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"THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE" JOHN 8:32........ If you think you are free, think again!

To build the new America on a new foundation, the foundation of the skulls and bones

Chapter 1, Painful Answers! | Jesus Is A True Messenger Of God | Truth about the earth | First Chapter | Guy Carr, Pawns in the Game | Chapter 2, Synagogue of Satan | Chapter 3, The Dollar Bill | Chapter 4, Conspiracy in the Numbers | Chapter 5, The Eye | Chapter 6, The Time Line | Chapter 7, Al Esraa & time line | Surat The Children of Israel | Chapter 8,Armageddon | Chapter 9 Al Asr the map of time,10,11 | chapter12, Numbers in the Universe, Chapter13 | Albert Pike Uncovered | A US GOVERNMENT LIE | Rabbis Opposing Zionism | Divide and Conquer

The Project for the new American century

To build the new America on a new foundation, the foundation of the skulls and bones..              
The Project for the New American Century.
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The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no
point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in
history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them,
been more absolutely required.
William Rivers Pitt: 02/25/03
The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based
think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one
thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of
all nations. They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last
remaining superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military
force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new
socio-economic Pax Americana.
The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper
produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines
what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:
* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia
and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft,
submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a
strategic dominance of space;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic
product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.
Most ominously, this PNAC document described four "Core Missions" for the
American military. The two central requirements are for American forces to
"fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and
to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions." Note well that PNAC does not want America
to be prepared to fight simultaneous major wars. That is old school. In
order to bring this plan to fruition, the military must fight these wars
one way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.
Why is this important? After all, wacky think tanks are a cottage industry
in Washington, DC. They are a dime a dozen. In what way does PNAC stand
above the other groups that would set American foreign policy if they could?
Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the
disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th.
When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the
imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense
Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw,
at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive
Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the
group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official for
Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position
with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
PNAC is staffed by men who previously served with groups like Friends of
the Democratic Center in Central America, which supported America's bloody
gamesmanship in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with groups like The
Committee for the Present Danger, which spent years advocating that a
nuclear war with the Soviet Union was "winnable."
PNAC has recently given birth to a new group, The Committee for the
Liberation of Iraq, which met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice in order to formulate a plan to "educate" the American populace about
the need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to
support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir presumptive, Ahmed
Chalabi. Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court in 1992 to
22 years in prison for bank fraud after the collapse of Petra Bank, which
he founded in 1977. Chalabi has not set foot in Iraq since 1956, but his
Enron-like business credentials apparently make him a good match for the
Bush administration's plans.
PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report is the institutionalization
of plans and ideologies that have been formulated for decades by the men
currently running American government. The PNAC Statement of Principles is
signed by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb
Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, and many
others. William Kristol, famed conservative writer for the Weekly Standard,
is also a co-founder of the group. The Weekly Standard is owned by Ruppert
Murdoch, who also owns international media giant Fox News.
The desire for these freshly empowered PNAC men to extend American hegemony
by force of arms across the globe has been there since day one of the Bush
administration, and is in no small part a central reason for the Florida
electoral battle in 2000. Note that while many have said that Gore and Bush
are ideologically identical, Mr. Gore had no ties whatsoever to the fellows
at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that election by any means necessary,
and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the perfect position to ensure the rise
to prominence of his fellow imperialists. Desire for such action, however,
is by no means translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their
comforts, but don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.
On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open
wide before them, and stormed right through it.
Bush released on September 20th 2001 the "National Security Strategy of the
United States of America." It is an ideological match to PNAC's "Rebuilding
America's Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many places, it uses
exactly the same language to describe America's new place in the world.
Recall that PNAC demanded an increase in defense spending to at least 3.8%
of GDP. Bush's proposed budget for next year asks for $379 billion in
defense spending, almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.
In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard
Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand
Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final
slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi
Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that would
purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's weapons. Bush
has deployed massive forces into the Mideast region, while simultaneously
engaging American forces in the Philippines and playing nuclear chicken
with North Korea. Somewhere in all this lurks at least one of the "major
theater wars" desired by the September 2000 PNAC report.
Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a
central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent military bases
in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in
the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The nations in that
region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off point for
American forces to invade any nation in that region they choose to. The
American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of exit plan after America
defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is planned.
All of the horses are traveling together at speed here. The defense
contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for
arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news media
will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the
stratosphere when there is combat to be shown. Those within the
administration who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon
laying waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their
dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana at
gunpoint will see their plans unfold. Through it all, the bankrollers from
the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the entire
planet. This last aspect of the plan is pivotal, and is best described in
the newly revised version of Greg Palast's masterpiece, "The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy."
There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average Americans
are suffering as they smother behind yards of plastic sheeting and duct
tape will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth
new terrorist attacks against the homeland. These attacks will require the
implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an augmentation of the
previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The sun will set on the
Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense
spending, and by the aforementioned "constabulary" duties in Iraq,
Afghanistan and elsewhere. Former allies will turn on us. Germany, France
and the other nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of this game
plan. They are not acting out of cowardice or because they love Saddam
Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising American empire, lest
they face economic and military serfdom at the hands of George W. Bush.
Richard Perle has already stated that France is no longer an American ally.
As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric and their resistance will
become more agitated and dangerous.
Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want,
from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways
that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS
seem tame by comparison.
This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now
control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it. For
them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.
The plan was running smoothly until those two icebergs collided. Millions
and millions of ordinary people are making it very difficult for Bush's
international allies to keep to the script. PNAC may have designs for the
control of the "International Commons" of the Internet, but for now it is
the staging ground for a movement that would see empire take a back seat to
a wise peace, human rights, equal protection under the law, and the
preponderance of a justice that will, if properly applied, do away forever
with the anger and hatred that gives birth to terrorism in the first place.
Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched with his
countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism," he said, "by creating more
justice in the world."
The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no
point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in
history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them,
been more absolutely required. The tide can be stopped, and the men who
desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already begun, but it
must not cease. These are men of will, and they do not intend to fail.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books -
"War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and
"The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press.
He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
Strategy, Forces and Resources
For a New Century
A Report of
The Project for the New American Century
September 2000
Established in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a nonprofit,
educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.
The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project. William Kristol is chairman
of the Project, and Robert Kagan, Devon Gaffney Cross, Bruce P. Jackson and John R.
Bolton serve as directors. Gary Schmitt is executive director of the Project.
“As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the
world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in
the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does
the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of
past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a
new century favorable to American principles and interests?
“[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet
both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and
purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national
leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
“Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its
power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global
leadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. America
has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia,
and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite
challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th
century should have taught us that it is important to shape
circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they
become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us
to embrace the cause of American leadership.”
– From the Project’s founding Statement of Principles
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 293-4983 / Fax: (202) 293-4572
Strategy, Forces and Resources
For a New Century
Project Co-Chairmen
Principal Author

Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
Key Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv
I. Why Another Defense Review? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. Four Essential Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
III. Repositioning Today’s Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
IV. Rebuilding Today’s Armed Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
V. Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
VI. Defense Spending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Project Participants
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Project for the New American
Century was established in the spring of
1997. From its inception, the Project has
been concerned with the decline in the
strength of America’s defenses, and in the
problems this would create for the exercise
of American leadership around the globe
and, ultimately, for the preservation of
Our concerns were reinforced by the
two congressionally-mandated defense
studies that appeared soon thereafter: the
Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review
(May 1997) and the report of the National
Defense Panel (December 1997). Both
studies assumed that U.S. defense budgets
would remain flat or continue to shrink. As
a result, the defense plans and
recommendations outlined in the two reports
were fashioned with such budget constraints
in mind. Broadly speaking, the QDR
stressed current military requirements at the
expense of future defense needs, while the
NDP’s report emphasized future needs by
underestimating today’s defense
Although the QDR and the report of the
NDP proposed different policies, they
shared one underlying feature: the gap
between resources and strategy should be
resolved not by increasing resources but by
shortchanging strategy. America’s armed
forces, it seemed, could either prepare for
the future by retreating from its role as the
essential defender of today’s global security
order, or it could take care of current
business but be unprepared for tomorrow’s
threats and tomorrow’s battlefields.
Either alternative seemed to us
shortsighted. The United States is the
world’s only superpower, combining
preeminent military power, global
technological leadership, and the world’s
largest economy. Moreover, America stands
at the head of a system of alliances which
includes the world’s other leading
democratic powers. At present the United
States faces no global rival. America’s
grand strategy should aim to preserve and
extend this advantageous position as far into
the future as possible. There are, however,
potentially powerful states dissatisfied with
the current situation and eager to change it,
if they can, in directions that endanger the
relatively peaceful, prosperous and free
condition the world enjoys today. Up to
now, they have been deterred from doing so
by the capability and global presence of
American military power. But, as that
power declines, relatively and absolutely,
the happy conditions that follow from it will
be inevitably undermined.
Preserving the desirable strategic
situation in which the United States now
finds itself requires a globally preeminent
military capability both today and in the
future. But years of cuts in defense
spending have eroded the American
military’s combat readiness, and put in
jeopardy the Pentagon’s plans for
maintaining military superiority in the years
ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has
found itself undermanned, inadequately
equipped and trained, straining to handle
contingency operations, and ill-prepared to
adapt itself to the revolution in military
affairs. Without a well-conceived defense
policy and an appropriate increase in
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
At present the
United States
faces no
global rival.
grand strategy
should aim to
preserve and
extend this
position as far
into the future
as possible.
defense spending, the United States has been
letting its ability to take full advantage of the
remarkable strategic opportunity at hand slip
With this in mind, we began a project in
the spring of 1998 to examine the country’s
defense plans and resource requirements.
We started from the premise that U.S.
military capabilities should be sufficient to
support an American grand strategy
committed to building upon this
unprecedented opportunity. We did not
accept pre-ordained constraints that
followed from assumptions about what the
country might or might not be willing to
expend on its defenses.
In broad terms, we saw the project as
building upon the defense strategy outlined
by the Cheney Defense Department in the
waning days of the Bush Administration.
The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted
in the early months
of 1992 provided a
blueprint for
maintaining U.S.
precluding the rise
of a great power
rival, and shaping
the international
security order in
line with American
principles and
interests. Leaked
before it had been
formally approved,
the document was
criticized as an
effort by “cold
warriors” to keep defense spending high and
cuts in forces small despite the collapse of
the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, it was
subsequently buried by the new
Although the experience of the past
eight years has modified our understanding
of particular military requirements for
carrying out such a strategy, the basic tenets
of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound.
And what Secretary Cheney said at the time
in response to the DPG’s critics remains true
today: “We can either sustain the [armed]
forces we require and remain in a position to
help shape things for the better, or we can
throw that advantage away. [But] that
would only hasten the day when we face
greater threats, at higher costs and further
risk to American lives.”
The project proceeded by holding a
series of seminars. We asked outstanding
defense specialists to write papers to explore
a variety of topics: the future missions and
requirements of the individual military
services, the role of the reserves, nuclear
strategic doctrine and missile defenses, the
defense budget and prospects for military
modernization, the state (training and
readiness) of today’s forces, the revolution
in military affairs, and defense-planning for
theater wars, small wars and constabulary
operations. The papers were circulated to a
group of participants, chosen for their
experience and judgment in defense affairs.
(The list of participants may be found at the
end of this report.) Each paper then became
the basis for discussion and debate. Our
goal was to use the papers to assist
deliberation, to generate and test ideas, and
to assist us in developing our final report.
While each paper took as its starting point a
shared strategic point of view, we made no
attempt to dictate the views or direction of
the individual papers. We wanted as full
and as diverse a discussion as possible.
Our report borrows heavily from those
deliberations. But we did not ask seminar
participants to “sign-off” on the final report.
We wanted frank discussions and we sought
to avoid the pitfalls of trying to produce a
consensual but bland product. We wanted to
try to define and describe a defense strategy
that is honest, thoughtful, bold, internally
consistent and clear. And we wanted to
spark a serious and informed discussion, the
essential first step for reaching sound
conclusions and for gaining public support.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
New circumstances make us think that
the report might have a more receptive
audience now than in recent years. For the
first time since the late 1960s the federal
government is running a surplus. For most
of the 1990s, Congress and the White House
gave balancing the federal budget a higher
priority than funding national security. In
fact, to a significant degree, the budget was
balanced by a combination of increased tax
revenues and cuts in defense spending. The
surplus expected in federal revenues over
the next decade, however, removes any need
to hold defense spending to some
preconceived low level.
Moreover, the American public and its
elected representatives have become
increasingly aware of the declining state of
the U.S. military. News stories, Pentagon
reports, congressional testimony and
anecdotal accounts from members of the
armed services paint a disturbing picture of
an American military that is troubled by
poor enlistment and retention rates, shoddy
housing, a shortage of spare parts and
weapons, and diminishing combat readiness.
Finally, this report comes after a
decade’s worth of experience in dealing with
the post-Cold War world. Previous efforts
to fashion a defense strategy that would
make sense for today’s security environment
were forced to work from many untested
assumptions about the nature of a world
without a superpower rival. We have a
much better idea today of what our
responsibilities are, what the threats to us
might be in this new security environment,
and what it will take to secure the relative
peace and stability. We believe our report
reflects and benefits from that decade’s
worth of experience.
Our report is published in a presidential
election year. The new administration will
need to produce a second Quadrennial
Defense Review shortly after it takes office.
We hope that the Project’s report will be
useful as a road map for the nation’s
immediate and future defense plans. We
believe we have set forth a defense program
that is justified by the evidence, rests on an
honest examination of the problems and
possibilities, and does not flinch from facing
the true cost of security. We hope it will
inspire careful consideration and serious
discussion. The post-Cold War world will
not remain a relatively peaceful place if we
continue to neglect foreign and defense
matters. But serious attention, careful
thought, and the willingness to devote
adequate resources to maintaining
America’s military strength can make the
world safer and American strategic interests
more secure now and in the future.
Donald Kagan Gary Schmitt
Project Co-Chairmen
Thomas Donnelly
Principal Author
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
This report proceeds from the belief that
America should seek to preserve and extend
its position of global leadership by
maintaining the preeminence of U.S.
military forces. Today, the United States
has an unprecedented strategic opportunity.
It faces no immediate great-power
challenge; it is blessed with wealthy,
powerful and democratic allies in every part
of the world; it is in the midst of the longest
economic expansion in its history; and its
political and economic principles are almost
universally embraced. At no time in history
has the international security order been as
conducive to American interests and ideals.
The challenge for the coming century is to
preserve and enhance this “American
Yet unless the United States maintains
sufficient military strength, this opportunity
will be lost. And in fact, over the past
decade, the failure to establish a security
strategy responsive to new realities and to
provide adequate resources for the full range
of missions needed to exercise U.S. global
leadership has placed the American peace at
growing risk. This report attempts to define
those requirements. In particular, we need
ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for U.S. military forces:
• defend the American homeland;
• fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
• perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in
critical regions;
• transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs;”
To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary
allocations. In particular, the United States must:
MAINTAIN NUCLEAR STRATEGIC SUPERIORITY, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a
global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats,
not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.
RESTORE THE PERSONNEL STRENGTH of today’s force to roughly the levels anticipated in
the “Base Force” outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength
from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.
REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting
permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval
deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
MODERNIZE CURRENT U.S. FORCES SELECTIVELY, proceeding with the F-22 program while
increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine
and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight
ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey “tilt-rotor” aircraft for the Marine
CANCEL “ROADBLOCK” PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier,
and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding
while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled
programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.
DEVELOP AND DEPLOY GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and
American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.
the way for the creation of a new military service – U.S. Space Forces – with the mission of
space control.
EXPLOIT THE “REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS” to insure the long-term superiority of
U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which
• maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced
technologies, and,
• produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition
between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts.
INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross
domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually.
Fulfilling these requirements is essential
if America is to retain its militarily dominant
status for the coming decades. Conversely,
the failure to meet any of these needs must
result in some form of strategic retreat. At
current levels of defense spending, the only
option is to try ineffectually to “manage”
increasingly large risks: paying for today’s
needs by shortchanging tomorrow’s;
withdrawing from constabulary missions to
retain strength for large-scale wars;
“choosing” between presence in Europe or
presence in Asia; and so on. These are bad
choices. They are also false economies.
The “savings” from withdrawing from the
Balkans, for example, will not free up
anywhere near the magnitude of funds
needed for military modernization or
transformation. But these are false
economies in other, more profound ways as
well. The true cost of not meeting our
defense requirements will be a lessened
capacity for American global leadership and,
ultimately, the loss of a global security order
that is uniquely friendly to American
principles and prosperity.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Since the end of the Cold War, the
United States has struggled to formulate a
coherent national security or military
strategy, one that accounts for the constants
of American power and principles yet
accommodates 21st century realities. Absent
a strategic framework, U.S. defense planning
has been an empty and increasingly
self-referential exercise, often dominated by
bureaucratic and budgetary rather than
strategic interests. Indeed, the proliferation
of defense reviews over the past decade
testifies to the failure to chart a consistent
course: to date, there have been half a dozen
formal defense reviews, and the Pentagon is
now gearing up for a second Quadrennial
Defense Review in 2001. Unless this “QDR
II” matches U.S. military forces and
resources to a viable American strategy, it,
too, will fail.
These failures are not without cost:
already, they place at risk an historic
opportunity. After the victories of the past
century – two world wars, the Cold War and
most recently the Gulf War – the United
States finds itself as the uniquely powerful
leader of a coalition of free and prosperous
states that faces no immediate great-power
The American peace has proven itself
peaceful, stable and durable. It has, over the
past decade, provided the geopolitical
framework for widespread economic growth
and the spread of American principles of
liberty and democracy. Yet no moment in
international politics can be frozen in time;
even a global Pax Americana will not
preserve itself.
Paradoxically, as American power and
influence are at their apogee, American
military forces limp toward exhaustion,
unable to meet the demands of their many
and varied missions, including preparing for
tomorrow’s battlefield. Today’s force,
reduced by a third or more over the past
decade, suffers from degraded combat
readiness; from difficulties in recruiting and
retaining sufficient numbers of soldiers,
sailors, airmen and Marines; from the effects
of an extended “procurement holiday” that
has resulted in the premature aging of most
weapons systems; from an increasingly
obsolescent and inadequate military
infrastructure; from a shrinking industrial
base poorly structured to be the “arsenal of
democracy” for the 21st century; from a lack
of innovation that threatens the technological
and operational advantages enjoyed
by U.S. forces for a generation and upon
which American strategy depends. Finally,
and most dangerously, the social fabric of
the military is frayed and worn. U.S. armed
forces suffer from a degraded quality of life
divorced from middle-class expectations,
upon which an all-volunteer force depends.
