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ADMINISTRATION OF NATIONAL SECURITY

THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 1964

U.S. SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY

STAFFING AND OPERATIONS,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS,

Washington, D.C. [This hearing was held in executive session and subsequently ordered made public by the chairman of the committee.]

The subcommittee met at 9 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 3112, New Senate Office Building, Senator Henry M. Jackson (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present : Senators Jackson, Pell, Brewster, Javits, and Miller. Staff members present: Dorothy Fosdick, staff director; Robert W. Tufts, chief consultant; Richard S. Page, research assistant; Judith J. "Spahr, chief clerk; and Laurel A. Engberg, minority consultant.

Also present : Major John W. Seigle, Assistant Professor, National Security Problems, Department of Social Sciences, U.S. Military Academy.

OPENING STATEMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN Senator JACKSON. The subcommittee will be in order. As part of its review of the administration of national security in Washington and in the field, our subcommittee has been asking a number of diplomatic and military authorities to come before us and talk about issues we are studying.

This morning we are privileged to have as our witness Colonel George A. Lincoln, Professor of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy, West Point. With his special knowledge and experience, we have asked Colonel Lincoln to discuss with us changes in the military profession, in particular the problem of the modern military officer in preserving the values of his profession with its special duties, disciplines, and skills while opening it up to the challenge of new ideas and to the competition of men from other disciplines involved in the policy-making process. Colonel George A. Lincoln

is one of the distinguished teachers of our time. Appointed Professor of Social Sciences at West Point in 1947, he has been head of the Department of Social Sciences since 1954. Choosing to make his contribution chiefly in the role of teacher, Colonel Lincoln has inspired and directed hundreds of able young people-both students in his classes and junior officers who have worked with him over the years as faculty colleagues.

Colonel Lincoln is no cloistered academician. His experience includes service with the General Staff, War Department, 1943-47; military adviser to the Secretary of State, Paris Peace Conference, 1946; deputy to the Under Secretary of the Army, 1948-49; Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, 1951-53; member of the U.S. Delegation to NATO, 1951-52; and member of the Gaither Committee in 1957.

He has received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster (U.S.).

When Brigadier General George A. Lincoln decided to make his career as professor at West Point he reverted to the permanent grade of Colonel. He will, however, return to the grade of Brigadier General when he retires from the military_service. Like his respected predecessor at West Point, Herman Beukema, Colonel Lincoln will have done at least as much for his country as most generals who retire with five stars.

Before calling on our witness today, I should like, with the permission of the other members, to place in the record at this point the text of an address I made this month, which indicates some of the issues we are interested in. If there is no objection, we will include the text at this point. EXECUTIVES, EXPERTS AND NATIONAL SECURITY

by

Senator Henry M. Jackson (Commencement Address to the Foreign Service Institute Senior Seminar,

Department of State, June 11, 1964) I am highly honored to join in this graduation ceremony and to address this select gathering.

You are professionals, or experts—diplomatic, military, economic and what I am primarily interested in this afternoon is the relationship between you as professionals and the executives for whom you work.

In policy-making we start with the facts. The situation is what it is. If it is good, we hope to keep it that way. If it is bad, we hope to change it for the better. Facts are facts, and pigs is pigs, but the facts are not immutable and bacon may be the destiny of a pig.

If it were otherwise, to make policy would be to pound one's head against the wall. Although that description sometimes seems all too accurate, the mutability of facts lies at the heart of policy-making.

It is worth underscoring this bit of wisdom. There are some people who speak of facts as something we ought to adjust to, not as something we ought to adjust. Some people think of policy as a mere response to facts, not as & line of conduct to influence the facts. Some of them are even getting headlines as the “New Realists."

Now, as you well know, a good deal of time in government is spent in trying to decide what the facts are, why they are what they are, and what may be the consequences of choosing one course of action or another.

Here, then, is where the executive needs the expert's help. Unfortunately, the experts often disagree, and it seems to be a rule that the more important the issue, the more likely they are to disagree. If every event had a Pearl Harbor clarity, policy-making would be a lot easier than it is. But, as the citizens of Troy discovered, appearances may be deceiving.

When the experts disagree, how do we proceed? A Hitler tried intuition. But the only sound way we have discovered is to grant the experts a full hearing within the councils of government. The experts who make the most convincing case may be right, or they may be wrong; the process is not guaranteed to produce the correct results, but it is the best process we have been able to devise.

All this underlines the importance of a certain amount of contention in the system. We need more than one intelligence office, more than one hierarchy

of experts, if we are to get all the issues out on the table, where they can be recognized. “Streamlining" and "unifying" can be carried to costly lengths. The life and death issues of national security are too important to sacrifice a healthy competition in the name of efficiency.

