Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links
 
• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Farewell Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2016 Election Documents
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2017 Transition
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 


AND OR NOT
Limit by Year

From:
To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents

Instructions
You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
 
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Statement by the President on the Defense Reorganization Bill.
Dwight
Dwight D. Eisenhower
121 - Statement by the President on the Defense Reorganization Bill.
May 28, 1958
Public Papers of the Presidents
Dwight D. Eisenhower<br>1958
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1958
Font Size:
Print
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

THIS MORNING I talked with Secretary of Defense McElroy about the defense reorganization bill as reported to the House of Representatives.
Three provisions of the reported bill directly conflict with the reorganization I proposed to the Congress.

These three provisions continue to emphasize disunity and separatism within the Defense Department. They continue to imply Congressional approval of wasteful duplications, administrative delays and interservice rivalries.

I have had convincing evidence that Americans everywhere favor a thoroughgoing reorganization of the Defense Department. The Committee has acted commendably on most of the needed changes. But in dealing with our defense establishment, pretty good is not good enough, and going part way is not going far enough.

America, having started on this reorganization, wants the job done right.

I earnestly hope, as does Secretary McElroy, that the changes needed for an effective reorganization will be made by the House of Representatives when this bill comes up for debate.

OBJECTIONABLE FEATURES OF DEFENSE REORGANIZATION BILL

SECTION 2:

"SEC. 2. In enacting this legislation, it is the intent of Congress to provide a comprehensive program for the future security of the United States; to provide for the establishment of integrated policies and procedures for the departments, agencies, and functions of the Government relating to the national security; to provide a Department of Defense, including the three military Departments of the Army, the Navy (including naval aviation and the United States Marine Corps), and the Air force under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense; to provide that each military department shall be separately organized under its own Secretary and shall function under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense exercised through the respective Secretaries of such departments; to provide for their unified direction under civilian control of the Secretary of Defense but not to merge these departments or services; to provide for the establishment of unified or specified combatant commands, and a clear and direct line of command to such commands, to eliminate unnecessary duplication in the Department of Defense, and particularly in the field of research and engineering by vesting its overall direction and control in the Secretary of Defense; to provide more effective, efficient, and economical administration in the Department of Defense; to provide for the unified strategic direction of the combatant forces, for their operation under unified command, and for their integration into an efficient team of land, naval, and air forces but not to establish a single Chief of Staff over the armed forces nor an overall armed forces general staff."

COMMENT

The italicized language is best described as a legalized bottleneck. It:
--constricts the authority of the Secretary of Defense;
--puts a premium on intransigeance by lower Pentagon levels;
--blocks normal staff processes;
--fails to express the intent of the Committee as explained in its report;
--will, as the Committee report itself asserts, cause "administrative chaos" if fully implemented

So, with this language, frictions, delays, duplications in the Defense Department would be given the color of legality.

REMEDY

Delete the italicized language in Section 2.

SECTION 3:

"SEC. 3. (a) Section 202 (c) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended ( 5 U. S. C. 171 ( a ) ( c ) ), is amended to read as follows:

"(c) (1) Within the policy enunciated in section 2, the Secretary of Defense shall take appropriate steps (including the transfer, reassignment, abolition, and consolidation of functions other than major combatant functions) to provide in the Department of Defense for more effective, efficient, and economical administration and operations and to eliminate duplication. However, except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no functions which have been or are hereafter established by law to be performed by the Department of Defense, or any officer or agency thereof, shall be substantially transferred, reassigned, abolished, or consolidated until thirty days after a report to the Congress in regard to all pertinent details in each instance shall have been made by the Secretary of Defense.

"(2) Notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection, if the President determines that it is necessary because of hostilities or imminent threat of hostilities, any function, including those assigned to the military services by sections 205 (e), 206 (b) , 206 (c) , and 208 (f) hereof, may be transferred, reassigned, or consolidated and subject to the determination of the President shall remain so transferred, reassigned, or consolidated until the termination of such hostilities or threat of hostilities.

"(3) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) hereof, no major combatant function assigned to the military services by sections 205 ( e), 206 (b), 206 (c), and 208 (f) hereof shall be transferred, reassigned, abolished, or consolidated until the first period of sixty calendar days of continuous session of the Congress following the date of report of such action to the Congress shall have expired without a concurrent resolution having been passed by the Congress in opposition to the proposed transfer, reassignment, abolition, or consolidation. No major combatant function shall be reported to the Congress for transfer, reassignment, abolition, or consolidation until alter the Secretary of Defense shall have consulted in respect thereto with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. for the purposes of this subsection a combatant function shall be considered a 'major combatant function' whenever one or more members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff disagree to the transfer, reassignment, abolition, or consolidation of such combatant function: Provided, that the Secretary of Defense has authority to assign, or reassign, to one or more departments or services, the development and operational use of new weapons or weapons systems."

COMMENT

The italicized language is best described as the "everyone's out of step but me" provision. It'.

--vests astonishing authority in one military man without regard to the views of his military colleagues, the Secretary of Defense, the President and the Congress;
--allows one military man to hold up defense improvements for many months and perhaps block them altogether;
--subordinates civilian judgment, authority, and responsibility; --repudiates concept of flexibility of combatant functions.

So it is an endorsement of duplication and standpattism in defense and of the concept of military superiority over civilian authority.

REMEDY

Delete the italicized language in Section 3.

SECTION 3:

"(4) Each military department shall be separately organized under its own Secretary and shall function under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense exercised through the respective Secretaries of such Departments.

COMMENT

The italicized language is the same as appears in Section 2; again, the legalized bottleneck.

REMEDY

Delete the italicized language in Section 3.

SECTION 3:

"(5) No provision of this Act shall be so construed as to prevent a Secretary of a military department or a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from presenting to the Congress, on his own initiative, after first so informing the Secretary of Defense, any recommendations relating to the Department of Defense that he may deem proper."

COMMENT

The italicized language is best described as legalized insubordination. It:
--invites interservice rivalries;
--invites insubordination to the President and Secretary of Defense;
--endorses idea of disunity and blocking of defense modernizations;
--suggests that Congress hopes for disobedience and interservice rivalries;
--is bad concept, bad practice, bad influence within Pentagon.

REMEDY

Delete the italicized language in Section 3.



Citation: Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Statement by the President on the Defense Reorganization Bill.," May 28, 1958. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=11076.
Home         
© 1999-2017 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project ™
Locations of visitors to this page