Enlisted men and women and junior officers
increasingly lack confidence in their senior
leaders, whom they believe will not tell
unpleasant truths to their civilian leaders. In
sum, as the American peace reaches across
the globe, the force that preserves that peace
is increasingly overwhelmed by its tasks.
This is no paradox; it is the inevitable
consequence of the failure to match military
means to geopolitical ends. Underlying the
failed strategic and defense reviews of the
past decade is the idea that the collapse of
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The multiple challenges of the
post-Cold War world.
the Soviet Union had created a “strategic
pause.” In other words, until another greatpower
challenger emerges, the United States
can enjoy a respite from the demands of
international leadership. Like a boxer
between championship bouts, America can
afford to relax and live the good life, certain
that there would be enough time to shape up
for the next big challenge. Thus the United
States could afford to reduce its military
forces, close bases overseas, halt major
weapons programs and reap the financial
benefits of the “peace dividend.” But as we
have seen over the past decade, there has
been no shortage of powers around the
world who have taken the collapse of the
Soviet empire as an opportunity to expand
their own influence and challenge the
American-led security order.
Beyond the faulty notion of a strategic
pause, recent defense reviews have suffered
from an inverted understanding of the military
dimension of the Cold War struggle
between the United States and the Soviet
Union. American containment strategy did
not proceed from the assumption that the
Cold War would be a purely military struggle,
in which the U.S. Army matched the
Red Army tank for tank; rather, the United
States would seek to deter the Soviets
militarily while defeating them economically
and ideologically over time. And,
even within the realm of military affairs, the
practice of deterrence allowed for what in
military terms is called “an economy of
force.” The principle job of NATO forces,
for example, was to deter an invasion of
Western Europe, not to invade and occupy
the Russian heartland. Moreover, the bipolar
nuclear balance of terror made both
the United States and the Soviet Union
generally cautious. Behind the smallest
proxy war in the most remote region lurked
the possibility of Armageddon. Thus,
despite numerous miscalculations through
the five decades of Cold War, the United
States reaped an extraordinary measure of
global security and stability simply by
building a credible and, in relative terms,
inexpensive nuclear arsenal.
Over the decade of the post-Cold-War
period, however, almost everything has
changed. The Cold War world was a bipolar
world; the 21st century world is – for the
moment, at least – decidedly unipolar, with
America as the world’s “sole superpower.”
America’s strategic goal used to be
containment of the Soviet Union; today the
task is to preserve an international security
environment conducive to American
interests and ideals. The military’s job
during the Cold War was to deter Soviet
expansionism. Today its task is to secure
and expand the “zones of democratic
peace;” to deter the rise of a new greatpower
competitor; defend key regions of
Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and
to preserve American preeminence through
the coming transformation of war made
Cold War 21st Century
Bipolar Unipolar
Preserve Pax
Deter Soviet
Secure and
expand zones
of democratic
peace; deter
rise of new
defend key
of war
global war
across many
theater wars
spread across
Focus of
Europe East Asia
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Today, America
spends less than
3 percent of its
gross domestic
product on
national defense,
less than at any
time since before
the United States
established itself
as the world’s
leading power.
possible by new technologies. From 1945 to
1990, U.S. forces prepared themselves for a
single, global war that might be fought
across many theaters; in the new century, the
prospect is for a variety of theater wars
around the world, against separate and
distinct adversaries pursuing separate and
distinct goals. During the Cold War, the
main venue of superpower rivalry, the
strategic “center of gravity,” was in Europe,
where large U.S. and NATO conventional
forces prepared to repulse a Soviet attack
and over which nuclear war might begin;
and with Europe now generally at peace, the
new strategic center of concern appears to
be shifting to East Asia. The missions for
America’s armed
forces have not
diminished so
much as shifted.
The threats may
not be as great,
but there are
more of them.
During the Cold
War, America
acquired its
“wholesale” by
global deterrence
of the Soviet
Union. Today,
that same
security can only be acquired at the “retail”
level, by deterring or, when needed, by
compelling regional foes to act in ways that
protect American interests and principles.
This gap between a diverse and
expansive set of new strategic realities and
diminishing defense forces and resources
does much to explain why the Joint Chiefs
of Staff routinely declare that they see “high
risk” in executing the missions assigned to
U.S. armed forces under the government’s
declared national military strategy. Indeed,
a JCS assessment conducted at the height of
the Kosovo air war found the risk level
“unacceptable.” Such risks are the result of
the combination of the new missions
described above and the dramatically
reduced military force that has emerged
from the defense “drawdown” of the past
decade. Today, America spends less than 3
percent of its gross domestic product on
national defense, less than at any time since
before World War II – in other words, since
before the United States established itself as
the world’s leading power – and a cut from
4.7 percent of GDP in 1992, the first real
post-Cold-War defense budget. Most of this
reduction has come under the Clinton
Administration; despite initial promises to
approximate the level of defense spending
called for in the final Bush Administration
program, President Clinton cut more than
$160 billion from the Bush program from
1992 to 1996 alone. Over the first seven
years of the Clinton Administration,
approximately $426 billion in defense
investments have been deferred, creating a
weapons procurement “bow wave” of
immense proportions.
The most immediate effect of reduced
defense spending has been a precipitate
decline in combat readiness. Across all
services, units are reporting degraded
readiness, spare parts and personnel
shortages, postponed and simplified training
regimens, and many other problems. In
congressional testimony, service chiefs of
staff now routinely report that their forces
are inadequate to the demands of the “twowar”
national military strategy. Press
attention focused on these readiness
problems when it was revealed that two
Army divisions were given a “C-4” rating,
meaning they were not ready for war. Yet it
was perhaps more telling that none of the
Army’s ten divisions achieved the highest
“C-1” rating, reflecting the widespread
effects of slipping readiness standards. By
contrast, every division that deployed to
Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991
received a “C-1” rating. This is just a
snapshot that captures the state of U.S.
armed forces today.
These readiness problems are
exacerbated by the fact that U.S. forces are
poorly positioned to respond to today’s
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
crises. In Europe, for example, the
overwhelming majority of Army and Air
Force units remain at their Cold War bases
in Germany or England, while the security
problems on the continent have moved to
Southeast Europe. Temporary rotations of
forces to the Balkans and elsewhere in
Southeast Europe increase the overall
burdens of these operations many times.
Likewise, the Clinton Administration has
continued the fiction that the operations of
American forces in the Persian Gulf are
merely temporary duties. Nearly a decade
after the Gulf War, U.S. air, ground and
naval forces continue to protect enduring
American interests in the region. In addition
to rotational naval forces, the Army
maintains what amounts to an armored
brigade in Kuwait for nine months of every
year; the Air Force has two composite air
wings in constant “no-fly zone” operations
over northern and southern Iraq. And
despite increasing worries about the rise of
China and instability in Southeast Asia, U.S.
forces are found almost exclusively in
Northeast Asian bases.
Yet for all its problems in carrying out
today’s missions, the Pentagon has done
almost nothing to prepare for a future that
promises to be very different and potentially
much more dangerous. It is now commonly
understood that information and other new
technologies – as well as widespread
technological and weapons proliferation –
are creating a dynamic that may threaten
America’s ability to exercise its dominant
military power. Potential rivals such as
China are anxious to exploit these transformational
technologies broadly, while
adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea
are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and
nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American
intervention in regions they seek to
dominate. Yet the Defense Department and
the services have done little more than affix
a “transformation” label to programs
developed during the Cold War, while
diverting effort and attention to a process of
joint experimentation which restricts rather
than encourages innovation. Rather than
admit that rapid technological changes
makes it uncertain which new weapons
systems to develop, the armed services cling
ever more tightly to traditional program and
concepts. As Andrew Krepinevich, a
member of the National Defense Panel, put
it in a recent study of Pentagon experimentation,
“Unfortunately, the Defense
Department’s rhetoric asserting the need for
military transformation and its support for
joint experimentation has yet to be matched
by any great sense of urgency or any
substantial resource support.…At present
the Department’s effort is poorly focused
and woefully underfunded.”
In sum, the 1990s have been a “decade
of defense neglect.” This leaves the next
president of the United States with an
enormous challenge: he must increase
military spending to preserve American
geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back
from the security commitments that are the
measure of America’s position as the
world’s sole superpower and the final
guarantee of security, democratic freedoms
and individual political rights. This choice
will be among the first to confront the
president: new legislation requires the
incoming administration to fashion a
national security strategy within six months
of assuming office, as opposed to waiting a
full year, and to complete another
quadrennial defense review three months
after that. In a larger sense, the new
president will choose whether today’s
“unipolar moment,” to use columnist
Charles Krauthammer’s phrase for
America’s current geopolitical preeminence,
will be extended along with the peace and
prosperity that it provides.
This study seeks to frame these choices
clearly, and to re-establish the links between
U.S. foreign policy, security strategy, force
planning and defense spending. If an
American peace is to be maintained, and
expanded, it must have a secure foundation
on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
None of the
defense reviews
of the past
decade has
weighed fully
the range of
demanded by
U.S. global
leadership, nor
quantified the
forces and
necessary to
execute these
America’s global leadership, and its role
as the guarantor of the current great-power
peace, relies upon the safety of the
American homeland; the preservation of a
favorable balance of power in Europe, the
Middle East and surrounding energyproducing
region, and East Asia; and the
general stability of the international system
of nation-states relative to terrorists,
organized crime, and other “non-state
actors.” The relative importance of these
elements, and the threats to U.S. interests,
may rise and fall over time. Europe, for
example, is now extraordinarily peaceful
and stable, despite the turmoil in the
Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to
be entering a period with increased potential
for instability and competition. In the Gulf,
American power and presence has achieved
relative external security for U.S. allies, but
the longer-term prospects are murkier.
Generally, American strategy for the coming
decades should seek to consolidate the great
victories won in the 20th century – which
have made Germany and Japan into stable
democracies, for example – maintain
stability in the Middle East, while setting the
conditions for 21st-century successes,
especially in East Asia.
A retreat from any one of these
requirements would call America’s status as
the world’s leading power into question. As
we have seen, even a small failure like that
in Somalia or a halting and incomplete
triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on
American credibility. The failure to define a
coherent global security and military
strategy during the post-Cold-War period
has invited challenges; states seeking to
establish regional hegemony continue to
probe for the limits of the American security
perimeter. None of the defense reviews of
the past decade has weighed fully the range
of missions demanded by U.S. global
leadership: defending the homeland,
fighting and
winning multiple
large-scale wars,
missions which
preserve the
current peace, and
transforming the
U.S. armed forces
to exploit the
“revolution in
military affairs.”
Nor have they
quantified the
forces and
necessary to
execute these
separately and
While much
further detailed
analysis would be required, it is the purpose
of this study to outline the large, “fullspectrum”
forces that are necessary to
conduct the varied tasks demanded by a
strategy of American preeminence for today
and tomorrow.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
HOMELAND DEFENSE. America must defend its homeland. During the Cold War,
nuclear deterrence was the key element in homeland defense; it remains essential. But the
new century has brought with it new challenges. While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the
United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and
weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action
by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new and current
missions for U.S. armed forces, this must have priority.
LARGE WARS. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly
deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to
unanticipated contingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces.
This resembles the “two-war” standard that has been the basis of U.S. force planning over
the past decade. Yet this standard needs to be updated to account for new realities and
potential new conflicts.
CONSTABULARY DUTIES. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the
current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. A decade’s
experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be
expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the
continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in
vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today’s most frequent missions, requiring forces
configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations.
TRANSFORM U.S. ARMED FORCES. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the socalled
“revolution in military affairs,” sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies
into military systems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a
share of force structure and defense budgets.
Current American armed forces are illprepared
to execute these four missions.
Over the past decade, efforts to design and
build effective missile defenses have been
ill-conceived and underfunded, and the
Clinton Administration has proposed deep
reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without
sufficient analysis of the changing global
nuclear balance of forces. While, broadly
speaking, the United States now maintains
sufficient active and reserve forces to meet
the traditional two-war standard, this is true
only in the abstract, under the most
favorable geopolitical conditions. As the
Joint Chiefs of Staff have admitted
repeatedly in congressional testimony, they
lack the forces necessary to meet the twowar
benchmark as expressed in the warplans
of the regional commanders-in-chief. The
requirements for major-war forces must be
reevaluated to accommodate new strategic
realities. One of these new realities is the
requirement for peacekeeping operations;
unless this requirement is better understood,
America’s ability to fight major wars will be
jeopardized. Likewise, the transformation
process has gotten short shrift.
To meet the requirements of the four
new missions highlighted above, the United
States must undertake a two-stage process.
The immediate task is to rebuild today’s
force, ensuring that it is equal to the tasks
before it: shaping the peacetime environment
and winning multiple, simultaneous
theater wars; these forces must be large
enough to accomplish these tasks without
running the “high” or “unacceptable” risks it
faces now. The second task is to seriously
embark upon a transformation of the
Defense Department. This itself will be a
two-stage effort: for the next decade or
more, the armed forces will continue to
operate many of the same systems it now
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
A new assessment of the global
nuclear balance, one that takes
account of Chinese and other nuclear
forces as well as Russian, must
precede decisions about U.S. nuclear
force cuts.
does, organize themselves in traditional
units, and employ current operational
concepts. However, this transition period
must be a first step toward more substantial
reform. Over the next several decades, the
United States must field a global system of
missile defenses, divine ways to control the
new “international commons” of space and
cyberspace, and build new kinds of
conventional forces for different strategic
challenges and a new technological
Nuclear Forces
Current conventional wisdom about
strategic forces in the post-Cold-War world
is captured in a comment made by the late
Les Aspin, the Clinton Administration's first
secretary of defense. Aspin wrote that the
collapse of the Soviet Union had “literally
reversed U.S. interests in nuclear weapons”
and, “Today, if offered the magic wand to
eradicate the existence and knowledge of
nuclear weapons, we would very likely
accept it.” Since the United States is the
world’s dominant conventional military
power, this sentiment is understandable. But
it is precisely because we have such power
that smaller adversarial states, looking for an
equalizing advantage, are determined to
acquire their own weapons of mass
destruction. Whatever our fondest wishes,
the reality of the today’s world is that there
is no magic wand with which to eliminate
these weapons (or, more fundamentally, the
interest in acquiring them) and that deterring
their use requires a reliable and dominant
U.S. nuclear capability.
While the formal U.S. nuclear posture
has remained conservative through the 1994
Nuclear Posture Review and the 1997
Quadrennial Defense Review, and senior
Pentagon leaders speak of the continuing
need for nuclear deterrent forces, the Clinton
Administration has taken repeated steps to
undermine the readiness and effectiveness of
U.S. nuclear forces. In particular, it has
virtually ceased development of safer and
more effective nuclear weapons; brought
underground testing to a complete halt; and
allowed the Department of Energy’s
weapons complex and associated scientific
expertise to atrophy for lack of support. The
administration has also made the decision to
retain current weapons in the active force for
years beyond their design life. When
combined with the decision to cut back on
regular, non-nuclear flight and system tests
of the weapons themselves, this raises a host
of questions about the continuing safety and
reliability of the nation’s strategic arsenal.
The administration’s stewardship of the
nation's deterrent capability has been aptly
described by Congress as “erosion by
Rather than maintain and improve
America’s nuclear deterrent, the Clinton
Administration has put its faith in new arms
control measures, most notably by signing
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(CTBT). The treaty proposed a new
multilateral regime, consisting of some 150
states, whose principal effect would be to
constrain America's unique role in providing
the global nuclear umbrella that helps to
keep states like Japan and South Korea from
developing the weapons that are well within
their scientific capability, while doing little
to stem nuclear weapons proliferation.
Although the Senate refused to ratify the
treaty, the administration continues to abide
by its basic strictures. And while it may
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
stewardship of
the nation’s
capability has
been described
by Congress as
“erosion by
make sense to continue the current
moratorium on nuclear testing for the
moment – since it would take a number of
years to refurbish the neglected testing
infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is
an untenable situation. If the United States
is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both
effective and safe, it will need to test.
That said, of all the elements of U.S.
military force posture, perhaps none is more
in need of reevaluation than America’s
nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain
a critical component of American military
power but it is unclear whether the current
U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the
emerging post-Cold War world. Today’s
strategic calculus encompasses more factors
than just the balance of terror between the
United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force
planning and related arms control policies
must take account of a larger set of variables
than in the past, including the growing
number of small
nuclear arsenals –
from North Korea
to Pakistan to,
perhaps soon,
Iran and Iraq –
and a modernized
and expanded
Chinese nuclear
force. Moreover,
there is a question
about the role
nuclear weapons
should play in
deterring the use
of other kinds of weapons of mass destruction,
such as chemical and biological, with
the U.S. having foresworn those weapons’
development and use. It addition, there may
be a need to develop a new family of nuclear
weapons designed to address new sets of
military requirements, such as would be
required in targeting the very deep underground,
hardened bunkers that are being
built by many of our potential adversaries.
Nor has there been a serious analysis done
of the benefits versus the costs of maintaining
the traditional nuclear “triad.” What is
needed first is a global net assessment of
what kinds and numbers of nuclear weapons
the U.S. needs to meet its security
responsibilities in a post-Soviet world.
In short, until the Department of
Defense can better define future its nuclear
requirements, significant reductions in U.S.
nuclear forces might well have unforeseen
consequences that lessen rather than
enhance the security of the United States
and its allies. Reductions, upon review,
might be called for. But what should finally
drive the size and character of our nuclear
forces is not numerical parity with Russian
capabilities but maintaining American
strategic superiority – and, with that
superiority, a capability to deter possible
hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S.
nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed
of; rather, it will be an essential element in
preserving American leadership in a more
complex and chaotic world.
Forces for Major Theater Wars
The one constant of Pentagon force
planning through the past decade has been
the recognized need to retain sufficient
combat forces to fight and win, as rapidly
and decisively as possible, multiple, nearly
simultaneous major theater wars. This
constant is based upon two important truths
about the current international order. One,
the Cold-War standoff between America and
its allies and the Soviet Union that made for
caution and discouraged direct aggression
against the major security interests of either
side no longer exists. Two, conventional
warfare remains a viable way for aggressive
states to seek major changes in the
international order.
Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait reflected
both truths. The invasion would have been
highly unlikely, if not impossible, within the
context of the Cold War, and Iraq overran
Kuwait in a matter of hours. These two
truths revealed a third: maintaining or
restoring a favorable order in vital regions in
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Joint Chiefs
have admitted
they lack the
forces necessary
to meet the twowar
the world such as Europe, the Middle East
and East Asia places a unique responsibility
on U.S. armed forces. The Gulf War and
indeed the subsequent lesser wars in the
Balkans could hardly have been fought and
won without the dominant role played by
American military might.
