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TASK FORCES

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In the nature of things special problems and emergency situations call for ad hoc arrangements. The task force has been a natural response. As Secretary Rusk told the subcommittee:

If we were to decide as a matter of theory that task forces are not the right answer, we would still have them because any President or Secretary of State is going to pull together people that he wants to have with him in advising him about

what ought to be done in a given situation. A task force is an interdepartmental committee with extra “oomph." Some task forces have had it; some have not.

Experience to date suggests that a task force can be useful when the following conditions are satisfied:

First: The task force should know for whom it is working and should have a clear assignment-often difficult to achieve in Washington.

Second: A task force must have a chairman-usually an Assistant Secretary or higher officer of the State Department—who will assume personal responsibility for the results.

Third: A task force chairman needs access to the President and the Secretary of State in order to make the work operationally significant.

Fourth: A task force should be quickly and definitively disbanded when the conditions which prompted its establishment have lost their urgency

ACCESS TO INFORMATION If the Secretary of State and his principal assistants are to perform main coordinating roles, they need the fullest possible access to the flow of messages relating to national security. Information is a major source of power. As things now stand, a Secretary of State may not hear of important developments until sometime after a number of other top military and civilian officials have been informed. This state of affairs is not consistent with the responsibilities of the Secretary of State.

The Department of State lacks adequate communications with many countries of the world. This situation is incompatible with the national interest. The cost of fully modern communications is moderate (in comparison with the cost of even a minor military operation in which we might become engaged as a result of poor communications), and the investment is one that should be made.

Also, plans now being developed in the Executive Branch for a National Communications System should ensure that the needs of the Secretary of State are fully met, and that the system, whatever the technical arrangements may be, is operated to his satisfaction.

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VI. The Secretary and Senior Officers

I think we can still say in these days, as in the past, that a good man is hard to find.

I think when we find one who has judgment and courage and intellect and intuitiveness that we should do everything we can to bring him along fast. We have to put him in situations where he can be subjected to real pressure, where he has to take a position, where he can add not only to his know ledge and experience but to his character at the same time * * * You have to give responsibility * * * you have to force the growth.

General Lauris Norstad, Statement before the Senate Subcommittee

on National Security Staffing and Operations, March 11, 1963 A President and a Secretary of State require more officers in key national security jobs who have diversified experience and a wide perspective on policy.

Today, the State Department at home and abroad needs a corps of 400 to 500 men and women, all of whom are qualified for posts equivalent to that of Career Minister or higher. Some will be citizens drawn from private life; there is a place for non-career appointees who have unusual qualifications and who are called upon to serve one or more tours of duty. Most, however, should and will come from the Foreign Service.

The personal qualifications required for top national security jobs are easy to state and hard to find. Among the main ones are: mature judgment that comes with long and varied experience and a good understanding and sense of history; the ability to lead and inspire subordinates; a "feel" for what is operationally significant in a situation;

and a shrewdness in collecting and evaluating evidence. Officials who have long service but who do not measure up to the high standard demanded at the level of Desk Officer and above, should not be permitted to block the way up for those who do. In a Government as large as ours it usually should be possible to find posts where their experience will enable them to be useful, but in no case should mere seniority serve as a claim to a post exceeding a man's abilities.

SPECIALIST VS. GENERALIST

For some years there has been a rather sterile controversy over the relative merits in positions of high responsibility of the so-called specialist and the so-called generalist. The State Department and other national security agencies need both specialists and generalistsspecialists in economics, law, science, communications, and so forth, and generalists-men and women with good judgment.

A generalist is a specialist who has widened his interests and sacrificed extreme specialization, with its rewards, for assignments presenting broader challenges, and the rewards associated with work covering much or all of the range of foreign policy. But a generalist needs a solid foundation in some specialty. Without it he will be all breadth and no depth and will lack the confidence that comes from mastery of a particular field-a confidence, by the way, that springs from an understanding that specialization seldom justifies a claim to speak with authority on complex issues.

In the past, many of the most outstanding career officers of the State Department have been men who had made top-rank reputations in

international law, trade and finance, Soviet affairs, and so on. Today, the Department should have more officers who have made names for themselves in their own specialties and who are accepted as authorities by fellow workers in their own fields. But they cannot be recruited at the beginning rung of the Foreign Service ladder. If one is to earn a reputation of this kind he must complete a full program of graduate work, or its equivalent in terms of practical experience, and spend some time practicing his specialty before entering the Foreign Service. Ambassador Bruce addressed himself to this problem in his testimony to the subcommittee:

I think it would be helpful if everyone in the Foreign Service started out by doing something else, and had some practical experience in business, and, if it were possible, in a profession--in both, or in one or the other.

For example, if it were not for the pressure of wanting to get in at an early age, it certainly would be a good thing if one who is going into the Foreign Service had practiced law

for 5 years—I found it enormously useful myself. The Foreign Service of course offers unique opportunities to develop certain specialties. But too few of the able young Foreign Service officers are allowed to spend enough time in one place or one line of work to become genuine specialists on the affairs of a country or region or subject, even though such specialization may provide a better foundation for high-level posts than a series of assignments designed to "broaden” a man's experience.

