Groundbreaking Paper on Authorities for Interagency Teams

February 18, 2011 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – The Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) recently released a paper entitled “Chief of Mission Authority as a Model for National Security Integration” authored by Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) affiliates Dr. Christopher Lamb and Ambassador Edward Marks. This paper is a significant accomplishment for the national security transformation research agenda on interagency teams.

Please find a link to the full report below:

Overview of the Paper

Interagency teams — groups of people with diverse expertise given the authority to manage a single national security issue — are a national security system innovation that could increase the government’s responsiveness to threats and opportunities. Currently, the system lacks strong integrating authorities to achieve this.

To understand how interagency teams can function, Dr. Lamb and Ambassador Marks studied the Chief of Mission Authority granted to Ambassadors to manage embassies around the world. Embassies are staffed with people from myriad agencies: diplomats, military and intelligence officers, law enforcement professionals, development specialists and many others. Dr. Lamb and Ambassador Marks recommend expanding the use of Chief of Mission authority to “Mission Managers”, leaders who would be empowered to run other interagency teams throughout the national security system.

National security professionals usually receive authoritative direction only through their home department or agency, leading to friction when working on teams whose membership reflects multiple departments. In the paper, Dr. Lamb and Amb. Marks argue, “‘Unity of command’ from the President on down through the functional departments and agencies seems to preclude “unity of effort” for missions that are intrinsically interagency in nature and cut across those same chains of command.”

Implementation of these recommendations would require a legislative initiative to create Mission Managers, Senate confirmation of particular nominees and Congressional funding on a case-by-case basis of larger interagency efforts. The intent would be to give the national security system the structural flexibility and agility required to address the fast-moving challenges of today and tomorrow.

About the Authors

Dr. Lamb is Distinguished Research Fellow and Director of the Center for Strategic Research at INSS at the National Defense University. In 2008 Dr. Lamb was assigned to the PNSR study of the national security system, which led to the 2008 report, “Forging a New Shield.” Prior to joining INSS in 2004, Dr. Lamb served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Resources and Plans where he had oversight of war plans, requirements, acquisition, and resource allocation matters for the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy).

Ambassador Marks was a Foreign Service Officer of the United States from 1959-1995, retiring with the rank of Minister-Counselor. During his career he served in many countries in Africa, in the Office for Combating Terrorism, and at the United Nations. He has been a consultant to the World Food Program and the United Nations Development Program (on reorganization of the foreign affairs ministries of several countries that were former members of the Soviet Union). He is currently an active consultant, lecturer, and writer on crisis management and U.N. affairs. He is also the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Foreign Service Journal.