Thus, the understanding that U.S. armed
forces should be shaped by a “two-majorwar”
standard rightly has been accepted as
the core of America’s superpower status
since the end of the Cold War. The logic of
past defense reviews still obtains, and
received its clear exposition in the 1997
Quadrennial Defense Review, which argued:
A force sized and equipped for
deterring and defeating aggression in
more than one theater ensures that the
United States will maintain the
flexibility to cope with the unpredictable
and unexpected. Such a capability is
the sine qua non of a superpower and is
essential to the credibility of our overall
national security strategy….If the
United States were to forego its ability
to defeat aggression in more than one
theater at a time, our standing as a
global power, as the security partner of
choice and the leader of the
international community would be
called in to question. Indeed, some
allies would undoubtedly read a onewar
capability as a signal that the
United States, if heavily engaged
elsewhere, would no longer be able to
defend their interests…A one-theaterwar
capacity would risk
undermining…the credibility of U.S.
security commitments in key regions of
the world. This, in turn, could cause
allies and friends to adopt more
divergent defense policies and postures,
thereby weakening the web of alliances
and coalitions on which we rely to
protect our interests abroad.
In short, anything less than a clear twowar
capacity threatens to devolve into a nowar
Unfortunately, Defense Department
thinking about this requirement was frozen
in the early 1990s. The experience of
Operation Allied Force in the Balkans
suggests that, if anything, the canonical twowar
force-sizing standard is more likely to
be too low than too high. The Kosovo air
campaign eventually involved the level of
forces anticipated for a major war, but in a
theater other than the two – the Korean
peninsula and Southwest Asia – that have
generated past Pentagon planning scenarios.
Moreover, new theater wars that can be
foreseen, such as an American defense of
Taiwan against a Chinese invasion or
punitive attack, have yet to be formally
considered by Pentagon planners.
To better judge forces needed for
building an American peace, the Pentagon
needs to begin to calculate the force
necessary to
U.S. interests
in Europe, East
Asia and the
Gulf at all
times. The
actions of our
adversaries in these regions bear no more
than a tangential relationship to one another;
it is more likely that one of these regional
powers will seize an opening created by
deployments of U.S. forces elsewhere to
make mischief.
Thus, the major-theater-war standard
should remain the principal force-sizing tool
for U.S. conventional forces. This not to say
that this measure has been perfectly applied
in the past: Pentagon analyses have been
both too optimistic and too pessimistic, by
turns. For example, the analyses done of the
requirement to defeat an Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia almost certainly
overestimates the level of force required.
Conversely, past analyses of a defense of
South Korea may have underestimated the
difficulties of such a war, especially if North
Korea employed weapons of mass destruction,
as intelligence estimates anticipate.
Moreover, the theater-war analysis done for
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The increasing number of
‘constabulary’ missions for U.S.
troops, such as in Kosovo above, must
be considered an integral element in
Pentagon force planning.
the QDR assumed that Kim Jong Il and
Saddam Hussein each could begin a war –
perhaps even while employing chemical,
biological or even nuclear weapons – and
the United States would make no effort to
unseat militarily either ruler. In both cases,
past Pentagon wargames have given little or
no consideration to the force requirements
necessary not only to defeat an attack but to
remove these regimes from power and
conduct post-combat stability operations. In
short, past Defense Department application
of the two-war standard is not a reliable
guide to the real force requirements – and,
of course, past reviews included no analysis
of the kind of campaign in Europe as was
seen in Operation Allied Force. Because
past Pentagon strategy reviews have been
budget-driven exercises, it will be necessary
to conduct fresh and more realistic analyses
even of the canonical two-war scenarios.
In sum, while retaining the spirit of past
force-planning for major wars, the
Department of Defense must undertake a
more nuanced and thoroughgoing review of
real requirements. The truths that gave rise
to the original two-war standard endure:
America’s adversaries will continue to resist
the building of the American peace; when
they see an opportunity as Saddam Hussein
did in 1990, they will employ their most
powerful armed forces to win on the battlefield
what they could not win in peaceful
competition; and American armed forces
will remain the core of efforts to deter,
defeat, or remove from power regional
Forces for ‘Constabulary’ Duties
In addition to improving the analysis
needed to quantify the requirements for
major theater wars, the Pentagon also must
come to grips with the real requirements for
constabulary missions. The 1997
Quadrennial Defense Review rightly
acknowledged that these missions, which it
dubbed “smaller-scale contingencies,” or
SSCs, would be the frequent and
unavoidable diet for U.S. armed forces for
many years to come: “Based on recent
experience and intelligence projections, the
demand for SSC operations is expected to
remain high over the next 15 to 20 years,”
the review concluded. Yet, at the same
time, the QDR failed to allocate any forces
to these missions, continuing the fiction that,
for force planning purposes, constabulary
missions could be considered “lesser
included cases” of major theater war
requirements. “U.S. forces must also be
able to withdraw from SSC operations,
reconstitute, and then deploy to a major
theater war in accordance with required
timelines,” the review argued.
The shortcomings of this approach were
underscored by the experience of Operation
Allied Force in the Balkans. Precisely
because the forces engaged there would not
have been able to withdraw, reconstitute and
redeploy to another operation – and because
the operation consumed such a large part of
overall Air Force aircraft – the Joint Chiefs
of Staff concluded that the United States
was running “unacceptable” risk in the event
of war elsewhere. Thus, facing up to the
realities of multiple constabulary missions
will require a permanent allocation of U.S.
armed forces.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Nor can the problem be solved by
simply withdrawing from current
constabulary missions or by vowing to avoid
them in the future. Indeed, withdrawing
from today’s ongoing missions would be
problematic. Although the no-fly-zone air
operations over northern and southern Iraq
have continued without pause for almost a
decade, they remain an essential element in
U.S. strategy and force posture in the
Persian Gulf region. Ending these operations
would hand Saddam Hussein an important
victory, something any American leader
would be loath to do. Likewise, withdrawing
from the Balkans would place American
leadership in Europe – indeed, the viability
of NATO – in question. While none of
these operations involves a mortal threat,
they do engage U.S. national security
interests directly, as well as engaging
American moral interests.
Further, these constabulary missions are
far more complex and likely to generate
violence than traditional “peacekeeping”
missions. For one, they demand American
political leadership rather than that of the
United Nations, as the failure of the UN
mission in the Balkans and the relative
success of NATO operations there attests.
Nor can the United States assume a UN-like
stance of neutrality; the preponderance of
American power is so great and its global
interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be
indifferent to the political outcome in the
Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it
deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these
missions demand forces basically configured
for combat. While they also demand
personnel with special language, logistics
and other support skills, the first order of
business in missions such as in the Balkans
is to establish security, stability and order.
American troops, in particular, must be
regarded as part of an overwhelmingly
powerful force.
With a decade’s worth of experience
both of the requirements for current
constabulary missions and with the chaotic
political environment of the post-Cold War
era, the Defense Department is more than
able to conduct a useful assessment to
quantify the overall needs for forces
engaged in constabulary duties. While part
of the solution lies in repositioning existing
forces, there is no escaping the conclusion
that these new missions, unforeseen when
the defense drawdown began a decade ago,
require an increase in overall personnel
strength and U.S. force structure.
Transformation Forces
The fourth element in American force
posture – and certainly the one which holds
the key to any longer-term hopes to extend
the current Pax Americana – is the mission
to transform U.S. military forces to meet
new geopolitical and technological
challenges. While the prime directive for
transformation will be to design and deploy
a global missile defense system, the effects
of information and other advanced technologies
promise to revolutionize the nature of
conventional armed forces. Moreover, the
need to create weapons systems optimized
for operations in the Pacific theater will
create requirements quite distinct from the
current generation of systems designed for
warfare on the European continent and those
new systems like the F-22 fighter that also
were developed to meet late-Cold-War
Although the basic concept for a system
of global missile defenses capable of
defending the United States and its allies
against the threat of smaller and simpler
ballistic missiles has been well understood
since the late 1980s, a decade has been
squandered in developing the requisite
technologies. In fact, work on the key
elements of such a system, especially those
that would operate in space, has either been
so slowed or halted completely, so that the
process of deploying robust missile defenses
remains a long-term project. If for no other
reason, the mission to create such a missile
defense system should be considered a
matter of military transformation.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
For the United
States to retain the
technological and
tactical advantages
it now
enjoys, the
effort must be
considered as
pressing a military
mission as
preparing for
today’s theater
As will be argued more fully below,
effective ballistic missile defenses will be
the central element in the exercise of
American power and the projection of U.S.
military forces abroad. Without it, weak
states operating small arsenals of crude
ballistic missiles, armed with basic nuclear
warheads or other weapons of mass destruction,
will be a in a strong position to deter
the United States from using conventional
force, no matter the technological or other
advantages we may enjoy. Even if such
enemies are merely able to threaten
American allies rather than the United States
homeland itself, America’s ability to project
power will be
Alas, neither
strategists nor
force planners
seem to have
grasped this
efforts to fund,
design and
develop an
system of
defenses do not reflect any sense of urgency.
Nonetheless, the first task in transforming
U.S. military to meet the technological and
strategic realities of a new century is to
create such a system.
Creating a system of global missile
defenses is but the first task of
transformation; the need to reshape U.S.
conventional forces is almost as pressing.
For, although American armed forces
possess capabilities and enjoy advantages
that far surpass those of even our richest and
closest allies, let alone our declared and
potential enemies, the combination of
technological and strategic change that
marks the new century places these
advantages at risk. Today’s U.S.
conventional forces are masters of a mature
paradigm of warfare, marked by the
dominance of armored vehicles, aircraft
carriers and, especially, manned tactical
aircraft, that is beginning to be overtaken by
a new paradigm, marked by long-range
precision strikes and the proliferation of
missile technologies. Ironically, it has been
the United States that has pioneered this new
form of high-technology conventional
warfare: it was suggested by the 1991 Gulf
War and has been revealed more fully by the
operations of the past decade. Even the
“Allied Force” air war for Kosovo showed a
distorted version of the emerging paradigm
of warfare.
Yet even these pioneering capabilities
are the residue of investments first made in
the mid- and late 1980s; over the past
decade the pace of innovation within the
Pentagon has slowed measurably. In part,
this is due to reduced defense budgets, the
overwhelming dominance of U.S. forces
today, and the multiplicity of constabulary
missions. And without the driving challenge
of the Soviet military threat, efforts at
innovation have lacked urgency.
Nonetheless, a variety of new potential
challenges can be clearly foreseen. The
Chinese military, in particular, seeks to
exploit the revolution in military affairs to
offset American advantages in naval and air
power, for example. If the United States is
to retain the technological and tactical
advantages it now enjoys in large-scale
conventional conflicts, the effort at
transformation must be considered as
pressing a mission as preparing for today’s
potential theater wars or constabulary
missions – indeed, it must receive a
significant, separate allocation of forces and
budgetary resources over the next two
In addition, the process of transformation
must proceed from an appreciation
of American strategy and political goals.
For example, as the leader of a global
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
network of alliances and strategic
partnerships, U.S. armed forces cannot
retreat into a “Fortress America.” Thus,
while long-range precision strikes will
certainly play an increasingly large role in
U.S. military operations, American forces
must remain deployed abroad, in large
numbers. To remain as the leader of a
variety of coalitions, the United States must
partake in the risks its allies face; security
guarantees that depend solely upon power
projected from the continental United States
will inevitably become discounted.
Moreover, the process of transformation
should proceed in a spirit of competition
among the services and between service and
joint approaches. Inevitably, new
technologies may create the need for entirely
new military organizations; this report will
argue below that the emergence of space as
a key theater of war suggests forcefully that,
in time, it may be wise to create a separate
“space service.” Thus far, the Defense
Department has attempted to take a
prematurely joint approach to
transformation. While it is certain that new
technologies will allow for the closer
combination of traditional service
capabilities, it is too early in the process of
transformation to choke off what should be
the healthy and competitive face of
“interservice rivalry.” Because the separate
services are the military institutions most
attuned to providing forces designed to carry
out the specific missions required by U.S.
strategy, they are in fact best equipped to
become the engines of transformation and
change within the context of enduring
mission requirements.
Finally, it must be remembered that the
process of transformation is indeed a
process: even the most vivid view of the
armed forces of the future must be grounded
in an understanding of today’s forces. In
general terms, it seems likely that the
process of transformation will take several
decades and that U.S. forces will continue to
operate many, if not most, of today’s
weapons systems for a decade or more.
Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of
transformation will in fact be a two-stage
process: first of transition, then of more
thoroughgoing transformation. The breakpoint
will come when a preponderance of
new weapons systems begins to enter
service, perhaps when, for example,
unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as
numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard,
the Pentagon should be very wary of making
large investments in new programs – tanks,
planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that
would commit U.S. forces to current
paradigms of warfare for many decades to
In conclusion, it should be clear that
these four essential missions for maintaining
American military preeminence are quite
separate and distinct from one another –
none should be considered a “lesser included
case” of another, even though they are
closely related and may, in some cases,
require similar sorts of forces. Conversely,
the failure to provide sufficient forces to
execute these four missions must result in
problems for American strategy. The failure
to build missile defenses will put America
and her allies at grave risk and compromise
the exercise of American power abroad.
Conventional forces that are insufficient to
fight multiple theater wars simultaneously
cannot protect American global interests and
allies. Neglect or withdrawal from
constabulary missions will increase the
likelihood of larger wars breaking out and
encourage petty tyrants to defy American
interests and ideals. And the failure to
prepare for tomorrow’s challenges will
ensure that the current Pax Americana
comes to an early end.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Guarding the
security perimeter
today –
and tomorrow –
will require
changes in U.S.
deployments and
Despite the centrality of major theater
wars in conventional-force planning, it has
become painfully obvious that U.S. forces
have other vital roles to play in building an
enduring American peace. The presence of
American forces in critical regions around
the world is the visible expression of the
extent of America’s status as a superpower
and as the guarantor of liberty, peace and
stability. Our role in shaping the peacetime
security environment is an essential one, not
to be renounced without great cost: it will be
difficult, if not impossible, to sustain the
role of global guarantor without a substantial
overseas presence. Our allies, for whom
regional problems are vital security interests,
will come to doubt our willingness to defend
their interests if U.S. forces withdraw into a
Fortress America. Equally important, our
worldwide web of alliances provides the
most effective and efficient means for
exercising American global leadership; the
benefits far outweigh the burdens. Whether
established in permanent bases or on
rotational deployments, the operations of
U.S. and allied forces abroad provide the
first line of defense of what may be
described as the “American security
Since the collapse of the Soviet empire,
this perimeter has expanded slowly but
inexorably. In Europe, NATO has
expanded, admitting three new members and
acquiring a larger number of “adjunct”
members through the Partnership for Peace
program. Tens of thousands of U.S, NATO
and allied troops are on patrol in the
Balkans, and have fought a number of
significant actions there; in effect, the region
is on the road to becoming a NATO
protectorate. In the Persian Gulf region, the
presence of American forces, along with
British and French units, has become a semipermanent
fact of life. Though the
immediate mission of those forces is to
enforce the no-fly zones over northern and
southern Iraq, they represent the long-term
commitment of the United States and its
major allies to a region of vital importance.
Indeed, the United
States has for
decades sought to
play a more
permanent role in
Gulf regional
security. While
the unresolved
conflict with Iraq
provides the
justification, the
need for a
American force
presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of
the regime of Saddam Hussein. In East
Asia, the pattern of U.S. military operations
is shifting to the south: in recent years,
significant naval forces have been sent to the
region around Taiwan in response to
Chinese provocation, and now a contingent
of U.S. troops is supporting the Australianled
mission to East Timor. Across the
globe, the trend is for a larger U.S. security
perimeter, bringing with it new kinds of
The placement of U.S. bases has yet to
reflect these realities – if anything, the
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
worldwide archipelago of U.S. military
installations has contracted as the perimeter
of U.S. security interests has expanded.
American armed forces far from ideally
positioned to respond to the needs of the
times, but the Pentagon remains tied to
levels of forward-deployed forces that bear
little relationship to military capabilities or
realities. The air war in Kosovo provides a
vivid example: during Operation Allied
Force, U.S. and NATO warplanes were
spread out across the continent of Europe
and even into Asiatic Turkey, forced into a
widely dispersed and very complex pattern
of operations – requiring extensive refueling
efforts and limiting the campaign itself – by
a lack of adequate air bases in southeastern
Europe. The network of American overseas
installations and deployments requires
reconfiguration. Likewise, the structure of
U.S. forces needs to be reconsidered in light
of the changing mission of the American
military. Overall U.S. military force
structure must be rationalized to accommodate
the fact that the presence of these forces
in far-flung outposts or on patrol overseas
may be as important as their theaterwarfighting
missions, especially in Europe.
The requirements of Balkans stabilization,
NATO expansion (including Partnership for
Peace) and other missions within the theater
render it unrealistic to expect U.S. forces in
Europe to be readily available for other
crises, as formal Pentagon planning
presumes. The continuing challenges from
Iraq also make it unwise to draw down
forces in the Gulf dramatically. Securing
the American perimeter today – and
tomorrow – will necessitate shifts in U.S.
overseas operations.
American armed forces stationed abroad
and on rotational deployments around the
world should be considered as the first line
of American defenses, providing reconnaissance
and security against the prospect
of larger crises and conducting stability
operations to prevent their outbreak. These
forces need to be among the most ready,
with finely honed warfighting skills – and
only forces configured for combat indicate
the true American commitment to our allies
and their security interests – but they also
need to be highly versatile and mobile with a
broad range of capabilities; they are the
cavalry on the new American frontier. In
the event of a large-scale war, they must be
able to shape the battlefield while
reinforcing forces based primarily in the
United States arrive to apply decisive blows
to the enemy. Not only must they be
repositioned to reflect the shifting strategic
landscape, they also must be reorganized
and restructured to reflect their new
missions and to integrate new technologies.
At the end of the Cold War, the United
States maintained more than 300,000 troops
in Europe, including two Army corps and 13
Air Force wings plus a variety of independent
sub-units, primarily based in Germany.
The central plain of Germany was the
central theater of the Cold War and, short of
an all-out nuclear exchange, a Soviet
armored invasion of western Europe the
principal threat faced by the United States
and its NATO allies. Today Germany is
unified, Poland and the Czech Republic
members of NATO, and the Russian army
has retreated to the gates of Moscow while
becoming primarily engaged in the
Caucasus and to the south more generally.
