“The Secretary of Defense should stop preaching jointness,” MIT professor Harvey Sapolsky wrote in the January issue of Proceedings. “The services’ inherent rivalry should be tapped, not suppressed.” If the services compete over funding and missions, they’ll have incentive to perform, Sapolsky argues. Only that will produce true innovation and efficiency.
To be clear, the prof isn’t really talking about battefield jointness, where soldiers call in Air Force air-strikes and Marines ride in Navy amphibious ships. He’s talking about “role and missions” jointness at a higher level. In other words, Sapolsky believes it’s a good thing that we have three separate, full-spectrum air forces: the Navy’s, the Marines’ and the Air Force’s. But the prof implies we need to go a step further. If one service’s air force proves better than the others, raid the competitors’ funding and give the cash to the superior branch as a way of rewarding success.
Great idea. And by that thinking, it’s time to starve the Air Force of funding for tactical aircraft and boost Navy fighter programs. And maybe give the Army and Military Sealift Command more funding for transport and amphibious ships, at the Navy’s expense. And grow the Marines for counter-insurgency missions while shrinking the Army.