Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon

Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon




About the Author:
James R. Locher III, a graduate of West Point and Harvard Business School, began his career in Washington as an executive trainee in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has worked in the White House, the Pentagon, and the Senate. During the period covered by this book, he was a staff member for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. Since then, he has served as an assistant secretary of defense in the first Bush and the early Clinton administrations. Currently, he works as a consultant and lecturer on defense matters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585441877
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication date: 01/01/2002
Series: Texas A&M University Military History Series
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.73(d)

Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsVIII
List of AcronymsXVII
Prologue: Turf, Power, Service3
Part 1The Fog of Defense Organization
Chapter 1.The Rise of Service Supremacists15
Chapter 2.Jones Breaks Ranks33
Chapter 3.The House Fires the First Shot59
Chapter 4.Texas Politics82
Chapter 5.Unfinished Business94
Chapter 6.Misfire in the Senate113
Part 2Drawing Battle Lines
Chapter 7.Beirut141
Chapter 8.Scholars and Old Soldiers164
Chapter 9.Nichols Runs Tower's Blockade181
Chapter 10.Crowe Makes Waves195
Chapter 11.Goldwater and Nunn Close Ranks213
Chapter 12.Weinberger Stonewalls234
Chapter 13.Naval Gunfire252
Part 3Marshaling Forces
Chapter 14.McFarlane Outtlanks the Pentagon277
Chapter 15.Trench Warfare299
Chapter 16.Playing the Media Card320
Chapter 17.Gathering of Eagles333
Chapter 18.Expedition into Hostile Territory346
Part 4March to Victory
Chapter 19.Seizing the High Ground357
Chapter 20.Transition to the Offensive374
Chapter 21.The Packard Commission Reinforces391
Chapter 22.The Decisive Battle399
Chapter 23.Mopping-Up Operations414
Chapter 24.The Commander in Chief Approves429
Epilogue: Unified at Last437
1.Senators Barry Goldwater and Sam Nunn6
2.Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, December, 19857
3.Admiral William D. Leahy at a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 194421
4.President Harry S. Truman and General Dwight D. Eisenhower27
5.General David C. Jones35
6.Burned-out U.S. helicopter at Desert One46
7.Members of the JCS meet in the Pentagon, November, 197956
8.Major Arch Barrett next to his F-4 aircraft61
9.General Edward "Shy" Meyer66
10."A Disagreement? Us?"72
11.Admiral Tom Hayward and Sen. John Tower86
12.Second Lieutenant William F. Nichols96
13.Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Cong. Bill Nichols100
14.Defense Department Organizational Chart, July, 1984117
15.Senator John Tower and Jim Locher121
16."I Believe I Do See a Little Something"123
17.Defense bureaucratic warfare128
18.General P. X. Kelley visiting the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in Beirut145
19.Congressman Bill Nichols with Alabama Marines in Lebanon149
20.A view of the destruction following the bombing of the battalion landing team headquarters building151
21.Senator Goldwater as a cadet captain, 1928217
22.Senators Goldwater and Nunn232
23."Our New Land-Based Missiles Will Launch from Super-Hardened, Inflexible, Inpenetrable Positions ..."241
24.Defense Secretary Weinberger and President Reagan243
25.Secretary of the Navy John Lehman258
26."So, As You Can See--That Item was Really a Bargain."291
27.President Reagan announces the creation of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management297
28.Paratroopers from the 82d Airborne Division312
29."What do They Mean We're not Combat-Ready?"370
30."What Command Problems?"371
31."Reduce the Authority of the Joint Chiefs?"372
32."In Your Hearts You Know He's Right."372
33.Senators Strom Thurmond and Sam Nunn389
34.Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, June 18, 1986402
35.Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird and Navy Secretary John W. Warner405
36.Senator Sam Nunn and Cong. Les Aspin420
37.Senator Goldwater, Jim Locher, Barbara Brown, Jeff Smith, and Senator Nunn434
38.General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Defense Secretary Richard Cheney, Pres. George Bush, and Gen. Colin Powell445

What People are Saying About This

Michael B. Donley

Locher weaves contemporary events into a rich tapestry of insights on the constitutional separation of powers, military history, legislative politics, and civil-military relations. This authoritative account of how a good idea became public law must be read by every military officer and student of government. (Michael B. Donley, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force)

John H. Cushman Sr.

. . . a masterful and exciting story, the stunning denouement of which was passage of the long overdue 1986 Goldwater-Nichols legislation—to the dismay of those who had long opposed such measures and to the benefit of the United States and the armed forces that serve it. (Lt. Gen. John H. Cushman, Sr., former Commander of I Corps Group in Korea)

Bernard W. Rogers

Locher's chapter on Beirut reveals for the first time a true account of the circumstances of this tragedy and the crippling consequences of organizational defects. Every joint officer must know and every American will want to understand this pivotal history. (Gen. Bernard W. Rogers, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe)

W. Y. Smith

Jim Locher gives us his thoroughly researched, well-thought- out, insider's view of the hard-fought struggle in Congress and the Pentagon to shift power from the military departments to a Joint Chiefs chairman and a reinvigorated Joint Staff under his control. (Gen. W. Y. Smith, former Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command)

Sean O'Keefe

. . . the first comprehensive account of the how and why of the historic Goldwater-Nichols legislation. Uniquely, this important book offers the insight of an individual who was there at the creation and served to bring it to life. This is a classic work not to be missed. (Sean O'Keefe, former Secretary of the Navy)

William K. Brehm

This volume is of immense historical interest; but it also has everything the most demanding mystery reader could hope for: a plot with many twists; diverse, interesting, well defined characters; intrigue at the highest (and sometimes the lowest) levels; and a satisfying ending (though as the book suggests, there is still much to do). (William K. Brehm, former Assistant Secretary of Defense)

Archie D. Barrett

Generations of historians will consider Jim Locher's book the authoritative record of one of the most important defense laws in the nation's history. But this important book speaks to a much broader audience of scholars, students, and citizens. The book, showing Congress in one of its finest hours, provides a much-needed counterpoise to the negative perspective of Capitol Hill held by many citizens. (Archie D. Barrett, senior House of Representatives staffer for the Goldwater-Nichols Act)

William J. Crowe Jr.

I wish I could have read this book before I became JCS Chairman. . . . a goldmine of insights on the American military . . . provides a fascinating and enlightening account of the push and pulls of U.S. defense policy. Unquestionably an important book for those who want to better understand American military policy, history, and direction for the future. (Adm. William J. Crowe, Jr., former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Robert McFarlane

For twenty years as a Marine and nine more in the White House . . . I watched with growing anguish the pointless loss of life caused by dysfunctional Pentagon decision making. The best tribute to Jim Locher's role in passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act—so well recorded in Victory on the Potomac—lies in the lives saved throughout future generations. (Robert C. "Bud" McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan)

David C. Jones

The 1986 Defense Reorganization Act has made a dramatic improvement in how our armed services work together in peace and war. These changes would not have been possible without the efforts of Jim Locher. . . . a must read for anyone who is interested in bringing about changes in large bureaucratic organizations. (Gen. David C. Jones, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Edward C. Meyer

Locher had a ringside seat at the most important change in the U.S. military establishment since the 1947 creation of the secretary of defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff. His insights into the Goldwater- Nichols Act provide an unparalleled view of a critical instance in history—one which contributed significantly to success in the Gulf War! (Gen. Edward C. "Shy" Meyer, former Army Chief of Staff)

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