state and secretary of defense; and two statutory advisers—director of Central Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Some observers have recommended legislation broadening the NSC to include Treasury, the U.S. trade representative and Commerce. This commission urges that the secretary of the treasury and other relevant officials be included in national security deliberations, but since you are free to invite anyone you wish to any meeting or committee, seeking congressional approval for a statutory change in NSC membership offers nothing but minor symbolic value.
The Economic Council and the Domestic Council: Two closely allied councils should be established under your personal chairmanship to forge and coordinate policy in the economic and domestic arenas. Responsibilities, functions and personnel will inevitably overlap, but a majority of this commission believes that creating two councils—one focused on economic policy and the other on domestic—offers the best structure to manage these issues. There will be disagreements over which council should handle certain issues; that is a matter only you or your chief of staff can decide. The chief of staff must ensure that the three staffs work together wherever possible, and that all relevant aspects of issues get adequate attention. Each assistant would have an "affirmative responsibility" to keep the other two assistants apprised of any policy issue under review that might affect them.
The Economic Council and its staff would be your instrument for assuring that economic policy gets attention equal to traditional national security, working closely with the NSC and its staff when international economic issues are under consideration and with the Domestic Council and its staff on domestic matters. The new position recommended—assistant to the president for economic affairs—would become an important senior member of your economic team. It is vitally important, however, that the secretary of the treasury remain your principal spokesperson on economic affairs.
The Domestic Council would fulfill the same coordinating role for those issues that lie primarily within the domestic sphere, including housing, education, transportation, civil rights, crime, welfare and more. Like your other two assistants, the assistant to the president for domestic affairs—a job for which there are many different precedents, none as clearly defined as this proposal—should be a major figure in policy decisions. However, the cabinet officers, not White House staffers, should be your principal public advocates for their areas of responsibility.
In addition to your position as chairman of each of the three councils, members of the Economic Council might include the vice president, secretary of the treasury, director of the Office of Management and Budget, secretary of state, the U.S. trade representative, secretary of commerce, secretary of labor, secretary of agriculture, secretary of energy, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and secretary of the environment (a post whose creation this commission recommends).
The Domestic Council would for obvious reasons include the largest number of members, constituting, in effect, a cabinet committee. Every member of the Economic Council except the secretary of state and the U.S. trade representative would also have a seat on the Domestic Council, and every domestic cabinet department would participate when policy affecting their subject areas was under discussion.
Critically important work would be done for both councils by sub-cabinet groups, which would replace a large number of existing committees and subcommittees. Each such group would be chaired either by the appropriate assistant to the president or by a designated cabinet or sub-cabinet official. Thus discussions on fiscal and tax policy would be chaired by Treasury. An essential difference from past practice is that the formulation of interagency policy would be coordinated by the relevant White House council staff, which works for you, and not by any one department.
Of course meetings of the economic and domestic councils would rarely include every one of their members. Most often meetings, if properly scheduled, would consist of those members with concern for the issues under discussion. The three presidential assistants would be free to send a representative to meetings of the other councils.
This council system would largely supplant formal cabinet sessions and allow you to reduce significantly a redundant portion of the White House staff—those officials tasked with staffing the cabinet. At present, there are four presidential assistants working on cabinet affairs: secretary to the cabinet, director of cabinet affairs, deputy assistant to the president for cabinet liaison and special assistant to the president for cabinet liaison. In addition there are also a staff secretary and an assistant staff secretary—the former an assistant to the president, the latter a special assistant. These positions could be combined into one job whose responsibility would be to manage—under the direction of the chief of staff—the flow of paper between the president, the White House staff and the cabinet. This change would eliminate at least four senior assistants to the president.
Finally, for maximum interaction between the three presidential assistants on policy, this commission recommends that all three, plus the vice president and the chief of staff, participate in the daily morning presidential briefing that has historically been the exclusive domain of the national security adviser. By doing so you would be demonstrating, in the most physical sense, your determination to break down the barriers between the national security world and the rest of the White House.
