DoD Buzz

First DoD Reorg Underway; Strategy Boost in Policy


The OSD Policy shop, reflecting its boss' predilections and intentions, is reorganizing and plans to elevate strategy to one of the top positions reporting to Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy.

DoDBuzz got a copy of part of a larger briefing Flournoy put together on the direction her very important part of the Pentagon will take. The biggest change is Flournoy's creation of a new position of deputy undersecretary for strategy, plans and forces. Under that person will be three deputy assistant secretaries, one dealing with strategy, one with plans and one with forces. Given Flournoy's background as head of strategy under the Clinton Administration the pick for this position will be extremely revealing of her intentions.

Almost as noteworthy as the new deputy undersecretary is the new assistant secretary for global strategic affairs, who will lead three DASDs, one focused on counter-WMD, one on nuclear and missile defense policy, and a third on space and cyber policy.

One of the other interesting changes proposed by Flournoy is that she is making explicit the role of chief of staff in the policy shop, who will be deputy undersecretary of defense for policy integration. Traditionally, someone in the policy shop with very close ties to the Defense Secretary has had a job like this, charged with being the boss' watchdog and chief implementer. They usually get the tag of "counsellor" to the Defense Secretary.

For several days I've tried to get folks in the policy shop to discuss this, but in the interests of greater transparency they have regretfully declined. But there was a short comment in Jim Miller's written testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Miller, nominated as principal deputy undersecretary for policy, said the changes are "intended to elevate the functions of strategy development and force management to better provide policy guidance..." It's also meant to enhance oversight of strategic issues such as nuclear deterrence, missile defense and space issues. Not much there to gnaw on so perhaps some of our readers can fill in the gaps.

In his written answers, Miller said Defense Secretary Robert Gates has approved the changes.

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