The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 was implemented on 1 October 1986. It has been called the most significant Defense policy change since the National Security Act of 1947. Goldwater-Nichols gave us a globe divided into Combatant Commands, each with a CINC (until 2002, when they became COCOMs). It also made the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the principle military advisor to the President, whereas previously the Service Chiefs had a much larger role in providing that advice.
Our favorite Marine artilleryman, Ultima Ratio Regis, has a thought provoking post at the UNSI blog asking whether the Goldwater-Nichols act of 1986 was a success or failure.
I tend to think it was a success. Then. Now, perhaps it is time for the DoD and Congress to rethink the approach to defense strategy.