The Chief of Staff
Every president must decide whether to have a chief of staff and, if so, what responsibilities and authority to delegate to that position. This question carries great implications for the success of your presidency.
The personal experience of members of this commission ranges from Eisenhower’s "tight ship" to the less rigid, more informal systems of Democratic presidents since 1945. Yet this diverse group unanimously believes that, whatever the personal style of the president, the modern presidency requires a strong chief of staff—not an all?powerful prime minister, but an "honest broker" with broad coordinating responsibilities over the rest of the White House staff and the cabinet, someone who knows the president’s political and policy desires and makes sure that they are adhered to. The chief of staff should have the president’s full backing and confidence—so much so that he or she feels comfortable presenting the president with bad news, if necessary.
The chief of staff should be an interpreter of your thinking, not a deputy president. Since the power that resides with the job is immense, it is essential to select someone who does not have a separate personal or political agenda. Your chief of staff must think of your interests and your interests only, not suppressing the views of other senior officials but making sure that when they reach you, they contain congressional, political and policy considerations.
This commission recommends against dividing the coordinating responsibilities between two people—one for policy, the other for politics. No matter how much coordination there is between a chief of staff for policy and a separate senior political adviser, such a division would keep politics and policy on separate tracks up to the moment they enter the Oval Office—thus inviting continual conflict.
The chief of staff should oversee the rest of the White House staff, including the three presidential assistants for national security, economic and domestic affairs. He or she should sit in on all national security and other important presidential briefings. In case of inevitable disagreements over which presidential assistant or which council staff has responsibility for an issue, the chief of staff should make the decision, with your involvement only if necessary.
The Vice President
The vice president is a unique asset. His role requires careful consideration. Some people have been tempted by the idea that the vice president should function as a de facto chief of staff or as a policy coordinator for a specific area such as space, drugs or competitiveness.
This commission recommends, however, against tying the vice president down to such specific assignments, especially at the outset of the administration, when any weak spots are not yet apparent. Assigning him a role as a coordinator in some specified area would diminish his potential availability as your most valuable emissary or troubleshooter when some problem or crisis—domestic or foreign—needs a high?level course correction.
It is inevitable that these crises will occur, no matter what structure and people you choose. Acting in your name, the vice president—the only other elected person in the executive branch—should be used to pull together the resources of the executive branch in a domestic emergency or to carry out some delicate foreign mission in support of your foreign policy. There are times when, other than yourself, the vice president will be the only person with the ability to get such jobs done—and that is where his greatest value lies.
In addition the vice president should participate in the regular national security, economic and domestic briefings on your schedule.
Beyond the White House
Because this commission believes that restructuring the presidency is your first organizational priority, it has focused attention on the White House. However, it has identified a limited number of changes beyond the White House that are essential if you are to advance your agenda. This commission also recommends that you launch a series of high?level reviews of certain parts of the government that should be restructured in the post-Cold War era, but which do not require immediate action.
Economy and the Environment
Three areas that demand attention are trade, competitiveness and the environment. At present, however, responsibility for each is diffused through different parts of the government. If left unchanged, the present unsatisfactory situation would severely inhibit your ability to achieve your goals in these high-priority, high-impact areas.
This commission suggests that you address all three areas simultaneously, centering responsibility for each in a single department or agency and realigning the bureaucracy to enhance and reinforce your intent. Dealing with all three areas at once presents an opportunity for a dramatic proposal that would offer something to advocates of each and reduce the opposition of those who fear a loss of power through reorganization.
Specifically this commission recommends the following:
—upgrade by executive order the status of the U.S. trade representative to be your sole trade negotiator, senior trade adviser and sole spokesperson on trade policy, as well as the person primarily responsible for ensuring that trade agreements are implemented;
—establish by executive order that henceforth the primary mission of the secretary of commerce is to promote the nation’s competitiveness;
—propose legislation to create the Department of the Environment—not merely an upgraded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—but a department with new responsibilities that combines elements from other parts of the government.