In short, “specialization,” properly understood, is not in conflict with the development of generalists, but one way of training people for broad responsibility. As Ambassador Samuel Berger correctly said to the subcommittee:

*** the great need in the Foreign Service is for more officers at the top—whether they are generalists or specialists—who have drive and the kind of experience that enables them to relate one field to another. The Foreign Service has many bright and hard-working specialists and generalists: what it needs is to select, encourage, guide, and train the most promising for appointment to the senior positions.

TRAINING Vs. EXPERIENCE

The Government may be suffering currently from overconfidence in formal educative processes and an overestimation of the benefits of formal training. For the Foreign Service officer, and the officers of most other national security agencies, assuming a good educational background, experience is almost always the best teacher.

Comparisons of time spent in training military officers can be quite misleading. In times of peace the military establishment is in being but not in full operation, while the Foreign Service is wholly engaged, and it can scarcely spare good people for formal education when it does not have enough good people to fill all the critical posts around the world. It does not follow, therefore, that the Foreign Service should have its own educational institutions, just because the military have theirs.

On the job training and experience are likely to be more “educational” for Foreign Service officers than a year at an educational institution. Officers unable to derive wisdom from responsibility for real problems are not likely to grow while sitting in the classroom or in the library.

This is not to say that formal educational opportunities have no place in the training of Foreign Service officers, but to put the utility of such opportunities in proportion to the benefits that can reasonably be expected.

For some officers a chance to catch up with the advances in their fields of specialization or become acquainted with thinking and research in a field new to them may be useful. For this purpose, major reliance should be placed on existing universities and research centers because the instruction is likely to be better than can be provided by a government institution with its special limitations. It is probable

, furthermore, that such a use of existing universities and centers will cost the government less than an effort to create and maintain a high quality graduate school under federal auspices.

For training related to government requirements, better use can be made of interagency job exchanges, like the State-Defense Officer Exchange Program. It is also possible that the mid-career and senior officer programs of the Foreign Service Institute could be strengthened as a way of introducing officers to new and urgent government problems.

Finally, the Service War Colleges, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the National War College, and such comparable programs as the NATO Defense College now provide opportunities for a number of Foreign Service officers and officers from other agencies to study foreign affairs from a new perspective and in association with colleagues from the military services. Foreign Service officers who have had this experience are unanimous in their judgment that it was valuable. At small cost a few additional officers could be enrolled in these institutions.

These suggested steps are modest. But they are practicable, and they are realistic in that they recognize that the most important education a Foreign Service officer obtains is on the job-working, in effect, as an apprentice to the top men in his field.

VII. The Secretary and the Congress

For methods and procedures at their best cannot abolish the deep difficulties of perception, of analysis, of judgment, of persuasion which confront our policymakers now and in the future. Organizational arrangements at their most ingenious cannot rub out the underlying differences of duty, interest, role, perspective, separating Presidency from officialdom-and separating both from Congress, for that matter.

Richard E. Neustadt, Statement before the Senate Subcommittee

on National Security Staffing and Operations, March 25, 1963 In the American system, two men have the chief responsibility for the making and execution of foreign policy-the President and the Secretary of State. But Congress, too, has its responsibilities.

Congress is constitutionally the creator of executive departments, the source of their statutory mandates, and the monitor of their

operations; it authorizes programs; it appropriates funds; it investigates the executive agencies; the laws it passes can help or hinder the government in recruiting and retaining good people; the Senate advises and consents to treaties, and to appointments of Cabinet members, Ambassadors, and other top officials.

In our governmental system the Secretaries of State and Defense and other department heads are not only responsible to the President, but they are also accountable to the Congress for the proper performance of their statutory duties-and for the very good reason that in our system we do not place unlimited confidence or authority in any one man.

An illustration of how things can go wrong in the absence of executive accountability is provided by Hitler's Germany. Robert Lovett, on a postwar inspection trip to Germany, was told by a leading industrialist: * * *

one of the reasons that the German economy collapsed and that the Wehrmacht was left inadequately supplied in the latter days was because under a dictatorship, once a department head got the nod from Hitler, he went ahead as a little dictator and rode his particular hobby without criticism. There was no performance audit run on him as his program

continued.
Robert Lovett added this comment in his 1960 testimony:

* * * if I had to choose between having a congressional com-
mittee breathe on the back of my neck as a form of perform-
ance audit and getting in the position as a department
executive of riding some particular conviction or belief to
the point of defeat I would choose a congressional hearing.
And I still feel that way about it. Appearing before com-
mittees is time consuming, it is exhausting, sometimes ter-
ribly irritating, but on the whole, as long as we have our
form of governmental system, I think it is a necessary part

of it. Our system of government is a system of checks and balances, and despite occasional proposals, usually of academic origin, that we should trade it in on a parliamentary model nothing of the kind is going to happen. The problem is to make our system work better,

It is obvious, as it long has been, that checking and balancing can produce controversy, and sometimes a bruising battle. What is less obvious, perhaps, is that such a condition may reflect real differences of view about national policy-differences that need to be taken seriously. The 1963 Congressional debate over the foreign aid program provides a contemporary case in point.

By the nature of his post, a Secretary of State bears heavy responsibility for developing the support in Congress to sustain public policy. But this task is not without its special problems.

For one, neither the Executive nor the Congress are fully unified. Various executive departments and bureaus may act quite independently in dealing with the Congress. At the same time, the responsibilities of Congress are exercised to a large degree by individual committees in both Houses—for many purposes there is a multitude of little Congresses with which the executive agencies deal. This

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