Pace Urges Students to Study Coalition, Interagency Processes

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2006 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week urged students at the National War College to examine ways to make interagency processes work better and to get to know international members of the school.

The National War College is part of the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair here. The college prepares lieutenant colonels and commanders for higher responsibilities. Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke to the class of 2007 during a convocation ceremony at the school Aug. 9.

Pace told the 32 foreign officers in the class they are the best their countries have to offer. "Historically, officers who attend this go on to be chiefs of defense, chiefs of service," he said. "We appreciate who you are and your countries' investments in time."

Pace said the world is in a war against extremists who would crush freedom and that he appreciates contributions countries around the world are making to the battle. "No country is so big that it can do it all by itself, and no country is so small that it cannot contribute significantly and strategically," he said.

The general encouraged U.S. military members of the class to reach out and become friends with the international officers. He urged the American officers to understand how others view the fight against terrorism, understand how other militaries work, and understand how others look at the United States and why.

The course also includes students from non-military agencies of the U.S. government. The chairman charged them and the military officers to examine ways to make interagency processes work better. He said national security experts do a good job of "teeing up" the issues and devising courses of action and recommendations for presidential decision. However, he said, cooperation isn't as strong once decisions on courses of action are made.

Pace told the students to apply the example of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 -- which mandated stronger cross-service cooperation within DoD -- and see how that thinking might apply to interagency cooperation. "Given the current war, we cannot afford for the decision-making process to take weeks or months," he said.

Time spent studying coalition and interagency operations would be well spent, Pace said.

[Web Version:]