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potential solutions. The need for this study arose from forty years of conflicting analyses and testimony on the principles for organizing the defense establishment. Through case studies (including the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Pueblo, Mayaguez, Desert One, bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, and Grenada), the SASC staff examined where the U.S. military was experiencing setbacks. It was found that while the Pentagon was focused excessively on preparing for global war with the Soviet Union, the predominant form of conflict activity was indirect aggression that largely occurred in the developing world. With the military mistakenly treating these low-intensity conflicts as lesser-included-cases of large-scale conventional conflict, ad hoc responses led to repeated failures or setbacks. From this analysis, the SASC study concluded, “There is a substantial need to create a strong multi-service, multi- functional, organizational focus for low-intensity warfare and special operations.”11

progressed, William V. “Bill” Cowan from the staff of Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH), joined our team. Cowan, a former Marine, had served as a deputy commander of a clandestine special operations unit. Throughout work on SO/LIC reforms, this staff group worked closely with Senators Cohen and Sam Nunn (D-GA), the SASC’s ranking Democrat, who had formed a bipartisan partnership with Cohen on this issue. Having by this time spent more than three years examining

It proposed the establishment of an office

for low-intensity warfare and special operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). From the beginning, the SASC staff argued for strengthening both SO and LIC capabilities. Key contributors to the SO/LIC portion of the staff study were SASC staffer George K. “Ken” Johnson Jr., a former member of the 5th Special Forces Group, and Christopher K. “Chris” Mellon, of Senator William S. “Bill” Cohen’s (R-ME) personal staff.

While this study was underway, Benjamin F. “Ben”

Schemmer, editor-in-chief of Armed Forces Journal International (AFJI), was mounting a media campaign in support of SOF revitalization. Schemmer was well-informed about defense matters and widely respected in the defense community, especially on Capitol Hill. From February 1985 to April 1986, AFJI published forty-five articles or letters on SOF reform. These included an interview of Koch and articles by Cohen and Daniel. According to Mellon, a telephone call from Schemmer to Cohen actually sparked the senator’s interest in SOF revitalization. Despite deep concern about DoD’s inadequate SO and LIC

capacities, it was decided not to attempt these reforms as part of what became the Goldwater-Nichols Act for three principal reasons. First, the SO/LIC reforms could easily be lost in the larger defense reorganization battle; they could be watered down or negotiated away as part of the resolution of key issues. Second, supporting senators were then few in number. Last, available information had not permitted rigorous organizational analysis. The SO/LIC reforms would have to wait for a more favorable legislative opportunity, possibly that year’s defense authorization bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 1987. After the SASC completed marking up its version of

Goldwater-Nichols on March 6, 1986, and the staff prepared the accompanying report by April 14, it was possible to give increased attention to SO/LIC issues. At Cohen’s request, SASC Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) put me in charge of SO/LIC reform. Ken Johnson and Chris Mellon were key participants in the effort along with Jeffrey H. “Jeff” Smith and Richard D. “Rick” Finn Jr., SASC staffers who had joined me to form the nucleus of the Goldwater-Nichols effort. As this work

DoD’s organization and preparing a 645-page staff study, this small team was well-prepared to formulate effective proposals for revitalizing SO and LIC capabilities. Our initial ideas focused on creation of a unified command for SOF, an assistant secretary of defense for SO and LIC, and reforms at the National Security Council to integrate all instruments of national power in low-intensity conflicts. Although we were convinced that these approaches had great merit, prescribing them in law ran counter to two key principles from Goldwater-Nichols. First, Congress had never prescribed a unified command in law. In fact, the Senate version of Goldwater-Nichols would remove restrictions in law that had prevented the creation of the U.S. Transportation Command and assignment of the Alaska Command as a subordinate unified command of the U.S. Pacific Command. Second, a central tenet of Goldwater-Nichols was to reduce Congress’s tendency to micromanage DoD’s organization. One area of concern was that Congress had designated many of the assistant secretary of defense positions, denying the secretary of defense flexibility in how he used senior subordinates. The staff proposed and Cohen and Nunn concurred on

an approach that used the threat of legislation -- which Chris Mellon took the lead in drafting -- to motivate the Pentagon to propose effective SO/LIC reforms. As a first step in that strategy, on May 15, 1986, Cohen (with Nunn as a cosponsor) introduced S. 2453, “a bill to enhance the ability of the United States to combat terrorism and other forms of unconventional warfare.” S. 2453 had four major features: (1) establishment of an assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict; (2) requirement for establishing a unified command for SOF; (3) establishment of a Board for Low- Intensity Conflict within the National Security Council; and (4) Sense of the Congress regarding the appointment of a Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for Low-Intensity Conflict. Cohen and Nunn gave long statements on the Senate floor in support of the need for strengthening SO and LIC capabilities.12 Congressmen Daniel and his senior staffer had been

equally busy. On June 26, Daniel introduced H.R. 5109, “to establish a National Special Operations Agency within the Department of Defense to have unified responsibility for all special operations forces and activities within the Department.” The bill had twenty-eight cosponsors, including many powerful HASC members. Creation of the National Special Operations Agency was the bill’s central feature. Other key provisions would require the agency’s director to be a civilian and position him in the chain of command from the secretary of defense to all SOF assigned to the agency. One novel idea would give the director responsibility for preparing, justifying, and executing the budget for the agency. Another would require funding for

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