Defense Reform: Yes, But How? (and more from CRS)

04.25.16 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the organization and performance of the Department of Defense, a new Congressional Research Service report says, but no consensus on what to do about it.

Driving the current debate, CRS says, are questions such as:

*     “Why, after the expenditure of nearly $1.6 trillion and over 15 years at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, has the United States had such difficulty translating tactical and operational victories into sustainable political outcomes?”

*     “Why, despite the expenditure of over $600 billion per year on defense, is the readiness of the force approaching critically low levels, according to military officials, while the number of platforms and capabilities being produced are generally short of perceived requirements?”

*     “Why, despite tactical and operational adaptations around the world, is DOD often seen as having difficulty formulating strategies and policies in sufficient time to adapt to and meet the increasingly dynamic threat environment?”

“Taken together, […] the issues raised by these questions suggest the systemic nature of the challenges with which the Department of Defense appears to be grappling. In other words, they suggest that DOD’s organizational architecture and culture may merit serious review and analysis.”

“This report is intended to assist Congress as it evaluates the variety of reform proposals currently under discussion.” See Goldwater-Nichols at 30: Defense Reform and Issues for Congress, April 20, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following.

Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2016, updated April 20, 2016

The World Drug Problem: UNGA Convenes for a Special Session, CRS Insight, April 20, 2016

Climate Change Paris Agreement Opens for Signature, CRS Insight, April 20, 2016

Negative Interest Rates, CRS Insight, April 20, 2016

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa, April 22, 2016

Department of Education Funding: Key Concepts and FAQ, April 22, 2016

Congressional Nominations to U.S. Service Academies: An Overview and Resources for Outreach and Management, updated April 21, 2016

Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, April 21, 2016

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy, updated April 20, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, updated April 22, 2016

Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation, updated April 22, 2016

Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis, updated April 21, 2016