Trade: In the post-Cold War period America’s trade and commercial interests have received increased government attention, but more needs to be done. Confusion between the roles of the U.S. trade representative and the secretary of commerce continues, so much so that in foreign eyes the United States has often appeared to have two "trade ministers." This confusion can also lead to conflict in Washington, as happened during President Reagan’s first term.
Moreover certain important commercial agreements, including civil aviation, maritime and fisheries, are still negotiated by the Department of Transportation and the State Department—the result of outmoded historical and political legacies.
This commission recommends that you center all trade and commercial negotiations in the U.S. trade representative. Within the structure of the Economic Council, the U.S. trade representative would still chair the statutory Trade Policy Committee, which should be resuscitated and returned to its former status as the coordinator of America’s trade positions.
Commerce and Competitiveness: This leaves the perennial question: What is the role of Commerce? Over the years it has become a sort of catchall for a group of separate agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of the Census, that have little rational reason for their present location.
This commission believes that you should give Commerce coherence and purpose by removing some of these misplaced agencies and assigning it the vital mission of advancing American competitiveness.
The Department of Commerce would act as the primary liaison and coordination point between the public and private sectors to foster commercially relevant research and development, to promote technology transfer, and to coordinate science and technology policy when it affects the nation’s commercial interests.
Giving Commerce and its secretary such an important and focused mission would be of direct and immediate benefit to American businesses, workers, environmentalists, the U.S. trade representative and Commerce itself, which would become one of the major departments of government.
The Environment: At present there is no single locus within the executive branch for environmental issues in general or for international environmental issues in particular. In order to bring the environment into the mainstream of decision?making this commission recommends the following:
—submit to Congress a request to create a Department of the Environment that includes, at a minimum, the EPA and NOAA;
—within the White House, fix responsibility within either the Economic Council or the Domestic Council;
—if the cabinet post is created and the White House reorganized, abolish the Council on Environmental Quality (currently 31 people), thus reducing the number of separate groups existing within the executive office; and finally,
—at State redesignate the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science as the Bureau of Environmental Affairs, reporting to a newly created undersecretary of state.
These recommendations do not solve every question posed by the present gaps and overlaps in the environmental area, but they would go a long way toward bringing the environment, including its international aspects, to its proper place as a national priority.
State and Defense
If your agenda is to succeed, even those most established government departments—State and Defense—must take account of the vast changes sweeping the world. This commission has not taken on the task of suggesting fundamental reform of these institutions. It suggests only a few changes that bear directly on your ability to move your agenda forward.
State: As the only cabinet department that has as its sole responsibility, under the authority of the president, the conduct of American relations with the rest of the world, the State Department should have a central role in the formulation and implementation of all aspects of American foreign policy, even when the lead responsibility lies with some other department or agency. The secretary of state should remain your principal spokesperson for foreign policy.
Unfortunately the State Department’s present structure and traditional "culture" do not adequately reflect the increased importance of global issues and multilateral diplomacy or the complex interaction between domestic and foreign issues. Furthermore State’s ability to deal with the bewildering array of new issues that encroach from every direction on traditional diplomacy is severely impeded by its present organizational structure, a structure that no longer reflects the realities of a vastly enlarged department.
Until fairly recently, the position of assistant secretary of state was a senior policymaking job. Today the State Department organization chart shows more than thirty offices and bureaus headed by an assistant secretary of state or its rank-equivalent. In theory each bureau reports directly to the secretary of state. In fact the bureaus report to the secretary through a shifting and confused variety of reporting channels—the deputy secretary of state, a layer of four undersecretaries and a counselor.
As a result, far too many issues must either be mediated and decided by the secretary or the deputy secretary, or get lost in bureaucratic stalemates below the top level. At best this system places an excessive burden on two already overburdened people. At worst it leaves State unable to formulate clear positions or give clear guidance to the nation’s embassies and missions overseas.