Though northern and central Europe are
arguably more stable now than at any time
in history, the majority of American forces
in Europe are still based in the north,
including a theater army and a corps of two
heavy divisions in Germany and just five
Air Force wings, plus a handful of other,
smaller units.
But while northern and central Europe
have remained extraordinarily stable, and
the eastern Germany, Poland and the Czech
Republic have become reintegrated into the
mainstream of European political, economic
and cultural life, the situation in southeastern
Europe has been a tumultuous one.
The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The continuing deployment of forces in
the Balkans reflects a U.S. commitment
to the region’s security. By refusing to
treat these deployments as a shift of the
permanent American presence in
Europe, the Clinton Administration has
increased the burden on the armed
services exponentially.
generally, present the major hurdle toward
the creation of a Europe “whole and free”
from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay
in bringing security and stability to southeastern
Europe has not only prevented the
consolidation of the victory in the Cold War,
it has created a zone of violence and conflict
and introduced uncertainty about America’s
role in Europe.
At the same time, the continuing
deployment of forces in the Balkans reflects
what is in fact a long-term American
commitment to the security of the region.
But by refusing to treat these deployments
as an expansion – or shift – of the permanent
American presence in Europe, reflecting an
enduring interest, the Clinton
Administration has increased the burden on
the armed services exponentially. Rather
than recognizing the need to reposition and
reconfigure U.S. forces in Europe away
from the north to the southeast, current
policy has been to rotate units in and out of
the Balkans, destroying their readiness to
perform other missions and tying up an
increasingly large slice of a significantly
reduced force.
Despite the shifting focus of conflict in
Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces
in northern and central Europe remains. The
region is stable, but a continued American
presence helps to assure the major European
powers, especially Germany, that the United
States retains its longstanding security
interest in the continent. This is especially
important in light of the nascent European
moves toward an independent defense
“identity” and policy; it is important that
NATO not be replaced by the European
Union, leaving the United States without a
voice in European security affairs. In
addition, many of the current installations
and facilities provide critical infrastructure
for supporting U.S. forces throughout
Europe and for reinforcement in the event of
a crisis. From airbases in England and
Germany to headquarters and Army units in
Belgium and Germany, much of the current
network of U.S. bases in northern and
central retains its relevance today as in the
Cold War.
However, changes should be made to
reflect the larger shift in European security
needs. U.S. Army Europe should be
transformed from a single corps of two
heavy divisions and support units into
versatile, combined-arms brigade-sized units
capable of independent action and
movement over operational distances. U.S.
Air Force units in Europe need to undergo a
similar reorientation. The current
infrastructure in England and Germany
should be retained. The NATO air base at
Aviano, Italy, long the primary location for
air operations over the Balkans, needs to be
substantially improved. As with ground
forces, serious consideration should be given
to establishing a permanent and modern
NATO and U.S. airfield in Hungary for
support to central and southern Europe. In
Turkey, Incirlik Air Base, home of
Operation Northern Watch, also needs to be
expanded, improved and perhaps
supplemented with a new base in eastern
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Almost a decade after the end of the
Gulf War, no-fly-zone operations
continue over northern and southern
Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces
generally operate on a regular cycle of
deployments to European waters, they rely
on a network of permanent bases in the
region, especially in the Mediterranean.
These should be retained, and consideration
given to establishing a more robust presence
in the Black Sea. As NATO expands and
the pattern of U.S. military operations in
Europe continues to shift to the south and
east, U.S. naval presence in the Black Sea is
sure to increase. However, as will be
discussed in detail below, this presence
should be based less frequently on full-scale
carrier battle groups.
Persian Gulf
In the decade since the end of the Cold
War, the Persian Gulf and the surrounding
region has witnessed a geometric increase in
the presence of U.S. armed forces, peaking
above 500,000 troops during Operation
Desert Storm, but rarely falling below
20,000 in the intervening years. In Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and other neighboring states
roughly 5,000 airmen and a large and varied
fleet of Air Force aircraft patrol the skies of
Operation Southern Watch, often complemented
by Navy aircraft from carriers in the
Gulf and, during the strikes reacting to
Saddam Hussein’s periodic provocations,
cruise missiles from Navy surface vessels
and submarines. Flights from Turkey under
Northern Watch also involve substantial
forces, and indeed more often result in
combat actions.
After eight years of no-fly-zone
operations, there is little reason to anticipate
that the U.S. air presence in the region
should diminish significantly as long as
Saddam Hussein remains in power.
Although Saudi domestic sensibilities
demand that the forces based in the
Kingdom nominally remain rotational
forces, it has become apparent that this is
now a semi-permanent mission. From an
American perspective, the value of such
bases would endure even should Saddam
pass from the scene. Over the long term,
Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S.
interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even
should U.S.-Iranian relations improve,
retaining forward-based forces in the region
would still be an essential element in U.S.
security strategy given the longstanding
American interests in the region.
In addition to the aircraft enforcing the
no-fly zone, the United States now also
retains what amounts to a near-permanent
land force presence in Kuwait. A substantial
heavy task force with almost the strength of
a brigade rotates four times a year on
average for maneuvers and joint training
with the Kuwaiti army, with the result that
commanders now believe that, in
conjunction with the Southern Watch fleet,
Kuwait itself is strongly defended against
any Iraqi attack. With a minor increase in
strength, more permanent basing
arrangements, and continued no-fly and “nodrive”
zone enforcement, the danger of a
repeat short-warning Iraqi invasion as in
1990 would be significantly reduced.
With the rationalization of ground-based
U.S. air forces in the region, the demand for
carrier presence in the region can be relaxed.
As recent strikes against Iraq demonstrate,
the preferred weapon for punitive raids is
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
the cruise missile, supplemented by stealthy
strike aircraft and longer-range Air Force
strike aircraft. Carrier aircraft are most
useful in sustaining a campaign begun with
missiles and stealth strike aircraft, indicating
that a surface action group capable of
launching several hundred cruise missiles is
the most valuable naval presence in the
Gulf. With a substantial permanent Army
ground presence in Kuwait, the demands for
Marine presence in the Gulf could be scaled
back as well.
East Asia
Current U.S. force planning calls for the
stationing of approximately 100,000 U.S.
troops in Asia, but this level reflects
Pentagon inertia and the legacy of the Cold
War more than serious thinking about
current strategic requirements or defense
needs. The prospect is that East Asia will
become an increasingly important region,
marked by the rise of Chinese power, while
U.S. forces may decline in number.
Conventional wisdom has it that the
37,000-man U.S. garrison in South Korea is
merely there to protect against the possibility
of an invasion from the North. This
remains the garrison’s central mission, but
these are now the only U.S. forces based
permanently on the Asian continent. They
will still have a vital role to play in U.S.
security strategy in the event of Korean
unification and with the rise of Chinese
military power. While Korea unification
might call for the reduction in American
presence on the peninsula and a transformation
of U.S force posture in Korea, the
changes would really reflect a change in
their mission – and changing technological
realities – not the termination of their
mission. Moreover, in any realistic postunification
scenario, U.S. forces are likely to
have some role in stability operations in
North Korea. It is premature to speculate on
the precise size and composition of a postunification
U.S. presence in Korea, but it is
not too early to recognize that the presence
of American forces in Korea serves a larger
and longer-range strategic purpose. For the
present, any reduction in capabilities of the
current U.S. garrison on the peninsula would
be unwise. If anything, there is a need to
bolster them, especially with respect to their
ability to defend against missile attacks and
to limit the effects of North Korea’s massive
artillery capability. In time, or with
unification, the structure of these units will
change and their manpower levels fluctuate,
but U.S. presence in this corner of Asia
should continue.
A similar rationale argues in favor of
retaining substantial forces in Japan. In
recent years, the stationing of large forces in
Okinawa has become increasingly controversial
in Japanese domestic politics, and
while efforts to accommodate local sensibilities
are warranted, it is essential to retain
the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa
represent. If the United States is to remain
the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia,
and to hold together a de facto alliance
whose other main pillars are Korea and
Japan maintaining forward-based U.S.
forces is essential.
In Southeast Asia, American forces are
too sparse to adequately address rising
security requirements. Since its withdrawal
from the Philippines in 1992, the United
States has not had a significant permanent
military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor
can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily
operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast
Asia – and certainly not without placing
their commitments in Korea at risk. Except
for routine patrols by naval and Marine
forces, the security of this strategically
significant and increasingly tumultuous
region has suffered from American neglect.
As the crisis in East Timor demonstrated,
even the strongest of our allies in the region
– from Japan to South Korea to Australia –
possess limited military capabilities and
little ability to project their forces rapidly in
a crisis or sustain them over time. At the
same time, the East Timor crisis and the
larger question of political reform in
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
In Southeast
Asia, American
forces are too
sparse to address
rising security
Indonesia and Malaysia highlight the volatility
of the region. Finally, Southeast Asia
region has long been an area of great interest
to China, which clearly seeks to regain influence
in the region. In recent years, China
has gradually increased its presence and
operations in the region.
Raising U.S. military strength in East
Asia is the key to coping with the rise of
China to great-power status. For this to
proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must
retain their military preeminence and thereby
reassure our regional allies. In Northeast
Asia, the United
States must
maintain and
tighten its ties
with the Republic
of Korea
and Japan. In
Southeast Asia,
only the United
States can reach
out to regional
powers like Australia, Indonesia and
Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult
task requiring sensitivity to diverse national
sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling
by the emergence of new democratic
governments in the region. By guaranteeing
the security of our current allies and newly
democratic nations in East Asia, the United
States can help ensure that the rise of China
is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American
and allied power in the region may provide a
spur to the process of democratization inside
China itself.
In sum, it is time to increase the presence
of American forces in Southeast Asia.
Control of key sea lines of communication,
ensuring access to rapidly growing economies,
maintaining regional stability while
fostering closer ties to fledgling democracies
and, perhaps most important, supporting the
nascent trends toward political liberty are all
enduring security interests for America. No
U.S. strategy can constrain a Chinese
challenge to American regional leadership if
our security guarantees to Southeast Asia are
intermittent and U.S. military presence a
periodic affair. For this reason, an increased
naval presence in Southeast Asia, while
necessary, will not be sufficient; as in the
Balkans, relying solely on allied forces or
the rotation of U.S. forces in stability
operations not only increases the stress on
those forces but undercuts the political goals
of such missions. For operational as well as
political reasons, stationing rapidly mobile
U.S. ground and air forces in the region will
be required.
Moreover, a return to Southeast Asia
will add impetus to the slow process of
alliance-building now afoot in the region. It
is conventional wisdom that the nations of
Southeast Asia are resistant to a NATO-like
regional alliance, but the regional response
to the East Timor crisis – including that of
the new Indonesian government – has been
encouraging. Indeed, forces from the
Philippines have replaced those from
Australia as the lead element in the UN
peacekeeping mission there. And certainly
efforts through the Asian Regional Forum
suggest a trend to closer regional
coordination that might develop into a more
permanent, alliance-like arrangement. In
this process, the United States has the key
role to play. A heightened U.S. military
presence in Southeast Asia would be a
strong spur to regional security cooperation,
providing the core around which a de facto
coalition could jell.
Deployment Bases
As a supplement to forces stationed
abroad under long-term basing
arrangements, the United States should seek
to establish a network of “deployment
bases” or “forward operating bases” to
increase the reach of current and future
forces. Not only will such an approach
improve the ability to project force to
outlying regions, it will help circumvent the
political, practical and financial constraints
on expanding the network of American
bases overseas.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
It would be wise to
reduce the
frequency of
carrier presence in
the Mediterranean
and the Gulf while
increasing U.S.
Navy presence in
the Pacific.
These deployment or forward operating
bases can range from relatively modest
agreements with other nations as well as
modest improvements to existing facilities
and bases. Prepositioned materiel also
would speed the initial deployment and
improve the sustainability of U.S. forces
when deployed for training, joint training
with the host
nation, or
operations in
time of crisis.
Costs for
can be shared
with the host
nation and be
offset as part
of U.S.
security assistance, and would help reduce
the requirement for U.S. forces to deploy to
“bare bones” facilities. Such installations
would be a “force multiplier” in power
projection operations, as well as help
solidify political and security ties with host
Currently, U.S. Southern Command, the
Pentagon’s regional command for Latin
America, is moving to implement a plan for
“forward operating locations” to make up
for the loss of Howard Air Force Base in the
wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Panama
and the return of the Canal Zone. Indeed,
sustaining effective counterdrug air
operations will be difficult after the loss of
Howard until arrangements for the new
locations are in place. To achieve full
coverage of the region for counterdrug
operations, the command plans to utilize
airfields ranging from Puerto Rico to
In addition to securing agreements that
permit adequate access for U.S. forces to
airfields, the new locations must be capable
of 24-hour, all-weather operations; have
adequate air traffic control; have runways of
at least 8000 feet that are capable of bearing
heavy cargo aircraft; have modern refueling
and emergency services; ramp space to park
several AWACS-size planes and meet a
variety of other requirements, including safe
quarters and offices for American personnel.
Yet the command believes that for a
relatively small cost – perhaps $120 million
for the first two of three planned bases – and
with minimal permanent manning it can
offset the loss of a strategic asset like
A recent study done for the Air Force
indicates that a worldwide network of
forward operating bases – perhaps more
sophisticated and suited for combat
operations than the counterdrug locations
planned by SOUTHCOM – might cost $5
billion to $10 billion through 2010. The
study speculates that some of the cost might
be paid for by host nations anxious to
cement ties with the United States, or, in
Europe, be considered as common NATO
assets and charged to the NATO common
While it should be a clear U.S. policy
that such bases are intended as a supplement
to the current overseas base structure, they
could also be seen as a precursor to an
expanded structure. This might be attractive
to skittish allies – as in the Persian Gulf
region, where a similar system is in
operation – for whom close ties with
America provokes domestic political
controversy. It would also increase the
effectiveness of current U.S. forces in a
huge region like Southeast Asia,
supplementing naval operations in the
region. Such a network also would greatly
increase U.S. operational flexibility in times
of conflict.
Rotational Naval Forces
The size of today’s Navy and Marine
Corps is driven primarily by the demands of
current rotation policy; the requirement for
11-carrier Navy is a reflection of the
perceived need to keep, on average, about
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
three carriers deployed at any one time. But
because the carrier based in Japan is considered
“deployed” even when in port and not
at sea, the real ratio of total ships to ships at
sea is closer to five- or six-to-one. Indeed,
according to the Quadrennial Defense
Review analysis, the requirements for Navy
forces under “presence” missions exceeds
the two-war requirement for Navy forces by
about 20 percent.
Current rotation plans call for a continuous
battle group presence in Northeast Asia
and close to continuous presence in the
Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea.
However, significant changes in Navy
carrier presence and rotation patterns are
called for. Given the ability to station landbased
forces in Europe and the Gulf, and the
size and nature of the East Asia theater, it
would be wise to reduce the frequency of
carrier presence in the Mediterranean and
the Gulf while increasing U.S. Navy
presence in the Pacific. Further, it is
preferable, for strategic and operational
reasons, to create a second major home port
for a carrier battle group in the southern
Pacific, perhaps in Australia or the
Philippines. Generally speaking, the
emphasis of Navy operations, and carrier
operations in particular, should be increasingly
weighted toward the western Pacific.
Marine deployments would follow suit.
Secondarily, the Navy should begin to
consider other ways of meeting its vital
presence missions than with carrier battle
groups. As cruise missiles increasingly
become the Navy’s first-strike weapon of
choice, the value of cruise missile platforms
as a symbol of American might around the
world are coming to surpass the deterrent
value of the carrier. Unfortunately, during
the course of the post-Cold-War drawdown,
the Navy has divested itself of relatively
more surface combatants and submarines
than aircraft carriers. Though this makes
sense in terms of carrier operations – Aegisequipped
cruisers and destroyers have far
greater capabilities and range than previous
generations of ships, for example – this now
limits the Navy’s ability to transition to new
ways of conducting both its presence and
potential wartime missions.
Moreover, as the Navy introduces new
classes of ships, its manpower requirements
– one of the important factors in determining
the length of deployments and thus overall
Navy rotational policy – will be reduced.
The planned DD-21 destroyer will cut crew
size from 300 to 100. Reduced crew size, as
well as improved overall ship performance,
will increase the opportunities to rotate
crews while keeping ships deployed; the
complexity of crew operations involving
100 sailors and officers is far less than, for
example, the 6,000-man crew of a carrier
plus its air wing. In sum, new capabilities
will open up new ways of conducting
missions that will allow for increased naval
presence at a lower cost.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Elements of
U.S. Army
Europe should
be redeployed to
Europe, while a
permanent unit
should be based
in the Persian
Gulf region.
Executing the variety of missions
outlined above depends upon the capabilities
of the U.S. armed services. For the past
decade, the health of the armed services has
steadily declined. Not merely have their
budgets been dramatically reduced, their
force structures cut and their personnel
strength sapped, modernization programs
starved and efforts at transformation
strangled, but the quality of military life,
essential for preserving a volunteer force,
has been degraded. From barracks to
headquarters to maintenance bay, the
services’ infrastructure has suffered from
neglect. The quality of military housing,
especially abroad, ill becomes a great nation.
The other sinews of a strong service, particularly
including the military education and
training systems, have been disproportionately
and shortsightedly reduced.
Shortages of manpower result in soldiers,
sailors, airmen and Marines spending
increased amounts of time on base maintenance
– mowing grass, repairing roofs,
“painting rocks.” Most disappointing of all,
military culture and the confidence of
service members in their senior leaders is
suffering. As several recent studies and
surveys have demonstrated, civil-military
relations in contemporary America are
increasingly tense.
Army: To ‘Complete’ Europe
And Defend the Persian Gulf
Of all the armed services, the Army has
been most profoundly changed by the end of
the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet
empire in Eastern Europe. The Army’s
active-duty strength has been reduced by 40
percent and its European garrison by three
quarters. At the end of the Cold War, the
Army budget was 50 percent higher than it
is this year; its procurement spending almost
70 percent higher.
At the same time, the Army’s role in
post-Cold-War military operations remains
the measure of American geopolitical
commitment. In the 1991 Gulf War, the
limits of Bush Administration policy were
revealed by the
reluctance to
engage in land
combat and the
limit on ground
within the
Kuwait theater.
