2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 3 Dec 2002 01:41:06 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] I&E Reorganization
I received a small number of private responses to my posting last week
about the proposed shift of the Defense Department's Installations and
Environment (I&E) office from Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics (ATL)
to Personnel and Readiness. Some former military officials seem to think
that the change may actually benefit the program, but the devil will be
in the details. Under current leadership, the Personnel and Readiness
Under Secretary seems to have more pull with the Secretary of Defense
than the ATL Undersecretary.

Moreover, the letter we posted earlier today, in which Secretary of
Defense Rumsfeld put I & E Deputy Under Secretary Ray Dubois in charge
of Pentagon "housekeeping," makes Dubois a "direct report," to Rumsfeld,
elevating him in practice, in not in title, within the Defense
organization. Some former officials think that's good for the
environmental program.

It's hard to tell. Organizational changes that work with specific people
sometimes backfire when they are replaced. Moreover, changes in complex
organization often have mixed impacts. From the outside, I look at three factors:

1. Rank. The Pentagon Environmental program benefits when its top
political appointee holds a high rank in the civilian bureaucracy.
Environmental groups successfully lobbied the incoming Clinton
administration to raise the head of the Environmental office from a
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to Deputy Under Secretary. That
gave the program more visibility, stature, and clout. Making Dubois a
"direct report" is thus positive for the environment program.

2. Focus. The elevated rank of the environmental chief is diluted when
he or she is given additional responsibilities. In fact, Deputy Under
Secretary Dubois apparently found that it was a challenge to stay on top
of both Installations and Environment, which previously were managed by
two Deputy Under Secretaries. That's why he brought on John Paul
Woodley, Jr. as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
(Environment). Dubois' new role as Director of Administration will
stretch his attention even further, perhaps tending to weaken the
visibility of the environmental office.

3. Access. While I think everyone agrees that top policy-makers on the
Environment, in the armed services as well as the Office of Secretary of
Defense, need to be based in or near the Pentagon, public stakeholders
and regulators often need access to high level officials to resolve
practical questions. For this reason, the Defense Department established
a regional environmental executive in each EPA region. Though these
officials, many of whom are general or admirals, lack the authority to
issue orders to all the units and installations in their respective
regions, they offer a familiar and valuable point of contact for a wide
variety of issues. The recent changes are not likely to alter outside
access to the environmental leadership.

In fact, though the military is generally viewed as a hierarchical
organization, the development and implementation of environmental
policies is much more complicated. We outsiders often need to
simultaneously interface with the military at several levels and within
multiple chains of command, because power and influence are actually
diffuse. Thus, I've concluded that it's more important to understand the
Environmental Security organizational structure, whatever changes are
made, than to have an "ideal" structure in place.

Furthermore, the current administration's organizational handling of
Defense environmental programs seems to be based upon the desire to
integrate environmental activities with other operations. That generally
makes sense. For example, the growing emphasis on Environmental
Management Systems is designed to better integrate environment
protection with other functions. Environment thus becomes part of the
mission, not an add-on. On the other hand, if readiness needs are seen
to always trump environmental requirements in this integrated system,
the environment may suffer if it has no independent advocates within the
Defense Department.

In short, the attitude of the political leadership will probably be more
important in the upcoming years that the way that lines are drawn on the
organization chart, but one still needs to monitor organizational
changes because they often include resource shifts and other significant
policy decisions.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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