This commission believes that the State Department would function far more efficiently if the undersecretaries were explicitly acknowledged as the policymaking level of State, with each assigned line responsibility and decision-making authority over specified areas. It recommends that you instruct your secretary of state to restructure the State Department so that each bureau would report to one of five undersecretaries, as follows:
—the undersecretary for political affairs (which would remain the number three job in the department) would oversee the six regional bureaus, under the secretary and deputy secretary, with authority for the formulation and coordination of bilateral political affairs, and continue to act as a senior troubleshooter for the secretary and the president;
—a new undersecretary for global and multilateral issues would be established to give the new priorities a voice at the policymaking level of the State Department. It would oversee the newly structured Bureau of Environmental Affairs, as well as the bureaus responsible for refugees, human rights, terrorism, narcotics, population and similar issues that currently have no permanent voice on the seventh floor;
—the undersecretary for economic affairs would directly oversee the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (which is not automatically the case at present), deal closely and continually with the six regional assistant secretaries of state and their economic deputies and actively participate in the work of the Economic Council;
—the undersecretary for international security affairs would take over responsibility for the residual functions of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, which this commission recommends be abolished; and run State’s Political?Military Bureau (which currently has more than one reporting channel to the secretary). This undersecretary should supersede the director of ACDA as the focal point for these important Cold War residual issues, including negotiation and verification of arms control agreements, nuclear proliferation, collective security arrangements, security assistance and arms sales;
—the undersecretary for management would continue to be responsible for State’s administration, budget and personnel.
Defense: Now that the threat for which the U.S. armed forces have been primarily designed is gone, the nation faces a number of complex issues with far-reaching implications—particularly how the military services should be tailored to fit a changed national security environment, while still protecting U.S. interests.
Decisions you must make will have implications, including domestic economic ones, for decades to come. This commission believes these issues require careful and early study. Yet this commission’s limited focus on organizational changes that would enhance your post-Cold War agenda leads it to recommend a significant change in only one area early in your administration: American support of United Nations and other multilateral peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts.
Regional and internal threats to peace will be a staple on the world scene in the years ahead. The crises in Somalia and what was once Yugoslavia are likely to be precursors, not exceptions, and, as was the case in Desert Storm, multilateral or collective action will be preferable to unilateral American responses. Unless the United States relies more on collective solutions to military challenges, they are not likely to be dealt with at all.
This commission believes that greater American support for both U.N. peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts is a national security objective in which policy and a reorganizational effort should move forward together. In his September 21 speech to the U.N. General Assembly President Bush made several useful proposals to improve U.N. peacekeeping capabilities as well as to increase the American support for them. But the U.N. Secretary General has made a series of even more ambitious proposals to which the United States needs to formulate a response.
Peacekeeping is only one role the United Nations is called on to undertake. Peacekeepers can maintain a peaceful situation with a military presence but cannot carry out military operations or bring peace to an area in which fighting is going on, as in the former Yugoslavia. For such contingencies the United Nations must be able to mount collective efforts to enforce peace under chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. Its members must be prepared to deploy combat?ready troops, to marshal the logistics and intelligence necessary to support them and to plan for potential deployments in advance. Without American leadership there is little likelihood of a significant international commitment in this vital area—and the long?term costs to the nation and the world in refugee and relief activities and political chaos will increase enormously.
