– Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State. If they can’t work together productively, there will be no end of headaches for the White House. In particular, a strategy to reassert U.S. leadership can't be implemented without true teamwork between these two.
– Director of National Intelligence, CIA Director and Defense Department Undersecretary for Intelligence. Among the thorniest problems this team will have to sort through is how to truly understand—and come to grips with—the challenges in the Middle East.
– Secretary of Homeland Security and FBI Director. The threat to the homeland is still very real. The best defense requires these two leaders to pull in the same direction.
– The Secretary of Defense, Deputy Defense Secretary, and the Defense Chief Management Officer. A serious defense-reform agenda can't happen without this team working as one.
– The Service Secretaries and Service Chiefs. Real jointness happens when this team works as a true band of brothers. This teamwork will be particularly key in developing the capability and capacity to deal with China.
The Rest of Government
There are processes and professional development reforms that could make the national-security apparatus of the United States run more smoothly. But without the right leaders at the top, reforms will make little difference. On the other hand, a disciplined group of real leaders committed to team play can implement successful foreign policies. From those policy successes will flow successful reforms. That’s how real leaders wind up at the top of their brackets.
James Jay Carafano is a Heritage Foundation Vice President and director of the think tank’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy Studies.
Image: Flickr/United States Government Work