In the Balkans,
relatively short
air campaigns
have been
followed by
extended ground
operations; even the 78 days of Operation
Allied Force pale in comparison to the longterm
effort to stabilize Kosovo. In short, the
value of land power continues to appeal to a
global superpower, whose security interests
rest upon maintaining and expanding a
world-wide system of alliances as well as on
the ability to win wars. While maintaining
its combat role, the U.S. Army has acquired
new missions in the past decade – most
immediately, missions associated with
completing the task of creating a Europe
“whole and free” and defending American
interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
These new missions will require the
continued stationing of U.S. Army units
abroad. Although these units should be
reconfigured and repositioned to reflect
current realities, their value as a
representation of America’s role as the
prime guarantor of security is as great as
their immediate war-fighting capabilities.
Indeed, the greatest problem confronting the
Army today is providing sufficient forces for
both these vital missions; the Army is
simply too small to do both well.
These broad missions will continue to
justify the requirement for a large active
U.S. Army. The Army’s increasing use of
reserve component forces for these
constabulary missions breaks the implied
compact with reservists that their role is to
serve as a hedge against a genuine military
emergency. As long as the U.S. garrisons in
the Balkans, for example, require large
numbers of linguists, military police, civil
affairs and other specialists, the active-duty
Army must boost its ranks of soldiers with
these skills. Likewise, as high-intensity
combat changes, the Army must find new
ways to recruit and retain soldiers with hightechnology
skills, perhaps creating
partnerships with industry for extremely
skilled reservists, or considering some skills
as justifying a warrant-officer, rather than an
enlisted, rank structure. In particular, the
Army should:
• Be restored in active-duty strength
and structure to meet the requirements
of its current missions. Overall
active strength should rise to approximately
525,000 soldiers from the
current strength of 475,000. Much of
this increase should bolster the overdeployed
and under-manned units
that provide combat support and
combat service support, such as
military intelligence, military police,
and other similar units.
• Undertake selective modernization
efforts, primarily to increase its
tactical and operational mobility and
increase the effectiveness of current
combat systems through “digitization”
– the process of creating
tactical information networks. The
Army should accelerate its plans to
purchase medium-weight vehicles,
acquire the Comanche helicopter and
the HIMARS rocket-artillery system;
likewise, the heavy Crusader artillery
system, though a highly capable
howitzer, is an unwise investment
given the Army’s current capabilities
and future needs, and should be
• Improve the combat readiness of
current units by increasing personnel
strength and revitalizing combat
• Make efforts to improve the quality of
soldier life to sustain the current
“middle class,” professional Army.
• Be repositioned and reconfigured in
light of current strategic realities:
elements of U.S. Army Europe should
be redeployed to Southeast Europe,
while a permanent unit should be
based in the Persian Gulf region;
simultaneously, forward-deployed
Army units should be reconfigured to
be better capable of independent
operations that include ongoing
constabulary missions as well as the
initial phases of combat.
• Reduce the strength of the Army
National Guard and Army Reserve,
yet recognize that these components
are meant to provide a hedge against
a genuine, large-scale, unanticipated
military emergency; the continuing
reliance on large numbers of
reservists for constabulary missions is
inappropriate and short-sighted.
• Have its budget increased from the
current level of $70 billion annually to
$90 to $95 billion per year.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Current State of the Army
Measuring by its ability to perform any
of the missions outlined above – overseas
presence, fighting major theater wars,
transforming for the future – the Army today
is ill prepared. The most immediate
problem is the decline in current readiness.
Until the spring of 1998, the Army had
managed to contain the worst effects of
frequent deployments, keeping its so-called
“first-to-fight” units ready to react to a crisis
that threatened to become a major theater
war. But now, as recently retired Army
Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer
explained to Congress:
[C]ommanders Army-wide report that
they are reducing the frequency, scope,
and duration of their exercises….
Additionally, commanders
are not always able to
make training as realistic
and demanding as they
would like. In some cases,
commands are not able to
afford the optimum mix of
simulations to live-fire
training events, resulting
in less-experienced staffs.
Several commands report that they are
unable to afford the participation of their
aviation units in Combat Training Center
rotations. Overall, affordable training
compromises are lowering the training
proficiency bar and resulting in
inexperience….Already, readiness at the
battalion level is starting to decline – a
fact that is not going unnoticed at our
Combat Training Centers.
In recent years, both the quality and
quantity of such training has diminished.
Typically, in prior years, a rotational unit
might have eight battalion-level field
training “battles” prior to its Fort Irwin
rotation, and another eight while at the
training center. Today, heavy forces almost
never conduct full battalion field exercises,
and now are lucky to get more than six at the
National Training Center.
Like the other services, the Army
continues to be plagued by low levels of
manning in critical combat and maintenance
specialties. Army leaders frankly admit that
they have too few soldiers to man their
current force structure, and shortages of
NCOs and officers are increasingly common.
For example, in Fiscal Year 1997, the
Army had only 67 percent to 88 percent of
its needs in the four maintenance specialties
for its tanks and mechanized infantry
vehicles. In the officer ranks, there are
significant shortfalls in the captain and
major grades. The result of these shortages
in the field is that junior officers and NCOs
are being asked to assume the duties of the
next higher grade; the “ultimate effect,”
reported Gen. Reimer, “is a reduction in
experience, particularly at the…‘tip of the
The Army’s ability to meet its majorwar
requirements, particularly on the
timetables demanded by the war plans of the
theater commanders-in-chief, is uncertain at
best. Although on paper the Army can meet
these requirements, the true state of affairs is
more complex. The major-theater-war
review conducted for the QDR assumed that
each unit would arrive on the battlefield
fully trained and ready, but manpower and
training shortages across the Army make
that a doubtful proposition, at least without
delays in deployment. Even could the
immediate manpower shortages be remedied,
any attempt to improve training – as
was done even in the run-up to Operation
Desert Storm – would prove to be a significant
bottleneck. The Army’s maneuver
training centers are not able to increase
capacity sufficiently or rapidly enough.
Under the current two-war metric, highintensity
combat is envisioned as a “comeas-
you-are” affair, and the Army today is
significantly less well prepared for such
wars than it was in 1990.
Army Forces Based
In the United States
The primary missions of Army units
based in the United States are to rapidly
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Army needs to restore units
based in the United States – those
needed in the event of a major
theater war – to high states of
reinforce forward-deployed units in times of
crisis or combat and to provide units capable
of reacting to unanticipated contingencies.
In addition, the service must continue to
raise, train and equip all Army forces,
including those of the Army National Guard
and Army Reserve. While the reforming the
posture of its forces abroad is perhaps the
largest task facing the Army for the
immediate future, it is inevitably intertwined
with the need to rebuild and reconfigure the
Army at home.
The need to respond with decisive force
in the event of a major theater war in
Europe, the Persian Gulf or East Asia will
remain the principal factor in determining
Army force structure for U.S.-based units.
However one judges the likelihood of such
wars occurring, it is essential to retain
sufficient capabilities to bring them to a
satisfactory conclusion, including the
possibility of a decisive victory that results
in long-term political or regime change. The
current stateside active Army force structure
– 23 maneuver brigades – is barely adequate
to meet the potential demands. Not only are
these units few in number, but their combat
readiness has been allowed to slip dangerously
over recent years. Manning levels
have dropped and training opportunities
have been diminished and degraded. These
units need to be returned to high states of
readiness and, most importantly, must regain
their focus on their combat missions.
Because the divisional structure still
remains an economical and effective
organization in large-scale operations as
well as an efficient administrative structure,
the division should remain the basic unit for
most stateside Army forces, even while the
service creates new, smaller independent
organizations for operations abroad. The
Army is currently undergoing a redesign of
the basic divisional structure, reducing the
size of the basic maneuver battalion in
response to the improvements that advanced
technologies and the untapped capabilities
of current systems permit. This is a modest
but important step that will make these units
more deployable, and the Army must
continue to introduce similar modifications.
Moreover, Army training should continue its
emphasis on combined-arms, task-force
combat operations. In the continental
United States, Army force structure should
consist of three fully-manned, three-brigade
heavy divisions; two light divisions; and two
airborne divisions. In addition, the stateside
Army should retain four armored cavalry
regiments in its active structure, plus several
experimental units devoted to transformation
activities. This would total approximately
27 ground maneuver brigade-equivalents.
Yet such a force, though capable of
delivering and sustaining significant combat
power for initial missions, will remain
inadequate to the full range of strategic tasks
facing the Army. Thus, the service must
increasingly rely on Guard units to execute a
portion of its potential warfighting missions,
not seek to foist overseas presence missions
off on what should remain part-time
soldiers. To allow the Army National Guard
to play its essential role in fighting largescale
wars, the Army must take a number of
steps to ensure the readiness of Guard units.
The first is to better link the Guard to the
active-duty force, providing adequate
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Returning the
National Guard
to its traditional
role would
allow for a
reduction in
strength while
lessening the
strain of
resources to increase the combat effectiveness
of large Guard units, perhaps to include
the partial manning of the first-to-deploy
Guard brigades with an active command
cadre. Secondly, the Guard’s overall
structure must be adjusted and the overall
number of Army National Guard units – and
especially Guard infantry divisions –
reduced. This would not only eliminate
unnecessary formations but would permit
improved manning of the first-to-fight
Guard units, which need to be manned at
levels significantly above 100 percent
personnel strength to allow for timely
deployment during crises and war.
In addition, the Army needs to
rationalize the missions of the Army
Reserve. Without the efforts of Reservists
over the past decade, the Army’s ability to
conduct the large number of contingency
operations it has faced would be severely
compromised. Yet the effort to rationalize
deployments, as discussed in the previous
section, would also result in a reduction of
demand for Army Reservists, particularly
those with highly specialized skills. Once
the missions in the Balkans, for example, are
admitted to be long-term deployments, the
role of Army Reserve forces should be
diminished and the active Army should
assume all but a very small share of the
In sum, the missions of the Army’s two
reserve components must be adjusted to
post-Cold-War realities as must the missions
of the active component. The importance of
these citizen-soldiers in linking an increasingly
professional force to the mainstream of
American society has never been greater,
and the failure to make the necessary adjustments
to their mission has jeopardized those
links. The Army National Guard should
retain its traditional role as a hedge against
the need for a larger-than-anticipated force
in combat; indeed, it may play a larger role
in U.S. war-planning than heretofore. It
should not be used primarily to provide
combat service support to active Army units
engaged in current operations. A return to
its traditional role would allow for a further
modest strength reduction in the Army
National Guard. Such a move would also
lessen the strain of repeated deployments in
contingency operations, which is
jeopardizing the model of the part-time
soldier upon which Guard is premised.
Similarly, the Army Reserve should retain
its traditional role
as a federal force,
a supplement to
the active force,
but demands for
augmentees for
reduced through
improvements to
active Army
operations and
organizations, and
even added
strength. In the
event that
American forces become embroiled in two
large-scale wars at once, or nearly at once,
Army reserve components may provide the
edge for decisive operations. Such a
capability is a cornerstone of U.S. military
strategy, not to be frittered away in ongoing
contingency operations.
A second mission for Army units based
in the United States is to respond to
unanticipated contingencies. With more
forward-based units deployed along an
expanded American security perimeter
around the globe, these unforeseen crises
should be less debilitating. Units like the
82nd and 101st Airborne divisions and the
Army’s two light infantry divisions, as well
as the small elements of the 3rd Mechanized
Infantry Division, that are kept on high alert,
will continue to provide these needed
capabilities. So will Army special
operations units such as the 75th Ranger
Regiment. Moreover, the creation of
middle-weight, independent units will begin
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
the process of transforming the Army for
future contingency needs. As the
transformation process matures, a wider
variety of Army units will be suitable for
unanticipated contingency operations.
Forward-based Forces
American military presence abroad
draws heavily on ground forces and the
Army, which is the service best suited to
these long-term missions. In the post-Cold-
War environment, these forward-based
forces are, in essence, conducting
reconnaissance and security missions. The
units involved are required to maintain
peace and stability in the regions they patrol,
provide early warning of imminent crises,
and to shape the early stages of any conflict
that might occur while additional forces are
deployed from the United States or
elsewhere. By virtue of this mission, these
units should be self-contained, combinedarms
units with a wide variety of
capabilities, able to operate over long
distances, with sophisticated means of
communication and access to high levels of
U.S. intelligence. Currently, most forwardbased
Army units do not meet this
Such requirements suggest that such
units should be approximately brigade or
regimental-sized formations, perhaps 5,000
strong. They will need sufficient personnel
strength to be able to conduct sustained
traditional infantry missions, but with the
mobility to operate over extended areas.
They must have enough direct firepower to
dominate their immediate tactical situation,
and suitable fire support to prevent such
relatively small and independent units from
being overrun. However, the need for fire
support need not entail large amounts of
integral artillery or other forms of supporting
firepower. While some artillery
will prove necessary, a substantial part of
the fire support should come from Army
attack aviation and deeper fixed-wing
interdiction. The combination of overwhelming
superiority in direct-fire
engagements, typified by the performance of
the Bradley fighting vehicle and M1 Abrams
tank in the Gulf War (and indeed, in the
performance of the Marines’ Light Armored
Vehicle), as well as the improved accuracy
and lethality of artillery fires, plus the
capabilities of U.S. strike aircraft, will
provide such units with a very substantial
combat capability.
These forward-based, independent units
will be increasingly built around the
acquisition and management of information.
This will be essential for combat operations
– precise, long-range fires require accurate
and timely intelligence and robust
communications links – but also for stability
operations. Units stationed in the Balkans,
or Turkey, or in Southeast Asia, will require
the ability to understand and operate in
unique political-military environments, and
the seemingly tactical decisions made by
soldiers on the ground may have strategic
consequences. While some of these needs
can be fulfilled by civilians, both Americans
and local nationals, units stationed on the
American security frontier must have the
capabilities, cohesion and personnel
continuity their mission demands. Chief
among them is an awareness of the security
and political environment in which they are
operating. Especially those forces stationed
in volatile regions must have their own
human intelligence collection capacity,
perhaps through an attached special forces
unit if not solely through an organic
intelligence unit.
The technologies required to field such
forces already exist and many are already in
production or in the Army inventory. New
force designs and the application of
information technologies can give new
utility to existing weaponry. However, the
problem of mobility and weight becomes an
even more pressing problem should ground
forces be positioned in Southeast Asia.
Even forward-based forces would need to be
rapidly deployed over very long distances in
times of crisis, both through fast sealift and
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
landpower is
the essential
link in the
chain that
translates U.S.
supremacy into
airlift; in short, every pound and every cubic
foot must count. In designing such forces,
the Army should consider more innovative
approaches. One short-term approach could
be to build such a unit around the V-22
Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft now being built for
the Marine Corps and for special operations
forces. A second interim approach would be
to expand the capabilities of current airmobile
infantry, by adding refueling probes
to existing helicopters, as on special
operations aircraft. Another approach could
involve the construction of truly fast sealift
In sum, it should be clear that these
independent, forward-based Army units can
become “change-agents” within the service,
opening opportunities for transformational
concepts, even as they perform vital stability
operations in their regions. In addition, such
units would need to train for combat
operations on a regular basis, and will
require new training centers as well as new
garrisons in more relevant strategic
locations. They will operate in a more
dispersed manner reflecting new concepts of
combat operations as well as the demands of
current stability operations. In urban areas
or in the jungles of Southeast Asia, they will
operate in complex terrain that may more
accurately predict future warfare. Certainly,
new medium-weight or air-mobile units will
provide a strong incentive to begin to
transform the Army more fundamentally for
the future. Not only would increased
mobility and information capabilities allow
for new ways of conducting operations, the
lack of heavy armor would mandate new
tactics, doctrines and organizations. Even
among those units equipped with the current
Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle,
the requirement for independent operations,
closer ties to other services’ forces and
introduction of new intelligence and
communications capabilities would result in
innovation. Most profoundly, such new
units and concepts would give the process of
transformation a purpose within the Army;
soldiers would be a part of the process and
take its lessons to heart, breaking down
bureaucratic resistance to change.
In addition to these newer force designs
for Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere in East
Asia, the Army should retain a force
approximating that currently based in Korea.
In addition to headquarters units there, the
U.S. ground force presence is built around
the two brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division.
This unit is already a hybrid, neither a
textbook heavy division nor a light division.
While retaining the divisional structure to
allow for the smooth introduction of followon
forces in times
of crisis, the Army
also should begin
to redesign this unit
to allow for longerrange
Because of the
massive amount of
North Korean
artillery, counterbattery
fires will play an
important role in
any war on the
suggesting that improving the rocket
artillery capabilities of the U.S. division is a
modest but wise investment. Likewise,
increasing the aviation and attack helicopter
assets of U.S. ground forces in Korea would
give commanders options they do not now
have. The main heavy forces of the South
Korean army are well trained and equipped,
but optimized for defending Seoul and the
Republic of Korea as far north as possible.
In time, the 2nd Infantry Division’s two
brigades might closely resemble the kind of
independent, combined-arms forces needed
Army Modernization and Budgets
Since the end of the Cold War, the
Army has suffered dramatic budget
cutbacks, particularly in weapons procurement
and research, that have resulted in the
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
In addition to terminating the
Crusader artillery program, the Army’s
annual budget must increase to the
$90 to $95 billion level to finance
current missions and the Army’s longterm
degradation of current readiness described
above and have restricted the service’s
ability to modernize and innovate for the
future. The Army’s current attempts at
transformation have been hobbled by the
need to find “bill-payers” within the Army
In Fiscal Year 1992, the first post-Cold-
War and post-Gulf War Army budget was
$91 billion measured in constant 2000
dollars. This year, the Congress has
approved $69.5 billion for Army operations
– including several billion to pay for
operations in the Balkans – and President
Clinton’s request for 2001 is $70.6 billion,
more than $2 billion of which will be
allocated to Balkans operations. Likewise,
Army procurement spending is way down.
Through the Clinton years, service procurement
has averaged around $8 billion,
dipping to a low of $7.1 billion in 1995; the
2000 request was for $9.7 billion, by far the
largest Army procurement request since the
Gulf War. By contrast, Army weapons
purchases averaged about $23 billion per
year during the early and mid-1980s, when
the current generation of major combat
systems – the M1 tank, Bradley fighting
vehicle, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters
and Patriot missile system – entered
To field an Army capable of meeting the
new missions and challenges discussed
above, service budgets must return to the
level of approximately $90 to $95 billion in
constant 2000 dollars. Some of this increase
would help the Army fill out both its undermanned
units and refurbish the institutional
Army, as well as increasing the readiness of
Army National Guard units. New acquisition
programs would include light armored
vehicles, “digitized” command and control
networks and other situational awareness
systems, the Comanche helicopter, and
unmanned aerial vehicles. Renewed investments
in Army infrastructure would improve
the quality of soldier life. The process of
transformation would be reinvigorated.
