THE demise of the former Soviet Union raised fundamental questions for US policymakers, including how to restructure the US military to meet the new challenges of a more unpredictable world.
A commission created by Congress last year to study that question released yesterday a final report containing more than 150 recommendations for helping the armed services adapt to the new international climate, manpower reductions, and shrinking budgets.
Contrary to some expectations, the Roles and Missions Commission refrained from urging sweeping changes in the four services, such as consolidating all air power under the Air Force. Instead, the panel called on the services to mount a major effort for unified operations by better coordinating and integrating their individual strengths.
''It is clear that our emphasis must be on molding DoD [Department of Defense] into a more cohesive set of institutions that work toward a common purpose -- effective unified military operations,'' said John White, the commission chairman and a Harvard University professor.
Specifically, the panel called on the Pentagon to make joint operations its new doctrine, a formidable task given the services' tendencies to jealously guard their turfs. To that end, the panel recommended giving more power to the commanders in chief of the five US worldwide commands and the four US-based commands. They also urged the creation of a new command responsible for all joint training and integration of forces based in the continental US.