Army, Air Force streamline leadership staffs

The Army and the Air Force on Tuesday announced plans to reorganize the services' civilian and military headquarters staffs to speed decision making, reduce management redundancy and improve operations. The Navy is expected to announce similar restructuring of Naval and Marine Corps staff in the coming weeks. Service officials said the reorganizations are intended to better align headquarters management activity with field operations, making the services more responsive to the nation's needs. The reorganizations will result in staff cuts to the headquarters offices, allowing the Army and Air Force to shift more personnel to field offices. "This is not a game to reduce the end-strength of the Army," said Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White. "This is about becoming more efficient and returning positions to the field." All cuts in headquarters positions held by uniformed personnel will be redistributed to units in the field. As for civilians whose positions are eliminated, the Army will make "every reasonable effort" to place them in other federal jobs, Army officials said. Air Force Secretary James G. Roche stressed that by cutting bureaucracy, the Air Force would improve overall management. Service leaders declined to speculate on how much money the reorganizations would save, or even how many positions ultimately may be eliminated. By law, the services' civilian leadership sets policy and provides oversight. The uniformed leadership executes policy and plans operations. Among the most significant changes for the Army:
  • The secretary, under secretary, chief of staff and vice chief of staff--the top two civilian and top two military service members, respectively--will form an Executive Office, intended to eliminate two separate decision-making channels, clearly delineate responsibility within headquarters, streamline the flow of information, and speed decision-making.
  • The Secretariat, which had grown considerably during the Clinton administration to assume operational functions traditionally performed by military personnel, will be cut and restructured to focus on formulating policy, providing strategic direction and overseeing Army planning and resource management.
  • Army staff will be realigned to more directly support the civilian assistant secretaries of the Army and the joint chiefs of staff.
  • The Army National Guard and Army Reserve will be more thoroughly integrated into headquarters staff, reflecting their critical role in military operations.
The Army Audit Agency will monitor the reorganization to account for all personnel and budget transfers and savings. Among the most significant changes for the Air Force:
  • A new position--Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration--will be created to better integrate capabilities across the service. The new position is a reflection of the growing importance of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in military operations. The new office will focus management attention on modernizing and integrating critical command and control, and intelligence gathering systems.
  • The undersecretary of the Air Force will oversee and manage space programs for the Defense Department and the National Reconnaissance Office.
Service leaders in both the Army and the Air Force said the reorganization will better match budget planning with program management, improving overall resource management across the services.
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