This commission recommends that you start a process of enhancing U.S. support for U.N. peacekeeping and peacemaking, bringing Congress and American military leaders into the discussions at every stage. It proposes the following measures:
—strengthen responsibility for U.N. and other international peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts in the State Department and Defense Department. Strengthen the staff capability of both the State Department and the Pentagon in this area;
—move the funding for the U.S. contribution to U.N. peacekeeping efforts from the State budget to Defense. While such a funding change is never easy, this commission believes that some form of compromise between the Foreign Affairs Committees and the Armed Services Committees (perhaps joint hearings, as several members of Congress suggested to this commission) would be possible, given the obvious national interests involved;
—establish a major military command, headed by a three- or four-star officer, to support U.N. military operations and, if necessary, U.S. participation in them. This new command would have the responsibility for planning, establishing doctrine and training U.S. forces that might be used in U.N. efforts;
—designate one or two U.S.?based brigades for support of U.N. operations. The current force structure is easily capable of supporting this additional mission. Should military activity commence, these units would come under the control of this command. Actually putting such forces under a U.N. command raises delicate legal and political considerations that must be dealt with on a case?by?case basis with proper congressional approval.
While informal discussions with congressional leaders lead this commission to believe that such proposals are within reach, there will be differences within both Congress and the military about their value. This process can only move forward with strong leadership from you and your secretary of defense.
Some of the most successful agencies of the last fifty years, and some of the most controversial, were the direct result of events that began during World War II and that continued through the Cold War. Agencies that now seem part of Washington’s permanent landscape were in fact postwar creations spawned of wartime innovations. Today these agencies remain intact. Foremost among the areas that require reevaluation are the intelligence community and the CIA; the foreign aid programs, especially the Agency for International Development; and the nuclear laboratories. Their futures cannot be decided without the most thorough study, which will take bipartisan reviews, with congressional participation if possible, before making any organizational proposals to Congress.
Intelligence: As soon as possible you must identify in broad terms what the proper role of intelligence should be in the post-Cold War world. The importance of this issue requires that you establish and have the views of your own task force. Such a review might be conducted by a group composed of your own outside appointees and of select members of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, chaired by your appointee.
This commission then proposes a second study to examine the resources needed for the intelligence mission identified by your first task force and approved by you. OMB should be brought into this second study: resources and funding must match—something often overlooked in the past. Close consultation with the congressional intelligence committees is also essential throughout this process.
Aid: A similar review needs to be undertaken prior to deciding what to do about foreign aid and the Agency for International Development, a beleaguered agency whose functions are still an important part of American foreign policy. The agency’s original rationale was to help combat the spread of communism, even though humanitarian and other motives were always present and important. The United States cannot be a global leader without a meaningful bilateral assistance program, and even a small, well-spent budget can provide vital leadership.
It has been variously suggested that AID’S primary mission should now be to advance the spread of democracy, to promote free market capitalism, to meet pure humanitarian and disaster relief needs, to address environmental protection and sustainable development or to support U.S. exports. Some have argued that AID should try to do all these things. However, the five rationales together may not add up to one compelling justification for a continued program, even at today’s low aid levels—0.2 percent of GDP, the lowest percentage of any industrialized nation except Ireland.
Redesigning the development assistance programs to serve U.S. post-Cold War interests is a complex task. It will take careful study and time. This commission therefore recommends that you appoint a blue ribbon commission to reexamine all aspects of foreign assistance before making any decisions. It should include members of Congress and as many of the affected interest groups as possible.
Nuclear laboratories: A national commission should also be appointed to examine the role of the more than 700 federal labs, which absorb about one?sixth of the nation’s scientific and engineering personnel. Its recommendations will inevitably depend in part on what national technology policy you and Congress decide, and its membership should reflect the broader policy implications of its task. At stake is not only a $20 billion per year budget but also the inestimable costs to the nation if these unmatched human and physical resources are dispersed or lost.
This commission has recommended only changes that contribute to effective policymaking. Inside the White House, a chief of staff and three coequal councils for national security, economic and domestic affairs would provide you with a mechanism for a responsive and coordinated administration.
Outside the White House, structural changes are harder. This commission has focused on correcting some glaring weaknesses in the present system in order to allow you to better address issues that require higher priority. Inevitable difficulties will be eased by making key organizational decisions before announcing senior appointments. Changing the way that government does its business is essential to harnessing it to your purposes.