Goldwater-Nichols Act for Homeland Security   [open pdf - 318KB]

This report is part of chapter two of five chapters in the series: Threats at Our Threshold: Homeland Defense and Homeland Security in the New Century: A Compilation of the Proceedings of the First Annual Homeland Defense and Homeland Security Conference. The following is taken from the introduction of the report: "All cabinet-level departments need to join together in a Goldwater- Nichols type reform to look at man-made and natural threats and government responses in an integrated manner. By creating better communication and synergistic efforts our government will be better equipped to handle, in a cost effective manner, the outcome of a terrorist act or natural disaster. This course of action will drive a holistic approach for the development of capabilities that will be flexible and resilient while providing a proactive capability to prevent some of the threats facing us today and in the future. The attempted rescue of U.S. hostages held captive by Iranians in 1980 was categorized as unsuccessful, not just for its failed effort, but also because of a plethora of interoperability issues. For example, Marine Corps pilots were operating unfamiliar Navy helicopters, covertly inserting Army Special Forces to waiting Air Force refueling platforms, and while its joint concept appeared fluid, the operation was nevertheless chaotic. Interoperability issues would also plague the U.S. efforts in Grenada three years later. 'Who,' asked Colonel O. E. Jensen, 'hasn't heard about the soldier who called from a phone booth on Grenada back to the States to get a message passed to U.S. Navy ships lying in sight offshore? Who doesn't know that the ATO [Air Tasking Order] in the Gulf War had to be printed, copied, and carried to the Navy by hand because communication systems were incompatible? Such incompatibility could cost lives in the next war."

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