Revisiting Goldwater-Nichols: Why Making the Joint Staff A General Staff will Improve Civilian Control of the Military and Refine the Constitutional Balance of War Powers
As the United States has progressively become more involved globally since World War II, the U.S. military is being stretched beyond the professional military competency straining civilian control of the military. To remedy this, it is again time to revisit our national security structure, and adopt a General Staff in place of the Joint Staff. Following World War II and the destruction of the German General Staff by the Nazi Party, the General Staff as an institution has been emotionally rejected in the United States without a careful historical and legal examination of how that institution operates under varying forms of government and without an understanding of how it would operate under the United States’ peculiar constitutional form of government. Exploring the historical and legal roots of the General Staff demonstrates that replacing the Joint Staff with a General Staff subordinated into the chain of command will act as a check on the ever-expanding influence of the military, while at the same time strengthening the military’s ability to decisively defend U.S. national interests. Further, a General Staff will clarify the constitutional separation of military powers in a way that mitigates the politicizing effects of the separation of powers doctrine restoring balance to the constitutional division of military powers.
Michael D. Minerva
"Revisiting Goldwater-Nichols: Why Making the Joint Staff A General Staff will Improve Civilian Control of the Military and Refine the Constitutional Balance of War Powers,"
American University National Security Law Brief,
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/nslb/vol13/iss1/3