The executive has to weigh the competing views before making his choice. He has to function as a generalist--a generalist being a specialist on the sum totalfor at the point of decision, he must make a net calculation of advantage and disadvantage. Like the business executive, he is trying to maximize to make the choice which, all things considered, will maximize the difference between the credits and the debits. The task of the businessman is far easier in making the profit-maximizing choice because the variables are fewer and more pre dictable than the problem of the policy-maker in maximizing the net national interest. But even businessmen have been known to make mistakes.

One reason, I think, why men who have distinguished themselves in the law or in investment banking have often distinguished themselves in government is that success in their private careers is closely correlated with their skill and shrewdness in judging the competence of experts_in sensing when to have confidence in expert testimony and when not to. It is a skill that comes from dealing with people rather than with numbers or things or production lines.

I I were to stop here, however, I would have left the most important things unsaid. As always, these are the hardest to say. They concern the quality and nature of the relationship between political authorities and professional authorities and do not, therefore, lend themselves to precise statement.

First: Let me say that in my judgment the question of civilian, or political, control is not a real issue. The key decisions in national security affairs have been and will be made by the political authorities.

We have in this country a healthy distrust of the concentration of power. I say "healthy” because it is so easy for a man to confuse his possession of power with the possession of wisdom. The tendency is difficult to resist, as every parent knows. The American people wisely suspect claims to omniscience.

One of the great advantages of civilian supremacy is that truly democratic politics rests on that old principle known as "throwing the rascals out." I power must be concentrated-and it must-we want to concentrate it in the hands of men who can be turned out of office at the next election.

And not being wholly confident even of the efficacy of this principle, we have also built into our system a division of political authority, of what we call "checks and balances." Within the Executive Branch one department debates with and checks another; the Legislative Branch checks and balances the Executive; and an independent Judiciary Branch is alert to the abuse of power by the other two.

If some of you think this system sometimes functions less than perfectly, you might ponder Winston Churchill's observation that democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man-except for all the others.

Second: The new developments in science and technology mean that a greater centralization of authority is possible now than ever before. In particular, systems for storing and retrieving information and for testing quantifiable hypotheses are giving the political authorities, especially the chiefs of the great executive departments, means of central control that differ in kind, not just in degree, from those of an earlier day.

These changes are long-term and largely irreversible. We find them in busi. ness, in education, and in government. They profoundly affect the relation of the executive to his advisers. The executive can know more details than he used to; he can ask more questions and get more answers before making his decisions. And although specialities are becoming more specialized, it is also true that advice is no longer so neatly compartmented into diplomatic, economic, military, and scientific pigeon-holes as it once was. The closed societies of experts are being opened up and exposed to competition. This is true in all fields. The physicist has something to say about biology. The sociologist has a lot to say about economic development. The diplomat and the scientist and of course the economist have contributions to make in an area that the military once thought was its almost exclusive preserve.

On the whole this intermingling is desirable. It should make possible a better understanding of our problems and a better integration, a better coordination of the factors bearing on a decision.

Particularly in the cases of the professional military officer and the professional diplomat, these developments present a difficult dilemma. The military officer serves in an old profession concerned with the “management of violence";

the diplomat's calling, equally ancient, might be described as the “management of national interests” in a world in which such interests are often in conflict. Because of the nature of their responsibilities, discipline, honor, a sense of duty have been, and remain, of major importance.

The dilemma of the diplomat, as for the soldier, is to preserve and conserve the values of his profession with its special duties and disciplines and skills, while opening it up to new influences, to the challenge of fresh ideas, to the competition of men from other disciplines. The adjustment is not made easier by the fact that, as is so often true in life, the newcomers are inclined to be a bit brash, a bit disrespectful of established ways, a bit overconfident in their approaches, a bit skeptical of the lessons of experience.

No one really has a right to be the “trusted adviser." It is a privilege that must be earned by showing that one's views merit attention. Of course, it is also true that those who are in positions of authority have an obligation to seek advice. And they will. A President or a Secretary of State or a Secretary of Defense will turn to the people who they think can help them. They will seek where they can find-or hope that they can find.

In all frankness, I think some career men have been a little too inclined to complain that they are not being listened to—instead of buckling down to the job of competing with experts from other fields, learning enough about other disciplines to enrich the advice they have to give, while introducing valuable insights derived from their own professional experience.

I am confident that the future of the diplomatic profession-and the military-lies with those young men and women-young in spirit, that is, not necessarily young in years—who are receptive to new ideas and prepared to learn and appropriate good ideas from a variety of sources while remaining respectful of those qualities and faithful to those values which have distinguished their professions and which ought to be preserved.

Third: Science and technology, as I have said, have contributed to a centralization of authority, and herein lies a danger-the old, familiar danger of excessive concentration of power. Centralization yields dividends, and therefore we will centralize. But there is a corollary danger: the possibility that power can be misused or abused is an increasing function of the concentration of power.

What can usefully be said about this ancient subject? Perhaps not much that is new.