But, as the discussion of Army
requirements above indicates, Army
investments must be redirected as well as
increased. For example, the Crusader
artillery program, while perhaps the most
advanced self-propelled howitzer ever
produced, is difficult to justify under
conditions of revolutionary change. The
costs of the howitzer, not merely in
budgetary terms but in terms of the
opportunity cost of a continuing
commitment to an increasingly outmoded
paradigm of warfare, far outweigh the
benefits; the Crusader should be terminated.
However, addressing the Army’s many
challenges will require significantly
increased funding. Though the active-duty
force is 40 percent smaller than its total at
the end of the Cold War, several generations
of Army leadership have chosen to retain
troop strength, paid for by cuts in
procurement and research. This cannot
continue. While the Army may be too small
for the variety of missions discussed above,
its larger need is for reinvestment,
recapitalization and, especially,
transformation. Taken together, these needs
far exceed the savings to be garnered by any
possible internal reforms or efficiencies.
Terminating marginal programs like the
Crusader howitzer, trimming administrative
overhead, base closings and the like will not
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Specialized Air Force aircraft, like the
JSTARS above, are too few in number
to meet current mission demands.
free up resources enough to finance the
radical overhaul the Army needs.
American landpower remains the
essential link in the chain that translates U.S.
military supremacy into American
geopolitical preeminence. Even as the means
for delivering firepower on the battlefield
shift – strike aircraft have realized all but the
wildest dreams of air power enthusiasts,
unmanned aerial vehicles promise to extend
strike power in the near future, and the
ability to conduct strikes from space appears
on the not-too-distant horizon – the need for
ground maneuvers to achieve decisive
political results endures. Regimes are
difficult to change based upon punishment
alone. If land forces are to survive and
retain their unique strategic purpose in a
world where it is increasingly easy to deliver
firepower precisely at long ranges, they
must change as well, becoming more
stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to
operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S.
Army, and American land forces more
generally, must increasingly complement the
strike capabilities of the other services.
Conversely, an American military force that
lacks the ability to employ ground forces
that can survive and maneuver rapidly on
future battlefields will deprive U.S. political
leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy.
Air Force: Toward a Global
First-Strike Force
The past decade has been the best of
times and worst of times for the U.S. Air
Force. From the Gulf War to Operation
Allied Force over Kosovo, the increasing
sophistication of American air power – with
its stealth aircraft; precision-guided
munitions; all-weather and all-hours
capabilities; and the professionalism of
pilots, planners and support crews – has
allowed the Air Force to boast legitimately
of its “global reach, global power.” On
short notice, Air Force aircraft can attack
virtually any target on earth with great
accuracy and virtual impunity. American air
power has become a metaphor for as well as
the literal manifestation of American
military preeminence.
Simultaneously, the Air Force has been
reduced by a third or more, and its
operations have been increasingly diffused.
In addition, the Air Force has taken on so
many new missions that its fundamental
structure has been changed. During the
Cold War, the Air Force was geared to fight
a large-scale air battle to clear the skies of
Soviet aircraft; today’s Air Force is
increasingly shaped to continue monotonous
no-fly-zone operations, conduct periodic
punitive strikes, or to execute measured,
low-risk, no-fault air campaigns like Allied
Force. The service’s new “Air
Expeditionary Force” concept turns the
classic, big-war “air campaign” model
largely on its head.
Like the Army, the Air Force continues
to operate Cold-War era systems in this new
strategic and operational environment. The
Air Force’s frontline fighter aircraft, the F-
15 and F-16, were built to out-perform more
numerous Soviet fighters; U.S. support
aircraft, from AWACS and JSTARS
command-and-control planes to electronic
jamming aircraft to tankers, were meant to
work in tandem with large numbers of
American fighters. The U.S. bomber fleet’s
primary mission was nuclear deterrence.
The Air Force also has begun to
purchase new generations of manned
combat aircraft that were designed during
the late Cold War; the F-22 and, especially,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
the Joint Strike Fighter, are a response to
requirements established long ago.
Conversely, the decision to terminate the B-
2 bomber program was taken before its
effectiveness as a long-range, precision,
conventional-strike platform was
established; in the wake of Operation Allied
Force, regional commanders-in-chief have
begun to reevaluate how such a capability
might serve their uses. Further, the Air
Force should reevaluate the need for greater
numbers of long-range systems. In some
regions, the ability to operate from tactical
airfields is increasingly problematic and in
others – notably East Asia – the theater is
simply so vast that even “tactical,” in-theater
operations will require long-range
In sum, the Air Force has begun to adapt
itself to the new requirements of the time,
yet is far from completing the needed
changes to its posture, structure, or
programs. Moreover, the Air Force is too
small – especially its fleet of support aircraft
– and poorly positioned to conduct sustained
operations for maintaining American
military preeminence. Air Force procurement
funds have been reduced, and service
leaders have cut back on purchases of spare
parts, support aircraft, and even replacements
for current fighters in an attempt to
keep the F-22 program on track. Although
air power remains the most flexible and
responsive element of U.S. military power,
the Air Force needs to be restructured,
repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to
assure continued “global reach, global
power.” In particular, the Air Force should:
• Be redeployed to reflect the shifts in
international politics. Independent,
expeditionary air wings containing a
broad mix of aircraft, including
electronic warfare, airborne
command and control, and other
support aircraft, should be based in
Italy, Southeastern Europe, central
and perhaps eastern Turkey, the
Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia.
• Realign the remaining Air Force units
in Europe, Asia and the United States
to optimize their capabilities to
conduct multiple large-scale air
• Make selected investments in current
generations of combat and support
aircraft to sustain the F-15 and F-16
fleets for longer service life, purchase
additional sets of avionics for specialmission
fighters, increase planned
fleets of AWACS, JSTARS and other
electronic support planes, and expand
stocks of precision-guided munitions.
• Develop plans to increase electronic
warfare support fleets, such as by
creating “Wild Weasel” and jammer
aircraft based upon the F-15E
• Restore the condition of the
institutional Air Force, expanding its
personnel strength, rebuilding its
corps of pilots and experienced
maintenance NCOs, expanding
support specialties such as intelligence
and special police and reinvigorating
its training establishment.
• Overall Air Force active personnel
strength should be gradually
increased by approximately 30,000 to
40,000, and the service should rebuild
a structure of 18 to 19 active and 8
reserve wing equivalents.
The State of the Air Force
Also like the Army, in recent years the
Air Force has undertaken missions
fundamentally different than those assigned
during the Cold War. The years since the
fall of the Berlin Wall have been anything
but predictable. In 1997, the Air Force had
four times more forces deployed than in
1989, the last year of the Cold War, but one
third fewer personnel on active duty.
Modernization has slowed to a crawl. Under
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
such circumstances, the choices made to
build a warfighting force can become
liabilities. As Thomas Moorman, vice chief
of staff of the Air Force from 1994 through
1997, has stated:
None of us believed, at the end of the
Cold War, that we would be doing
Northern Watch and Southern Watch in
1998. Bosnia still exists – everyone [in
the Air Force has] been there since
1995….Couple that with the fact that
we've seen surges, particularly in Iraq.
Saddam Hussein has been very effective
in pulling our chain, and we've had
three major deployments, the last of
which was very significant; it was 4,000
people and 100 aircraft. And we stayed
over there a lot longer than we thought
we would.
As a result, Air Force “readiness is
slipping – it’s not just anecdotal; it’s
factual,” says Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air
Force Chief of Staff. Since 1996, according
to Ryan, the Air Force has experienced “an
overall 14 percent degradation in the operational
readiness of our major operational
units.” And although Air Force leaders
claim that the service holds all its units at
the same levels of readiness – that it does
not, as the Navy does, practice “tiered”
readiness where first-to-fight units get more
resources – the level of readiness in stateside
units has slipped below those deployed
overseas. For example, Air Combat
Command, the main tactical fighter
command based in the United States, has
suffered a 50 percent drop in readiness rates,
compared to the service-wide drop in
operational readiness of 14 percent.
These readiness problems are the result
of a pace of operations that is slowly but
surely consuming the Air Force. A 1998
study by RAND, “Air Force Operations
Overseas in Peacetime: OPTEMPO and
Force Structure Implications,” concluded
that today’s Air Force is barely large enough
to sustain current no-fly-zone and similar
constabulary contingencies, let alone handle
a major war. While the Department of
Defense has come to recognize the heavy
burden placed upon the Air Force’s
AWACS and other specialized aircraft, the
study found that “specialized aircraft are
experiencing a rate of utilization well
beyond the level that the current force
structure would seem able to support on a
long-term basis.” The study also revealed
that the current fighter force is stretched to
its limit as well. Under current assumptions,
the current fighter structure “has the
capacity to meet the [peacekeeping]
demand, but with a meager reserve – only
about a third of a squadron (8 aircraft)
beyond the demand.” An additional no-flyzone
mission, such as is now being
conducted over the Balkans, for example,
“would be difficult to meet on a sustained
basis.” According to Ryan, the
accumulation of these constabulary missions
has had a dramatic effect on the Air Force.
He recently summarized the situation for
Our men and women
are separated from
their home bases
and families for
unpredictable and
extended periods
every year — with a
significant negative
impact on retention.
Our home-station
manning has become
inadequate — and workload has
increased — because forces are
frequently deployed even though homestation
operations must continue at
near-normal pace. Our units deploying
forward must carry much more
infrastructure to expeditionary bases.
Force protection and critical mission
security for forward-deployed forces is
a major consideration. The demands on
our smaller units, such as [intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance] and
combat search and rescue units, have
dramatically increased — they are
properly sized for two major theater
wars, but some are inadequately sized
for multiple, extended contingency
operations. Due to the unpredictable
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Air Combat
Command, the
main tactical
command based
in the United
States, has
suffered a 50
percent drop in
readiness rates.
nature of contingencies, training
requirements have been expanded, and
training cannot always be fully
accomplished while deployed
supporting contingencies. Because
contingencies are unpredictable, it is
much more difficult to use Reserve
Component forces, many of whom need
time to coordinate absences with
civilian employers before they are free
to take up their Air Force jobs.
These cumulative stresses have created a
panoply of problems for the Air Force:
recruiting and retention of key personnel,
especially pilots, is an unprecedented worry;
the service’s fleet of aircraft, especially
support aircraft, is aging significantly; spare
parts shortages, along with shortages of
electronic subsystems and advanced
munitions, restricts both operational and
training missions; and the quality and
quantity of air combat training has declined.
Even as routine, home-station combat
training has suffered in recent years, so have
the Air Force’s major air combat exercises.
Lack of funds for training, reports Ryan,
means that “aircrews will no longer be able
to meet many training requirements and
threat training will be reduced to unrealistic
level. Aircrews will develop a false sense of
security while training against unrealistic
threats.” Similarly, the Air Force’s program
to provide advanced “aggressor” training to
its pilots is a shadow of its former self:
during the 1980s there was one aggressor
aircraft for every 35 Air Force fighters;
today, the ratio is one for every 240 fighters.
The frequency with which Air Force
aircrews participate in “Red Flag” exercises
has declined from once every 12 months to
once every 18 months.
The Air Force’s problems are further
compounded by the procurement holiday of
the 1990s. The dramatic aging of the Air
Force fleet and the resulting increase in cost
and maintenance workload caused by aircraft
fatigue, corrosion and parts obsolescence
is the second driving factor in decreasing
service readiness. By the turn of
the century, the average Air Force aircraft
will be 20 years old and by 2015, even
allowing for the introduction of the F-22 and
Joint Strike Fighter and continuing
purchases of current aircraft such as the C-
17, the average age of the fleet will be 30
years old. The increased expense of
operating older aircraft is well illustrated by
the difference in airframe depot maintenance
cost between the oldest F-15A and B models
– at approximately 21 years old, such repairs
average about $1.9 million per aircraft –
versus the newest
F-15E model – at
8 years in average
age, the same
kinds of repairs
cost about $1.3
million per plane,
a 37 percent cost
difference. But
perhaps the
costliest measure
of an aging fleet
is that fewer
airplanes are
ready for combat.
Overall Air Force “non-mission capable
rates,” or grounded aircraft, have increased
from 17 percent in 1991 to 25 percent today.
These rates continue to climb despite the
fact that Air Force maintenance personnel
are working harder and longer to put planes
up. The process of parts cannibalization –
transferring a part from one plane being
repaired to keep another flying – has
increased by 58 percent from 1995 to 1998.
Some of the Air Force’s readiness
problems stem from the overall reduction in
its procurement budget, combined with the
service’s determination to keep the F-22
program on track – as much as possible.
The expense of the “Raptor” has forced the
Air Force to make repeated cuts in other
programs, not only in other aircraft
programs, but in spare parts and even in
personnel programs; even the Air Force’s
pilot shortage stems in part from decisions
taken to free up funds for the F-22. These
effects have been doubly compounded by
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
the changes in the pattern of Air Force
operations over the past 10 years. Support
aircraft such as the AWACS and JSTARS,
electronic combat and tanker aircraft were
all intended to operate in concert with large
numbers of tactical aircraft in large-scale
operations. But in fact, they are more often
called upon now to operate with just a
handful of fighter or strike aircraft in no-fly
zone operations or other contin-gencies. As
a result, these types of aircraft routinely are
rated as “low-density, high-demand”
systems in the Pentagon’s joint-service
readiness assessments; in other words, there
are too few of them to meet mission requirements.
The Air Force’s modernization
program has yet to fully reflect this phenomenon.
For example, the formal JSTARS
“requirement” was reduced from 19 to 13
aircraft; only lately has an increased requirement
been recognized. Likewise, the
original C-17 procurement was cut from 210
to 120 aircraft. In fact, to meet emerging
requirements, it is likely that 210 C-17s may
be too few. Overall, the Air Force’s
modernization programs need a thoroughgoing
reassessment in light of new missions
and their requirements.
Forward-Based Forces
The pattern of Air Force bases also
needs to be reconsidered. Currently, the Air
Force maintains forward-based forces of
two-and-one-half wing equivalents in
Western Europe; one wing in the Pacific, in
Japan; a semi-permanent, composite wing of
about 100 aircraft scattered throughout the
Gulf region; and a partial wing in central
Turkey at Incirlik Air Force Base. Even
allowing for the inherent flexibility and
range of aircraft, these current forces need to
be supplemented by additional forwardbased
forces, additional permanent bases,
and a network of contingency bases that
would permit the Air Force to extend the
effectiveness of current and future aircraft
fleets as the American security perimeter
In Europe, current forces should be
increased with additional support aircraft,
ranging from an increased C-17 and tanker
fleet to AWACS, JSTARS and other
electronic support planes. Existing forces,
still organized in traditional wings, should
be supplemented by a composite wing
permanently stationed at Incirlik Air Force
Base in Turkey and that base should be
improved significantly. The air wing at
Aviano, Italy might be given a greater
capability as that facility expands, as well.
Additionally, the Air Force should establish
the requirements for similar small composite
wings in Southeastern Europe. Over time,
U.S. Air Forces in Europe would increase by
one to two-and-one-half wing equivalents.
Further, improvements should be made to
existing air bases in new and potential
NATO countries to allow for rapid
deployments, contingency exercises, and
extended initial operations in times of crisis.
These preparations should include
modernized air traffic control, fuel, and
weapons storage facilities, and perhaps
small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as
well as sufficient ramp space to accommodate
surges in operations. Improvements
also should be made to existing facilities in
England to allow forward operation of B-2
bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie
rates if needed.
In the Persian Gulf region, the
provisional 4044th Wing should continue to
operate much as it has for the better part of
the last decade. However, the Air Force
should take several steps to improve its
operations while deferring to local political
sensibilities. To relieve the stress of
constant rotations, the Air Force might
consider using more U.S. civilian contract
workers in support roles – perhaps even to
do aircraft maintenance or to provide
additional security. While this might
increase the cost of these operations, it
might also be an incentive to get the Saudis,
Kuwaitis and other Gulf states to assume a
greater share of the costs while preserving
the lowest possible U.S. military profile. By
the same token, further improvements in the
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The overall effectiveness of the B-2
bomber is limited by the small size of
the fleet and the difficulties of
operating solely from Whiteman Air
Force Base in Missouri.
facilities at Al Kharj in Saudi Arabia,
especially those that would improve the
quality of life for airmen and allow
increased combat training, warrant
additional American as well as Saudi
investments. The Air Force presence in the
Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military
strategy, and the United States should
consider it a de facto permanent presence,
even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi,
Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S.
But it is in East Asia that the Air Force
must look to increase its capabilities and
reach. The service currently has about two
wings worth of aircraft stationed at three
bases in Japan and Korea; like the Army, the
Air Force is concentrated in Northeast Asia
and lacks a permanent presence in Southeast
Asia, thus limiting its regional reach. The
Air Force also has an F-15 wing in Alaska
that is officially part of its Pacific force, as
well. The Air Force needs roughly to
double its forces stationed in East Asia,
preferably dispersing its bases in the south
as it has in the north, perhaps by stationing a
wing in the Philippines and Australia. As in
Europe, Air Force operations in East Asia
would be greatly enhanced by the ability to
sustain long-range bomber operations out of
Australia, perhaps also by including the
special maintenance facilities needed to
operate the B-2 and other stealth aircraft.
Further, the Air Force would be wise to
invest in upgrades to regional airfields to
permit surge deployments and, incidentally,
help build ties with regional air forces.
Air Force Units Based
In the United States
Even as the Air Force accelerates
operations and improves its reach in the key
regions of the world, it must retain sufficient
forces based in the United States to deploy
rapidly in times of crisis and be prepared to
conduct large-scale air campaigns of the sort
needed in major theater wars and to react to
truly unforeseen contingencies. Indeed, the
mobility and flexibility of air power
virtually extinguishes the distinction
between reinforcing and contingency forces.
But it is clear that the Air Force’s current
stateside strength of approximately eight to
nine fighter-wing equivalents and four
bomber wings is inadequate to these tasks.
Further, the Air Force’s fleets of support
aircraft are too small for rapid, large-scale
deployments and sustained operations.
