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Reorganizing the Department of Defense

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Over at 1945, I pick up on a proposal by Representative Elaine Luria

A new proposal from Representative Elaine Luria calls for just such a re-organization. Luria, a US Navy veteran, believes that the maritime forces are central to competition with China and that the Pentagon is poorly organized for designing maritime strategy. She identifies the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, with its emphasis on jointness and inter-service cooperation, as the biggest obstacle to developing a new maritime strategy and fielding the forces necessary to carry that strategy out. Luria’s critique echoes other analysts who have argued that the current structure of DoD leaves the maritime services ill-prepared for competition with China.

If there is to be a reorganization, now is surely the time to do it. Reorganizations always create chaos and onerous demands for administrative resources, and new structures always require a degree of calibration. While Sino-American relations have deteriorated substantially over the past four years, it does not seem likely that either Beijing or Washington want war right now.  Moreover, the creation of the US Space Force suggests that there is at least a bit of institutional malleability in DoD at the moment.

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