The more concentrated power is, the more restraint, the more humility, should be shown by the holders of power. In his own interest, the executive needs to show respect for his advisers, or he will find that the advice they give him will be corrupted. It is difficult in the best of circumstances for the powerful to escape the Ye8-Man hazard. One of an executive's major tasks is to create a climate in which dissent is encouraged and welcomed, even though the recommendation of the dissenter is rejected. The clear-eyed executive will understand that he should be concerned about the possibility that he may, with the best of intentions, misuse his power-through some lack of sophistication, some mistake in judgment, or some shading of the truth to protect his personal reputation-and that the right of his advisers to differ is a healthy check on his exercise of the powers entrusted to him.

An executive should, therefore, scrupulously avoid retaliatory or vindictire measures against those who disagree with him. He should be loyal to his subordinates if he expects loyalty of them.

More than that, in our system of divided political authority, he should accept and even champion their right to give their honest advice when they appear, in accordance with our constitutional processes, before Congressional committees. For the ability of the Congress to avail itself of honest testimony is a necessary requirement for sound legislation and for dependable appraisal of national problems. Furthermore, it is the only insurance the Congress has that it will get enough information to meet its constitutional responsibility to exercise financial control of the federal budget-including the defense budget.

It is no secret that executive authorities may destroy a good idea whose time has really come. The merit of a new idea can never be absolutely established in advance. No idea is so good that it cannot be killed by over-analysis-or stunted by compromise in the process of winning acceptance.

For example, have we been imaginative in applying new doctrine and new technology to the waging of counter-insurgency actions? Have we substituted a basty review of foreign aid-aimed at passing a particular appropriation billfor a basic look at the role of economic assistance as a tool of American foreign policy? Are we really exploring the possible lines along which satisfactory understandings might be found with our NATO allies—understandings reflect

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ing the growing power of Western European countries and reconciling the members' divergent conceptions of their national needs?

Indeed, the diplomatic or military bureaucracy itself—like any big bureaucracy-actually stultifies much creative effort. In this regard, the need is for more top career officers who measure up to the high standard set by General George C. Marshall. As Robert Lovett has described him for us, General Marshall recognized that:

change is, indeed, one of the primary laws of life. His receptiveness to new ideas * * * for example, in the use of airpower and in the Marshall plan, was made easier by this philosophy, for he was not burdened with the attitude of mind which regards any change as a threat to the established order-or vested rights, if you choose which must, therefore, be automatically, even blindly

resisted. One of this country's great economists spoke of capitalism as a process of “Creative Destruction." This was, as he saw it, the basis of the extraordinary economic progress made by capitalist systems. It was possible because free enterprise permitted the good new idea to destroy the obsolete idea. The vested interest could not block the upstart.

We need to find the equivalent of this process of “Creative Destruction" in government. In particular, our career services must become more hospitable to new concepts. I would like you to think about the possibility of developing what might be called a “Venture Capital Philosophy" for the career services, in terms of which the creative and talented mind is not discouraged—but is positively encouraged.

Fourth: With the increased concentration of power in the heads of our great executive departments and the President, Congress has an enhanced responsibility to play its checking and balancing role that is, to subject to its tests the judge ment of those in position of authority in the Executive Branch.

Under our Constitution, Congress is the creator of executive departments, the source of their statutory mandates, and the monitor of their operations; it authorizes programs and it appropriates funds. In our system, the Secretaries of State and Defense and other department chiefs are not only responsible to the President, but they are also accountable to the Congress for the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities—for the excellent reason that we do not place unlimited trust or power in any one man.

At the very heart of the American system of government-in contrast to dictatorship—is the principle and practice of Congressional review—the duty of the legislature to cross-examine the powerful.

And let me add that if the Congress is to be effective in its vital function of review of executive activities there is no satisfactory substitute for members of Congress, particularly those on the key committees, personally involving themselves in the day-in-and-day-out pick and shovel work.

No doubt Congress can and should improve its procedures. For one thing, we are now much too easy on executive branch oficials who come up to the Hill and say "If you will just give us the money, we can do it”-and then they don't do it. But, back they come, the next year, singing the same kind of song and making the same kind of rosy promises. We need to find better ways to get across to Executive Branch officials that if they don't bestir themselves and implement the assurances they give us, their presence for future false assurances will not be welcomed. We also need to strengthen our means to audit, through the appropriate Congressional committees, the actual accomplishments of executive programs.

One of the major purposes of Congressional consideration is an educational one. So long as we rely on the democratic system, the ultimate test of a policy is its acceptance by the people. In the final analysis, the people must be persuaded of the wisdom of the policies and programs they are asked to supportand to pay for. Congressional study and debate can be a vital element in this educational process.

My last point is this: With the greater and graver responsibilities of today's government officials, our system of free elections takes on added importance.

An Illustration of how things can go from bad to worse in the absence of free elections is provided by Hitler's Germany–where the people lost the means to call the tyrant and his retainers to account and to retire them from office as their program unfolded.

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