210. 10/1/1986

On October 1, 1986, President Ronald “Reagan signed into law the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which fundamentally changed the command relationship structure between the military and the civilian executive branch of the government. …Unfortunately, senior military leaders in the Pentagon were bitterly opposed to the changes. Essentially, the new legislation had the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reporting directly to the President as well as the Secretary of Defense. Prior to this, the Chairman’s position on the Joint Chiefs rotated regularly among the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, which tended to result in favoritism toward the military service in power at the time. The new law also removed the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the formal chain of command for regional combatant commanders. Henceforth, combatant commanders would report directly to the secretary of defense. And finally, the new legislation required the President of the United States to annually outline a national security strategy and present it to Congress.”

 – Ricardo S. Sanchez with Donald T. Phillips, Wiser in Battle, Page 53

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