Roles and Functions:

Assessment of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Report

NSIAD-93-200: Published: Jul 15, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 1993.


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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's report on the armed forces' roles, missions, and functions, focusing on the: (1) methodology used; (2) potential for eliminations, reductions, consolidations, and realignments; and (3) obstacles to reductions in overlapping military capabilities.

GAO found that: (1) the Chairman's report did not sufficiently analyze and identify whether the services' aggregate capabilities exceed post-cold war requirements, recommend significant reductions in overlapping functions, or identify the potential for further changes involving air interdiction capabilities, peacekeeping, and disaster relief; (2) although the report's methodology and focus were limited due to a lack of adequate information and short evaluation period, most of the recommendations were sound; (3) reducing unnecessary overlaps in the military services' roles and functions will require aggressive leadership and in-depth analysis because of the services' broadly defined combat functions; and (4) additional opportunities exist to address overlapping capabilities and improve efficiency including reexamining air capability requirements, reducing intelligence operations, and developing a joint review of command, control, communications, and computer systems.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: If Congress intends for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's report on roles, missions, and functions, to include examinations of aggregate levels of capability needed to accomplish specific functions and missions to meet national security requirements, it should consider amending the act to specifically require such examinations.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress, rather than amending the Goldwater-Nichols Act as GAO recommended, established an independent commission to examine the roles and missions of the armed forces.

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