Passed in October 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act has governed the structure of the Pentagon for nearly three decades. The law was a response to the military’s poor performance in military operations during the 1970s and early 1980s, civilian dissatisfaction with military advice, and poor strategic planning and resource allocation. Among other things, Goldwater-Nichols made the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the chief military advisor to the president, enlarged the Joint Staff, and encouraged “jointness” among the military services. While some argue the law fixed many of the major problems with the military its authors identified, Senator John McCain announced earlier this year that he would review Goldwater-Nichols with an eye toward reforming it.

On Tuesday, September 22nd the Niskanen Center will hold a panel to discuss Goldwater-Nichols, its impact on the U.S. Military, and possible reforms to the legislation.

“Goldwater-Nichols: Past, Present, and Prospects for Reform” will take place from 1-2pm in room 121 of Cannon House Office Building. I will act as moderator for the event. Speakers include a trio of experts on defense politics. Benjamin Friedman is a research fellow for defense and homeland security at the Cato Institute. Christopher Lamb is the deputy director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for resources and plans. Finally, Jim Thomas is the vice president and director of studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for resources and plans as well.

Lunch will be served at the event. We look forward seeing you there.

View the event announcement here.

Register for the event here.