DoD has recently undertaken some reorganization relevant to these issues, including the establishment of an Assistant Secretary for Economic Security, a new Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Reform, and a Defense Industrial Base Oversight Council. It is unclear whether these changes are adequate to provide the required level of focus and coordination in future collaborative programs.
The imperative for pursuing initiatives and relationships with Japan in an integrated strategic manner will be even more important in the future, particularly in connection with possible future U.S.-Japan cooperation in large systems. One current example is theater missile defense (TMD). Although Japan will likely not decide whether to field a system immediately, the Defense Task Force believes that now is the time for DoD, along with the military services, other U.S. government agencies, and U.S. industry, to begin developing a coordinated approach to the following issues: (1) desired technological contributions from Japan that are possible within the context of TMD cooperation, as well as Japanese technologies that could be transferred to meet other U.S. defense needs in return for U.S. TMD-related technologies that might be transferred to Japan; (2) U.S. TMD-related technologies that need to be protected in a collaborative program; and (3) parts of the TMD system that could be license produced in Japan. The Defense Task Force is well aware of the significant obstacles to effective coordination in defense and security policymaking and is wary about making specific recommendations to DoD in this area. However, the need is so pressing and timely that consideration of new approaches is well justified.
One alternative would be a major reorganization along the lines of earlier DSB recommendations. Although such a reorganization could be useful, it would disrupt ongoing operations and incur the risks of not achieving the desired goals or of introducing new complications.
The second alternative is appointment of a responsible point of coordination on a case-by-case basis for major systems in which collaboration with Japan or other nations is under discussion or is a strong possibility, as TMD is today. This is perhaps a minimum requirement for effective management, but such a coordinator would not guarantee success. If the person appointed is too high ranking, he or she might not be able to devote sufficient attention to the task. A lower-ranking official would be subject to the same sorts of crossfire from various constituencies that might occur even without coordination. However, a single point of coordination would ensure consideration of all the relevant issues at an early date and would help to ensure a common front in discussions with Japan and other allies.
A third alternative, which might become necessary in the future if the level of activity in international defense technology cooperation rises, would be a formal coordinating mechanism better linking current organizational structures. To draw an analogy, a major effort is currently being undertaken to coordinate the acquisition agendas of the services through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Should conditions warrant it, DoD might consider establishing a parallel International Programs Coordination Council to coordinate the agendas of the relevant parts of DoD and the services for international defense industry and technology programs that are under consideration or discussion.