When President Kennedy appointed Robert McNamara Secretary of Defense in January, 1961 and McNamara called on Charles Hitch to join him, a new era of defense policy leadership was clearly at hand. Great problems of organization had emerged along with vast increases in American responsibility for the security of the free world in the post-war era of rapidly changing military technology. Defense department unification and other controversial questions of organization of the defense establishment assumed new dimensions with the advent of the new techniques of planning and analysis. Hitch discusses, from the rare perspective of an analytically gifted insider, how the Department of Defense achieved balanced programs and more effective forces through the firm application of the new management techniques without sweeping changes of organization structure. Important challenges still lie ahead. As Hitch says: "The objectives, the organization, and the management techniques of national defense are all interrelated. Organization and procedures must be adapted to our changing nationaal policies and objectives as well as to changes in the character of our resources and technologies. It will take all our ingenuity and skill to make these necessary adaptations so that we can continue to provide unified management of so great an enterprise as our present military establishment. At the beginning of our Constitutional history the building of three frigates and the management of a few companies to fight Indians were considered too great a task for the War Department alone." Management of the American defense establishment has been a subject of fascination, concern and occasional despair to generation of Presidents, legislators, military leaders, and informed citizens. Hitch provides historical perspective on these tasks of decision-making for national security, and he explains clearly and succinctly the contemporary problems of fitting together strategic alternatives, weapons technology, and economic resources to achieve a rational pattern of defense management. The modern tools for this task are new techniques of planning, programming, and budgeting, and, for evaluating complex situations, the methods of systems analysis, all of which are discussed in detail. Hitch was involved both in the origination of these management techniques while at the RAND Corporation and in the tremendous task of putting them to consistent, far reaching, and practical use in the Department of Defense. President Johnson termed Hitch "a principal architect of America's modern defense establishment . . . It is largely as a result of [his] efforts that this country now possesses the most balanced, flexible, combat-ready defense force in history and management system to maintain our superior military posture and use it with precision." This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1965.
Decision-Making for Defense
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