The Air Force’s structure problems
reflect troubles of types of aircraft as well as
raw numbers. For example, when the
service retired its complements of F-4 “Wild
Weasel” air defense suppression and EF-111
electronic warfare aircraft, these missions
were assumed by F-16s fitted with HARM
system pods and Navy and Marine EA-6B
“Prowlers,” respectively. The effect has
been to reduce the size of the F-16 fleet
capable of doing other missions. The F-16
was intended to be a multi-mission airplane,
but the heavy requirement for air defense
suppression, even in no-fly-zone operations,
means that these aircraft are only rarely
available for other duties, and their pilots’
skills rusty. Likewise, the loss of the EF-
111 has thrust the entire jamming mission
on the small and old Prowler fleet, and has
left the Air Force without a jammer of its
own. The shortage of these aircraft is so
great that, during Operation Allied Force,
no-fly-zone operations over Iraq were
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Air Force’s
fleets of support
aircraft are too
small for rapid,
and sustained
The Air Force’s airlift fleet is similarly
too small. The lift requirements established
in the early 1990s did not anticipate the pace
and number of contingency operations in the
post-Cold-War world. Nor have the requirements
been changed to reflect force design
changes – both those already made, such as
de facto expeditionary forces in the Army
and Air Force, nor those advocated in this
report. The need to operate in a more dispersed
fashion will increase airlift requirements
Further, the Air Force’s need for other
supporting aircraft is also greater than its
current fleet. As Air Force Chief of Staff
Gen. Ryan has observed, his service is far
short of being a “two-war” force in many of
these capabilities. Even in daily no-fly-zone
operations with relatively small numbers of
fighters, the nature of the mission demands
AWACS, JSTARS and other long-range
electronic support aircraft; EA-6Bs and F-
16s with HARM pods for jamming and air
defense suppression; and several tankers to
permit extended operations over long
ranges. The “supporter-to-shooter” ratios of
the Cold War and of large-scale operations
such as the Desert Storm air campaign have
been completely inverted. Air Force
requirements of such aircraft for perimeter
patrolling missions and for reinforcing
missions far exceed the service’s current
fleets; no previous strategic review has
contemplated these requirements. While
such an analysis is beyond the scope of this
study, it is obvious that significant
enlargements of Air Force structure are
Finally, the Air Force’s fleet of longrange
bombers should be reassessed. As
mentioned above, the operations of the B-2s
during Allied Force are certain to lead to a
reappraisal of the regional commanders’
requirements for that aircraft. Yet another
striking feature of B-2 operations during the
Kosovo war was the length of the missions –
it required a 30-hour, roundtrip sortie from
Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri for
each strike – and the difficulty in sustaining
operations. The bulk of the B-2 fleet is
often reserved for nuclear missions; in sum,
the Air Force could generate no more than
two B-2s every other day for Allied Force.
Whatever the performance of the B-2, its
overall effectiveness is severely limited by
the small size of the fleet and the difficulties
of operating solely from Whiteman. While
the cost of restarting the B-2 production line
may be prohibitive,
the need is obvious;
the Air Force could
increase the
“productivity” of
B-2 operations by
overseas locations
for which the plane
could operate in
times of need, and
by developing a
deployable B-2 maintenance capability. As
the Air Force contemplates its future bomber
force, it should seek to avoid such a
dilemma as it develops successors to the B-
2. And considering the limited viability of
the bomber leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, the
Air Force might seek to have bombers no
longer counted for arms control purposes,
and equip its B-52s and B-2s solely for
conventional strike.
At minimum, the Air Force based in the
United States should be increased by two or
more wing equivalents. However, the
majority of these increases should be
directed at the specialized aircraft that
represent the “low-density, high-demand”
air assets now so lacking. But while this
will do much to alleviate the stresses on the
current fighter fleet, it will not be enough to
offset the effects of the higher tempo of
operations of the last decade; the F-15 and
F-16 fleets face looming block obsolescence.
This will be partly offset by the
introduction of the F-22 into the Air Force
inventory, but as an air superiority aircraft,
the F-22 is not well suited to today’s less
stressful missions. The Air Force is buying
a new race car when it also needs a fleet of
minivans. The Air Force should purchase
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
new multi-mission F-15E and F-16 aircraft.
The C-17 program should be restored to its
original 210-aircraft buy, and the Air Force
should address the need for additional
electronic support aircraft, both in the nearterm
but also in the longer term as part of its
transformation efforts.
If the F-22 is less than perfectly suited
to today’s needs, the problem of the Joint
Strike Fighter program is a larger one
altogether. Moreover, more than half the
total F-22 program cost has been spent
already, while spending to date on the JSF –
although already billions of dollars –
represents the merest tip of what may prove
to be a $223 billion iceberg. And greater
than the technological challenges posed by
the JSF or its total cost in dollars is the
question as to whether the program, which
will extend America’s commitment to
manned strike aircraft for 50 years or more,
represents an operationally sound decision.
Indeed, as will be apparent from the
discussion below on military transformation
and the revolution in military affairs, it
seems unlikely that the current paradigm of
warfare, dominated by the capabilities of
tactical, manned aircraft, will long endure.
An expensive Joint Strike Fighter with
limited capabilities and significant technical
risk appears to be a bad investment in such a
light, and the program should be terminated.
It is a roadblock to transformation and a
sink-hole for defense dollars.
The reconstitution of the stateside Air
Force as a large-scale, warfighting force will
complicate the service’s plans to reconfigure
itself for the purposes of expeditionary
operations. But the proliferation of overseas
bases should reduce many, if not all, of the
burdens of rotational contingency operations.
Because of its inherent mobility and
flexibility, the Air Force will be the first
U.S. military force to arrive in a theater
during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force
must retain its ability to deploy and sustain
sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars
and shape any conflict in its earliest stages.
Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the
Army, that remains the core of America’s
ability to apply decisive military power
when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to
deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the
key component of American military
Air Force Modernization
And Budgets
As with the Army, Air Force budgets
have been significantly reduced during the
past decade, even as the service has taken on
new, unanticipated missions and attempts to
wrestle with the implications of
expeditionary operations. At the height of
the Reagan buildup, in 1985, the Air Force
was authorized $140 billion; by 1992, the
first post-Cold-War budget figure fell to $98
billion. During the Clinton years, Air Force
budgets dropped to a low of $73 billion in
1997; the administration’s 2001 request was
for $83 billion (all figures are FY2000
constant dollars).
During this period, Air Force leaders
sacrificed many other essential projects to
keep the F-22 program going; simply
restoring the service to health – correcting
for the shortfalls of recent years plus the
internal distortions caused by service
leadership decisions – will require time and
significantly increased spending. A gradual
increase in Air Force spending back to a
$110 billion to $115 billion level is required
to increase service personnel strength; build
new units, especially the composite wings
required to perform the “air constabulary
missions” such as no-fly zones; add the
support capabilities necessary to
complement the fleet of tactical aircraft;
reinvest in space capabilities and begin the
process of transformation.
The F-22 Raptor program should be
continued to procure three wings’ worth of
aircraft and to develop and buy the
munitions necessary to increase the F-22’s
ability to perform strike missions; although
the plane has limited bomb-carrying
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Joint Strike Fighter, with limited
capabilities and significant technical
risk, is a roadblock to future
transformation and a sink-hole for
needed defense funds.
capacity, improved munitions can extend its
utility in the strike role. The need for
strategic lift has grown exponentially
throughout the post-Cold-War era, both in
terms of volume of lift and for numbers of
strategic lift platforms; it may be that the
requirement for strategic airlift now exceeds
the requirement in the early 1990s when the
C-17 program was scaled back from a
planned 210 aircraft to the current plan for
just 120. The C-17’s ability to land on short
airfields makes it both a strategic and
tactical airlifter. Or rather, it is the first
airlifter to be able to allow for strategic
deployment direct to an austere theater, as in
Likewise, the formal requirements for
AWACS, JSTARS, “Rivet Joint” and other
electronic support and combat aircraft were
set during the Cold War or before the nature
of the current era was clear. These aircraft
were designed to operate in conjunction with
large numbers of fighter aircraft, yet today
they operate with very small formations in
no-fly zone, or even virtually alone in
counter-drug intelligence gathering
operations. As with the C-17, it is likely
that a genuine calculation of current
requirements might result in a larger fleet of
such aircraft than was considered during the
late Cold War. In sum, the process of
rebuilding today’s Air Force – apart from
procuring sufficient “attrition” F-15s and F-
16s and proceeding with the F-22 – lies
primarily in creating the varied support
capabilities that will complement the fighter
In the wake of the Kosovo air operation,
the Air Force should again reconsider the
issue of strategic bombers. Both the
successes and limitations of B-2 operations
during “Allied Force” suggest that the utility
of long-range strike aircraft has been
undervalued, not only in major theater wars
but in constabulary and punitive operations.
Whether this mandates opening up the B-2
production line again or in accelerating
plans to build a new bomber – even an
unmanned strategic bomber – is beyond the
level of analysis possible in this study. At
the same time, it is unlikely that the current
bomber fleet – mostly B-1Bs with a
shrinking and aging fleet of B-52s and the
few B-2s that will be available for
conventional-force operations – is best
suited to meet these new requirements.
To move toward the goal of becoming a
force with truly global reach – and sustained
global reach – the Air Force must rebuild its
fleet of tanker aircraft. Sustaining a largescale
air campaign, whatever the ability of
strategic-range bombers, must ultimately
rely upon theater-range tactical aircraft. As
amply demonstrated over Kosovo, the
ability to provide tanker support can often
be the limiting factor to such large-scale
operations. The Air Force’s current plan, to
eventually operate a tanker fleet with 75-
year-old planes, is not consistent with the
creation of a global-reach force.
Finally, the Air Force should use some
of its increased budget and the savings from
the cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter
program to accelerate the process of
transformation within the service, to include
developing new space capabilities. The
ability to have access to, operate in, and
dominate the aerospace environment has
become the key to military success in
modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Navy must
begin to reduce its
heavy dependence
on carrier
as will be discussed below, space dominance
may become so essential to the preservation
of American military preeminence that it
may require a separate service. How well
the Air Force rises to the many challenges it
faces – even should it receive increased
budgets – will go far toward determining
whether U.S. military forces retain the
combat edge they now enjoy.
New Course for the Navy
The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S.
Navy in a position of unchallenged
supremacy on the high seas, a dominance
surpassing that even of the British Navy in
the 19th and early parts of the 20th century.
With the remains of the Soviet fleet now
largely rusting in port, the open oceans are
America’s, and the lines of communication
open from the coasts of the United States to
Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet
this very success calls the need for the current
force structure into question. Further,
the advance of precision-strike technology
may mean that naval surface combatants,
and especially the large-deck aircraft
carriers that are the Navy’s capital ships,
may not survive in the high-technology wars
of the coming decades. Finally, the nature
and pattern of Navy presence missions may
be out of synch with emerging strategic
realities. In sum, though it stands without
peer today, the Navy faces major challenges
to its traditional and, in the past, highly
successful methods of operation.
As with the Army, the Navy’s ability to
address these challenges has been additionally
compromised by the high pace of
current operations. As noted in the first
section of this report, the Navy has disrupted
the traditional balance between duty at sea
and ashore, stressing its sailors and
complicating training cycles. Units ashore
no longer have the personnel, equipment, or
opportunities to train; thus, when they go to
sea, they go at lower levels of readiness than
in the past. Modernization has been another
bill-payer for maintaining the readiness of
at-sea forces during the defense drawdown
of the past decade. As H. Lee Buchanan, the
Navy’s top procurement official, recently
admitted, “After the buildup of the 1980s, at
the end of the Cold War we literally stopped
modernizing in order to fund near-term
plummeted by
70 percent.
The result has
been an aging
force structure with little modernization
investment.” According to recently retired
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay
Johnson, the Navy is in danger of slipping
below a fleet of 300 ships, a level that would
create “unacceptable risk” in executing the
missions called for by the national military
strategy. Unfortunately, he added, “The
current level of shipbuilding is insufficient
to preserve even that level of fleet in the
coming decades.”
As a consequence, the Navy is
attempting to conduct a full range of
presence missions while employing the
combat forces developed during the later
years of the Cold War. The Navy must
embark upon a complex process of
realignment and reconfiguration. A decade
of increased operations and reduced
investment has worn down the fleets that
won the Cold War. The demands of new
missions require new methods and patterns
of operations, with an increasing emphasis
on East Asia. To meet the strategic need for
naval power today, the Navy should be
realigned and reconfigured along these lines:
• Reflecting the gradual shift in the
focus of American strategic concerns
toward East Asia, a majority of the
U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all
carrier battle groups, should be
concentrated in the Pacific. A new,
permanent forward base should be
established in Southeast Asia.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
• The Navy must begin to transition
away from its heavy dependence on
carrier operations, reducing its fleet
from 12 to nine carriers over the next
six years. A moratorium on carrier
construction should be imposed after
the completion of the CVN-77,
allowing the Navy to retain a ninecarrier
force through 2025. Design
and research on a future CVX carrier
should continue, but should aim at a
radical design change to accommodate
an air wing based primarily
on unmanned aerial vehicles. The
Navy should complete the F/A-18E/F
program, refurbish and modernize its
support aircraft, consider the
suitability of a carrier-capable version
of the Air Force’s F-22, but keep the
Joint Strike Fighter program in
research and development until the
implications of the revolution in
military affairs for naval warfare are
understood better.
• To offset the reduced role of carriers,
the Navy should slightly increase its
fleets of current-generation surface
combatants and submarines for
improved strike capabilities in littoral
waters and to conduct an increasing
proportion of naval presence missions
with surface action groups.
Additional investments in countermine
warfare are needed, as well.
State of the Navy Today
The first step in maintaining American
naval preeminence must be to restore the
health of the current fleet as rapidly as
possible. Though the Navy’s deployments
today have not changed as profoundly as
have those of the Army or Air Force – the
sea services have long manned, equipped
and trained themselves for the rigors of long
deployments at sea – the number of these
duties has increased as the Navy has been
reduced. The Navy also faces a shipbuilding
and larger modernization problem that, if
not immediately addressed, will reach crisis
proportions in the next decade.
Thus, like the other services, the Navy is
increasingly ill prepared for missions today
and tomorrow. For the past several years,
Adm. Johnson has admitted the Navy “was
never sized to do two [major theater wars]”
– meaning that, after the defense drawdown,
the Navy is too small to meet the requirements
of the current national military
strategy. According to Johnson: “The QDR
concluded that a fleet of slightly more than
300 ships was sufficient for near term
requirements and was within an acceptable
level of risk. Three years of high tempo
operations since then, however, suggest that
this size fleet will be inadequate to sustain
the current level of operations for the long
Even as the Navy has shrunk to a little
more than half its Cold-War size, the pace of
operations has grown so rapidly that the
Navy is experiencing readiness problems
and personnel shortages. These problems
are so grave that forward-deployed naval
forces, the carrier battle groups that are
currently the core of the Navy’s presence
mission, now put to sea with significant
personnel problems. When the USS Lincoln
carrier battle group fired Tomahawk cruise
missiles at terrorist camps in Afghanistan
and suspected chemical weapons facilities in
Sudan, it did so with 12 percent fewer
people in the battle group than on the
previous deployment. Similarly, during the
February 1998 confrontation with Iraq, the
Navy sent three carriers to the Persian Gulf.
The USS George Washington deployed the
Gulf with only 4,600 sailors, almost 1,000
fewer than its previous cruise there two
years earlier. The carrier USS
Independence, dispatched on short notice
from its permanent home in Japan, sailed
with only 4,200 sailors and needed an
emergency influx of about 80 sailors just so
it could be rated fit for combat. The USS
Nimitz, already in the Middle East, was 400
sailors shy of its previous cruise. The Navy
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
also had to issue two urgent calls for
volunteer sailors in port back home.
This is a worrisome trend. Today more
than ever, U.S. Navy operations center
around the carrier battle group. Indeed, the
ability to conduct additional operations or
even training independent from battle group
operations is increasingly difficult. But the
process of piecing together the elements of a
battle group – the carrier itself, its air wing,
its surface escorts, its submarines, and its
accompanying Marine Amphibious Ready
Group – is also becoming a substantial
Bringing a carrier battle group to the
high states of readiness demanded by
deployments to sea is a complex and
rigorous task, involving tens of thousands of
personnel over an 18-month period.
Formally known as the “interdeployment
training cycle” and more often called the
readiness “bathtub,” this period is the key to
readiness at sea. Equipment must be
overhauled and maintained, personnel
assigned and reassigned, and training
accomplished from individual skills up
through complex battle group operations.
Shortfalls and cutbacks felt in the interdeployment
cycle result in diminished
readiness at sea. And finally and vitally
important to the health of an all-volunteer
force – sailors must reestablish the bonds
and ties with their families that allow them
to concentrate on their duties while at sea.
Although Navy leaders have recently
focused on the cutbacks in their interdeployment
training cycle, it is clear that
postponed maintenance and training is
having an increasing effect on the readiness
of forces at sea. As a result, naval task
forces are compelled to complete their
training while they are deployed, rather than
beforehand. And with fully 52 percent of its
ships afloat, including training, and 33
percent actually deployed at sea – compared
to historical norms of 42 percent at sea and
21 percent deployed, Navy leaders are
contemplating a reduction in the size of
carrier battle groups by trimming the
number of escorts. Most ominously, the
Navy’s ability to surge large fleets in
wartime – the requirement to meet the twowar
standard – is declining. As Adm.
Johnson told the Congress:
[N]early every Major Theater War
scenario would require the rapid
deployment of forces from [the United
States]. Because of the increasingly
deep bathtub in our [interdeployment
training cycle] readiness posture, these
follow-on forces
most likely will
not be at the
desired levels of
quickly enough.
Concern over the
readiness of nondeployed
was a
factor to the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
recently changing his overall risk
assessment of a two[-war] scenario to
moderate to high.
This assessment has prompted
Johnson’s successor, Adm. Vernon Clark,
the former commander of the Atlantic Fleet
who was confirmed as CNO in June, to
outline a major reallocation of resources to
increase the readiness of carrier battle
groups – although only to the “C-2” rating
level, still below the highest standard. “To
me, readiness is a top priority,” said Clark in
his confirmation testimony. “It simply
means taking care of the Navy that the
American people have already invested in.”
But while Clark is correct about the
Navy’s increasing troubles maintaining its
current readiness, an even larger problem
looms just over the horizon. The Navy’s
“procurement holiday” of the past decade
has left the service facing a serious problem
of block obsolescence in the next 10 years.
Unless current trends are reversed, the Navy
will be too small to meet its worldwide
commitments. Both in its major ship and
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Navy has
built up a
deficit’ – of
surface ships,
submarines and
aircraft – that
will soon
approach $100
aircraft programs, the Navy has been
purchasing too few systems to sustain even
the reduced, post-Cold War fleet called for
in the Quadrennial Defense Review.
