Armed Forces: Reducing Army Empires

When the brisk new Defense Secretary took over his outer-ring Pentagon office last year, he soon decided that the service most in need of reform was the U.S. Army. Robert McNamara was especially exasperated by the Army's seven technical services (ordnance, quartermaster, engineers, signal, chemical, medical and transportation), which over the decades had grown into tight little empires with their own budgets, overlapping research programs—and, all too often, conflicting aims. Last week, firmly prodded by McNamara, the Army proposed a plan that could streamline the tech services and thereby modernize the basic structure of the entire Army.

The proposal would...

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