In the coming weeks, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is expected to propose changes to the military commander structure currently outlined in the Goldwater-Nichols Act.
Carter stated during a Politico event that his proposed changes would require congressional approval.
“We’ll be discussing that with them and hearing their ideas and trying to come up with the best possible ideas for the country going forward,” Carter said in reference to the 1986 law.
While Secretary Carter acknowledged that the Goldwater-Nichols Act was crucial during the time of its passing, he also added that the current combatant chain of command needs to be re-evaluated.
Secretary Carter is not the only one pushing change to the command structure. John McCain, Senate Armed Services Chairman, will also conduct a review of the Act which organized the operational chain of command which runs from the President to the Defense Secretary to the military combatant commanders. Former combatant commanders are also questioning whether dividing the world into six geographic commands is the best solution given the fact that “modern threats are increasingly global and transcend boundaries.”
According to Secretary Carter, proposed changes could also transform the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who advise the secretary of defense and the president, but are not included in the direct chain of command that oversees fighting forces.
Secretary Carter closed by stating, “I depend on the Joint Chiefs of Staff…I’d like to strengthen their role. I don’t want to do that in any way that subtracts from their ability to also give independent military advice…but we can have both of those things at the same time.”