[mirror on Intelink-U]
In the DoD, “Title 10” is a big deal. “Title 10” means Title 10 of the United States Code – the law that defines the structure of the United States Military. There are other portions of US Law that affect the military – much of the Federal Acquisition Regulations derive from Title 41. Titles 40 and 44 includes stuff about Chief Information Officers of Federal Agencies. Title 17 is the Copyright Act, which we have to follow, yadda yadda yadda.
But at the end of the day, in DoD, most people are only familiar with Title 10. Even then, people just say it like it’s a mantra. “Title 10, y’know,” they sigh discontentedly, as if that explains all the dysfunctions of the day.
Generally, this seems to be some sort of shorthand for the idea that the Military Departments are where all the real power lies. Sometimes the phrase, “Organize, Train & Equip” is heard. These phrases are shorthand for the Goldwaters-Nichols Act of 1986, which re-organized the Department and created the Combatant and Unified Commands. (And is codified in Title 10.)
Goldwater-Nichols tasked the Unified Combatant Commands to actually fight the nation’s wars, and changed the mission of the Military Departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) to “Organize, Train and Equip” the forces which would be assigned to the combatant commands. All the MilDeps have basically the same mission, defined in 10 USC § 3013 (Army), 10 USC § 5013 (Navy), or 10 USC § 8013 (Air Force).
Here’s the Army one:
(b) Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense and subject to the provisions of chapter 6 of this title, the Secretary of the Army is responsible for, and has the authority necessary to conduct, all affairs of the Department of the Army, including the following functions:(1) Recruiting.(2) Organizing.(3) Supplying.(4) Equipping (including research and development).(5) Training.(6) Servicing.(7) Mobilizing.(8) Demobilizing.(9) Administering (including the morale and welfare of personnel).(10) Maintaining.(11) The construction, outfitting, and repair of military equipment.(12) The construction, maintenance, and repair of buildings, structures, and utilities and the acquisition of real property and interests in real property necessary to carry out the responsibilities specified in this section.
All three Military Departments have the same 12 missions. Interestingly too, they all start with the same phrase: “Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense…” As it turns out, when staff officers in OSD or the Joint Staff sigh and moan that the Services just do whatever parochial thing they’re gonna do, and oh, Title 10 gives them every authority to do it… this is a total cop-out! The Services and Defense agencies only have the authority to do things, “subject to the authority, direction, and control of the SecDef”. I refer to this as the: “My Title 10 trumps your Title 10” principle.
The problem is not that the Services or Agencies are parochial – of course they’re parochial. If they weren’t parochial, we’d call them “Joint”. The problem (IMHO, of course) is that OSD is so dysfunctional that we can’t agree what direction and control to exert with our authority.
It’s clear though: Title 10 says the buck stops at the SecDef. So there’s no use wringing our hands together and blaming the Services, or the CoComs or the Defense Agencies. Where Title 10 grants Authority, it can’t help but grant Responsibility too.
If say, there’s a problem with how we deliver Enterprise Services in the DoD… ultimately the responsibility to make things right is with the SecDef… somebody in the Office of the Secretary of Defense better get right on that…
(But don’t get me started on Title 10 and Title 50.)