Pentagon chief seeks reforms, calls Russia ‘No. 1 strategic threat

Seeking to make the US military more efficient and better coordinated in the face of “strategic threat” from Russia, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is looking for “practical updates” to the Pentagon’s organizational framework established in the 1970s.

READ MORE: Russia vows ‘totally asymmetrical’ response to major US troop build-up in Europe

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, Carter said the reforms were necessary to make the US military more “agile” and able to address the five strategic challenges, which he named as “Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and terrorism.”

The current organization of the US military, from the territorial organization of Combatant Commands to the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outside the chain of command, is a product of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, signed into law in October 1986.

While the 1986 reform was driven by the lessons of Vietnam and the botched ‘Desert One’ hostage rescue in Iran, Carter said the updates were not driven by failure.

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