A GENERAL REBUTTALArmchair Generalist
responded to my critique in the comments and crossposted on Liberals Against Terrorism:"I think you miss my point - I'm not as concerned about the cost of fabric (although you do, I think, underestimate the price differences of DLA's ordering millions of fatigues a year and their point of view on economies of scale) as I am the mindset. You say "Jointness is better expressed in such elements as communications equipment and military doctrines that cultivate interservice teamwork while letting each unit do what is designed to do well." Well, here's the thing - the services don't like joint, they write joint doctrine to be all-encompassing of all four services' unique views and practices instead of refining it from a top-down, slimmer joint aspect. Here it is, what, 20 years after Grenada and we still can't get the four services to use one version of GCCS or use one standard logistics reporting format. I merely meant that this uniform issue is indicative of the deeper feelings within the four services. I don't fault Rumsfeld for not forcing them to go standard, just that Rumsfeld's goal of going joint appears to be weakening as a result of this symptom."
Let me say that, in general, I do not disagree that the armed services could use a healthy dose of " slimmer jointness" particularly on such things as a logistics reporting format and even bigger ticket items like aircraft. It would be far more economical both in money and use of military assets to increase the genuine adherence to the concept.
On the uniforms issue, lets say we save, say, $ 450 million - a not insubstantial sum - by imposing a joint uniform on the services. You would not only affect morale of active duty personnel up to the general officer rank in what would be the black beret debacle x 10 but you also enrage the veterans groups and members of Congress with prior military service. My guess is Congress reverses that decision with alacrity and - should you prevail - important people who might have helped you on more substantive and less controversial jointness reforms are looking to settle a score with you on round II. A very poor cost to benefit ratio for expended political capital, no ?
My thoughts on Rumsfeld is that he will use the war as an excuse to leapfrog over a lot of service objections to concentrate on restructuring the services organizationally in terms of mission execution. Elevating SOCOM to an independent command will eventually be seen as one of his more conservative reforms, assuming he gets as far as I'm speculating he wants to go.
Thomas Barnett has written in terms of a " Leviathan " and " System Administration
" division of labor. Even if you don't buy into PNM theory as I do I believe Iraq has taught a hard lesson that counterinsurgency, counterterrorism operations, stabilization and reconstruction and peacekeeping cannot be done by the seat of our pants in the wake of major conventional operations. We have to retool to carry out these tasks well because they will determine if intervention efforts ultimately bear fruit or lapse in to a different kind of problem.