Beyond Goldwater-Nichols Phase I Report

Defense Reform for a New Strategic Era

The BG-N study team takes a broad view of defense reform, as is necessary in the new strategic era. No longer can defense reform be confined simply to the institutions and functions of the Department of Defense (DoD). Rather, Beyond Goldwater-Nichols (BG-N) recognizes that for the United States to fully seize opportunities and confront threats in the 21st century, both DoD and its partners in the U.S. government must adapt to new strategic circumstances.

The Beyond Goldwater-Nichols study team has concluded that the U.S. national security apparatus requires significant reforms to meet the challenges of a new strategic era. As part of its transformational efforts, the Department of Defense must adapt not only to the post-Cold War, post-9/11 security environment but also must cope with many “hidden failures” that, while not preventing operational success per se, stifle necessary innovation and continue to squander critical resources in terms of time and money. Many organizational structures and processes initially constructed to contain a Cold War superpower in the Industrial Age are inappropriate for 21st century missions in an Information Age.

The key issues that Phase 1 identified for defense reform were: Rationalizing Organizational Structures in the Department of Defense; Toward a More Effective Resource Allocation Process; Procuring Joint Capabilities; Strengthening Civilian Professionals in Defense and National Security; Improving Interagency and Coalition Operations; and Strengthening Congressional Oversight.

Clark A. Murdock

Clark A. Murdock

Former Senior Adviser (Non-resident), International Security Program

Michael A. Coss, Adam N. Marks, Richard W. Weitz

Clark A. Murdock, Michele A. Flournoy, Christopher A. Williams, Kurt M. Campbell