As a result of the significant expansion
of the Navy to nearly 600 ships during the
Reagan years and the following drawdown
of the 1990s, today’s Navy of just over 300
ships is made up of relatively new ships, and
thus the low shipbuilding rates of the past
decade have not yet had a dramatic effect on
the fleet. Assuming the traditional “shiplife”
of about 30
to 35 years,
maintaining a
300-ship Navy
requires the
purchase of about
eight to 10 ships
per year. The
Clinton Administration’s
defense budget
request includes a
request for eight
ships, the first
time in several years that the number is that
high. And the administration’s long-term
plan would purchase 39 ships over 5 years,
still below the required replacement rate, but
an improvement over recent Navy budgets.
However, there is less to this apparent
improvement than meets the eye. The slight
increase in the shipbuilding rate is achieved
by purchasing less expensive auxiliary cargo
ships, which typically cost $300 to $400
million, compared to $1 billion for an attack
submarine or Arleigh Burke-class Aegis
destroyer, or $6 billion for an aircraft
carrier. According to a Congressional
Research Service analysis, the
administration plan would buy unneeded
cargo ships, “procured at a rate in excess of
the steady-state replacement for Navy
auxiliaries.” The replacement rate for
auxiliaries is approximately 1.5 per year; the
administration’s request includes one in
2001, three each in 2002 and 2003, and two
each in 2004 and 2005.
While buying too many cheap
auxiliaries, the administration is buying too
few combatants, as the state of the
submarine force indicates. In 1997, the
Navy’s fleet of 72 attack boats was too small
to meet its operational requirements, yet, at
the same time, the QDR called for a further
reduction of the attack submarine force to 50
boats. Since then, these additional
reductions in the submarine force have
exacerbated the problem. As the Navy’s
director of submarine programs, Adm.
Malcolm Fages told the Senate last year,
“We have transitioned from a requirementsdriven
force to an asset-limited force
structure. Today, although we have 58
submarines in the force, we have too few
submarines to accomplish all assigned
Nor is it likely that the Navy will be able
to stop the hemorrhaging of its attack
submarine fleet. For the period from 1990
through 2005, the Navy will have purchased
just 10 new attack submarines, according to
current plans. But the replacement rate for
even a 50-sub fleet would have required
procurement of 23 to 27 boats during that
time period. In sum, the Navy has a
submarine-building “deficit” of 13 to 17
boats, even to maintain a fleet that is too
small to meet operational and strategic
needs. According to the administration’s
budget request, the Navy plans to build no
more than one new attack submarine per
year. Assuming the 30-year service life for
nuclear attack submarines, the American
submarine fleet would slip to 24 boats by
The Navy’s fleet of surface combatants
faces much the same dilemma as does the
submarine force: it is too small to meet its
current missions and, as seaborne missile
defense systems are developed, the surface
fleet faces substantial new missions for
which it is now unprepared. For these
reasons, the Navy has prepared a new report,
entitled the Surface Combatant Force Level
Study, arguing that the true requirement for
surface combatants is 138 warships,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
compared to the 116 called for under the
Quadrennial Defense Review. By
comparison, the Navy had 203 surface
combatants in 1990 and the Bush
Administration’s “Base Force” plan called
for a surface fleet of 141 ships.
As of last year, Navy shipbuilding had a
current “deficit” of approximately 26 ships,
even before the requirements of new missions
such as ballistic missile are calculated.
To maintain a 300-ship fleet, the Navy must
maintain a ship procurement rate of about
8.6 ships per year. Yet from 1993 to 2005,
according to administration plans, the Navy
will have bought 85 ships, or about 6.5 ships
per year. Steady-state rates would have
required the purchase of 111 ships, according
to the Congressional Research Service
analysis. Once the large number of ships
bought during the 1980s begins to reach the
end of its service life, the Navy will begin to
shrink rapidly, and maintaining a fleet above
250 ships will be difficult to do.
As with ships and submarines, the
Navy’s aircraft fleet is living off the
purchases made during the buildup of the
Reagan years. The average age of naval
aircraft is 16.5 years and increasing. While
the Navy’s F-14 and F-18 fighters are being
upgraded, the aging of the fleet is most
telling on support aircraft. The Navy’s plan
to refurbish the P-3C submarine-hunting
plane will extend the Orion’s life to 50
years; the fleet average now is 21 years.
The E-2 Hawkeye, the Navy’s airborne early
warning and command and control plane,
was first produced in the 1960s. The S-3B
Viking is another aircraft essential to many
aspects of carrier operations; it is 23 years
old and no longer in production. And the
EA-6B Prowler is now the only electronic
warfare aircraft flown by any of the services,
and is now considered a national asset, not
merely a Navy platform. Operation Allied
Force employed approximately 60 of the 90
operational EA-6Bs then in the fleet; current
Navy plans are to refurbish the entire 123
Prowler airframes that still exist, inserting a
new center wing section on this 1960s-era
aircraft and improving its electronic
systems. No new electronic warfare aircraft
is in the program of any service.
As a result of a decade-long procurement
holiday, a Navy already too small to
meet many of its current missions is heading
for a modernization crisis; indeed, it already
may have built up a “modernization deficit”
– of surface ships, submarines, and aircraft,
that will soon approach $100 billion – even
as the Navy is asked to take on additional
new missions such as ballistic missile
defense. Higher operations tempos, personnel
and training problems and spare parts
shortfalls have reduced Navy readiness. By
any measure, today’s Navy is unable to meet
the increasing number of missions it faces
currently, let alone prepare itself for a transformed
paradigm of future naval warfare.
New Deployment Patterns
Revitalizing the Navy will require more
than improved readiness and recapitalization,
however. The Navy’s structure and
pattern of operations must be reconsidered
in light of new strategic realities as well. In
general terms, this should reflect an
increased emphasis on operations in the
western Pacific and a decreased emphasis on
aircraft carriers.
As discussed above, the focus of
American security strategy for the coming
century is likely to shift to East Asia. This
reflects the success of American strategy in
the 20th century, and particularly the success
of the NATO alliance through the Cold War,
which has created what appears to be a
generally stable and enduring peace in
Europe. The pressing new problem of
European security – instability in Southeastern
Europe – will be best addressed by
the continued stability operations in the
Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces
supported by land-based air forces.
Likewise, the new opportunity for greater
European stability offered by further NATO
expansion will make demands first of all on
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Tomahawk cruise
missiles have been
the Navy weapon of
choice in recent
strike operations.
ground and land-based air forces. As the
American security perimeter in Europe is
removed eastward, this pattern will endure,
although naval forces will play an important
role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean
and Black Sea, and will continue to support
U.S. and NATO operations ashore.
Also, while it is
likely that the
Middle East and
Persian Gulf will
remain an area of
turmoil and
instability, the
presence of
American ground
forces and landbased
air forces in
the region mark a
notable shift from
the 1980s, when
naval forces
carried the
burden of U.S.
military presence
in the region.
Although the
Navy will remain
an important partner in Gulf and regional
operations, the load can now be shared more
equitably with other services. And,
according to the force posture described in
the preceding chapter, future American
policy should seek to augment the forces
already in the region or nearby. However,
since current U.S. Navy force structure, and
particularly its carrier battle-group structure,
is driven by the current requirements for
Gulf operations, the reduced emphasis of
naval forces in the Gulf will have an effect
on overall Navy structure.
Thus, the emphasis of U.S. Navy
operations should shift increasingly toward
East Asia. Not only is this the theater of
rising importance in overall American
strategy and for preserving American
preeminence, it is the theater in which naval
forces will make the greatest contribution.
As stressed several times above, the United
States should seek to establish – or
reestablish – a more robust naval presence in
Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term,
semi-permanent home port in the region,
perhaps in the Philip-pines, Australia, or
both. Over the next decade, this presence
should become roughly equivalent to the
naval forces stationed in Japan (17 ships
based around the Kitty Hawk carrier battle
group and Belleau Wood Marine amphibious
ready group). Optimally, these forwarddeployed
forces, both in Japan and
ultimately in Southeast Asia, should be
increased with additional surface
combatants. In effect, one of the carrier
battle groups now based on the West Coast
of the United States should be shifted into
the East Asian theater.
Rotational naval forces form the bulk of
the U.S. Navy; as indicated above, the size
of the current fleet is dictated by the
presence requirements of the regional
commanders-in-chief as determined during
the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review.
And, the Navy and Department of Defense
have defined presence primarily in terms of
aircraft carrier battle groups. The current
need to keep approximately three carriers
deployed equates to an overall force
structure of eleven carriers (plus one reserve
carrier for training). In truth, the structureto-
deployed forces ratio is actually higher,
for the Navy always counts its Japan-based
forces as “deployed,” even when not at sea.
Further, because of transit times and other
factors, the ratio for carriers deployed to the
Persian Gulf is about five to one.
Although the combination of carriers
and Marine amphibious groups offer a
unique and highly capable set of options for
commanders, it is far from certain that the
Navy’s one-size-fits all approach is
appropriate to every contingency or to every
engagement mission now assumed by U.S.
forces. First of all, the need for carriers in
peacetime, “show-the-flag” missions should
be reevaluated and reduced. The Navy is
right to assert, as quoted above, that “being
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
While carrier aviation still has a large
role to play in naval operations, that
role is becoming relatively less
‘on-scene’ matters” to reassure America’s
allies and intimidate potential adversaries.
But where American strategic interests are
well understood and long-standing,
especially in Europe and in the Persian Gulf
– or in Korea – the ability to position forces
ashore offsets the need for naval presence.
More importantly, the role of carriers in
war is certainly changing. While carrier
aviation still has a large role to play in naval
operations, that role is becoming relatively
less important. A review of post-Cold War
operations conducted by the American
military reveals one salient factor: carriers
have almost always played a secondary role.
Operation Just Cause in Panama was almost
exclusively an Army and Air Force
operation. The Gulf War, by far the largest
operation in the last decade, involved
significant elements of all services, but the
air campaign was primarily an Air Force
show and the central role in the ground war
was played by Army units. The conduct of
post-war no-fly zones has frequently
involved Navy aircraft, but their role has
been to lighten the burden on the Air Force
units that have flown the majority of sorties
in these operations. Naval forces also have
participated in the periodic strikes against
Iraq, but even during the largest of these,
Operation Desert Fox in December 1998,
Navy aircraft did not have range to reach
certain targets or were not employed against
well-defended targets. These are now
missions handled almost exclusively by
stealthy aircraft or cruise missiles.
Likewise, during Operation Allied Force,
Navy planes played a reinforcing role. And,
of course, neither Navy nor Marine units
have played a significant role in
peacekeeping duties in Bosnia or Kosovo.
The one recent operation where naval
forces, and carrier forces in particular, did
play the leading role is also suggestive of the
Navy’s future: the dispatching of two carrier
battle groups to the waters off Taiwan
during the 1996 Chinese “missile blockade.”
Several factors are worth noting. First, the
crisis occurred in East Asia, in the western
Pacific Ocean. Thus, the Navy was
uniquely positioned and postured to respond.
Not only did the Seventh Fleet make it first
on the scene, but deploying and sustaining
ground forces or land-based aircraft to the
region would have been difficult. Second,
the potential enemy was China. Although
Pentagon thinking about major theater war
in East Asia has centered on Korea – where
again land and land-based air forces would
likely play the leading role – the Taiwan
crisis was perhaps more indicative of the
longer-range future. A third question has no
easy answer: what, indeed, would these
carrier battle groups have been able to do in
the event of escalation or the outbreak of
hostilities? Had the Chinese actually
targeted missiles at Taiwan, it is doubtful
that the Aegis air-defense systems aboard
the cruisers and destroyers in the battle
groups could have provided an effective
defense. Punitive strikes against Chinese
forces by carrier aircraft, or cruise missile
strikes, might have been a second option,
but a problematic option. And, as in recent
strike operations elsewhere, initial attacks
certainly would have employed cruise
missiles exclusively, or perhaps cruise
missiles and stealthy, land-based aircraft.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Navy’s
surface fleet is
too small to meet
war plans and
future missile
defense duties.
Thus, while naval presence, including
carrier presence, in the western Pacific
should be increased, the Navy should begin
to conduct many of its presence missions
with other kinds of battle groups based
around cruisers, destroyers and other surface
combatants as well as submarines. Indeed,
the Navy needs
to better
understand the
requirement to
have substantial
numbers of
platforms at sea
and in close
proximity to
regional hot
spots, using
carriers and
naval aviation as reinforcing elements.
Moreover, the reduced need for naval
aviation in the European theater and in the
Gulf suggests that the carrier elements in the
Atlantic fleet can be reduced. Therefore, in
addition to the two forward-based carrier
groups recommended above, the Navy
should retain a further fleet of three active
plus one reserve carriers homeported on the
west coast of the United States and a threecarrier
Atlantic fleet. Overall, this
represents a reduction of three carriers.
However, the reduction in carriers must
be offset by an increase in surface combatants,
submarines and also in support
ships to make up for the logistics functions
that the carrier performs for the entire battle
group. As indicated above, the surface fleet
is already too small to meet current
requirements and must be expanded to
accommodate the requirements for seabased
ballistic missile defenses. Further, the
Navy’s fleet of frigates is likely to be
inadequate for the long term, and the need
for smaller and simpler ships to respond to
presence and other lesser contingency
missions should be examined by the Navy.
To patrol the American security perimeter at
sea, including a significant role in theater
missile defenses, might require a surface
combatant fleet of 150 vessels.
The Navy’s force of attack submarines
also should be expanded. While many of
the true submarine requirements like
intelligence-gathering missions and as
cruise-missile platforms were not considered
fully during the QDR – and it will take some
time to understand how submarine needs
would change to make up for changes in the
carrier force – by any reckoning the 50-boat
fleet now planned is far too small.
However, as is the case with surface
combatants, the need to increase the size of
the fleet must compete with the need to
introduce new classes of vessels that have
advanced capabilities. It is unclear that the
current and planned generations of attack
submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic
missile submarines) will be flexible enough
to meet future demands. The Navy should
reassess its submarine requirements not
merely in light of current missions but with
an expansive view of possible future
missions as well.
Finally, the reduction in carriers should
not be accompanied by a commensurate
reduction in naval air wings. Already, the
Navy maintains just 10 air wings, too small
a structure for the current carrier fleet,
especially considering the rapid aging of the
Navy’s aircraft. Older fighters like the F-14
have taken on new strike missions, and the
multi-mission F/A-18 is wearing out faster
than expected due to higher-than-anticipated
rates of use and more stressful uses. Even
should the Navy simply cease to purchase
aircraft carriers today, it could maintain a
nine-carrier force until 2025, assuming the
CVN-77, already programmed under current
defense budgets, was built. A small carrier
fleet must be maintained at a higher state of
readiness for combat while in port, as should
Navy air wings.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Marine Corps:
‘Back to the Future’
For the better part of a century, the
United States has maintained the largest
complement of naval infantry of any nation.
The U.S. Marine Corps, with a threedivision
structure mandated by law and with
a strength of more than 170,000, is larger
than all but a few land armies in the world.
Its close relationship with the Navy – to say
nothing of its own highly sophisticated air
force – gives the Corps extraordinary
mobility and combat power. Even as it has
been reduced by about 15 percent since the
end of the Cold War, the Marine Corps has
added new capabilities, notably for special
operations and most recently for response to
chemical and biological strikes. This
versatility, combined with a punishing
deployment schedule, makes the Marine
Corps a valuable tool for maintaining
American global influence and military
preeminence; Marines afloat can both
respond relatively rapidly in times of crisis,
yet loiter ashore for extended periods of
Yet while this large Marine Corps is
uniquely valuable to a world power like the
United States, it must be understood that the
Corps fills but a niche in the overall
capabilities needed for American military
preeminence. The Corps lacks the
sophisticated and sustainable land-power
capabilities of the Army; the highperformance,
precision-strike capabilities of
the Air Force; and, absent its partnership
with the Navy, lacks firepower. Restoring
the health of the Marine Corps will require
not only purchases of badly needed new
equipment and restoring the strength of the
Corps to something near 200,000 Marines, it
will also depend on the Corps’ ability to
focus on its core naval infantry mission – a
mission of renewed importance to American
security strategy.
In particular, the Marine Corps, like the
Navy, must turn its focus on the
requirements for operations in East Asia,
including Southeast Asia. In many ways,
this will be a “back to the future” mission
for the Corps, recalling the innovative
thinking done during the period between the
two world wars and which established the
Marines’ expertise in amphibious landings
and operations. Yet it will also require the
Corps to shed some of its current capacity –
such as heavy tanks and artillery – acquired
during the late Cold War years. It will also
require the Marines to acquire the ability to
work better with other services, notably the
Army and Air Force, by improving its
communications, data links and other
systems needed for sophisticated joint
operations, and of course by more frequent
joint exercises. These new missions and
requirements will increase the need for
Marine modernization, especially in
acquiring the V-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor
aircraft, which will give the Corps extended
operational range. And, as will be discussed
in greater detail in the section on
transformation, the Marine Corps must
begin now to address the likely increased
vulnerability of surface ships in future
conflicts. To maintain its unique and
valuable role, the Marine Corps should:
• Be expanded to permit the forward
basing of a second Marine
Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in East
Asia. This MEU should be based in
Southeast Asia along with the
repositioned Navy carrier battle
group as described above.
• Likewise be increased in strength by
about 25,000 to improve the personnel
status of Marine units, especially
nondeployed units undergoing
• Be realigned to create lighter units
with greater infantry strength and
better abilities for joint operations,
especially including other services’
fires in support of Marine operations.
The Marine Corps should review its
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The V-22 Osprey will increase the
speed and range with which Marines
can deploy.
unit and force structure to eliminate
marginal capabilities.
• Accelerate the purchase of V-22
aircraft and the Advanced
Amphibious Assault Vehicle to
improve ship-to-shore maneuver, and
increase tactical mobility and range.
The State of the Marine Corps
Like its sister sea service, the Marine
Corps is suffering from more missions than
it can handle and a shortage of resources.
Although Corps commandants have tended
to emphasize Marine modernization
problems, the training and readiness of units
that are not actually deployed have also
plummeted. The Marines’ ability to field
the large force that contributed greatly to the
Gulf War land campaign is increasingly in
doubt. Of all the service chiefs of staff,
recently retired Marine Commandant Gen.
Charles Krulak was the first to publicly
admit that his service was not capable of
executing the missions called for in the
national military strategy.
Like the Navy, the Marine Corps has
paid the price for rotational readiness in
terms of on-shore training, modernization
and quality of life. Marine Corps leaders
stress that much of the problem stems from
the age of the Marines’ equipment: “Our
problems today are caused by the fact that
we are, and have been, plowing scarce
resources – Marines, money, material – into
our old equipment and weapon systems in
an attempt to keep them operational,”
Krulak explained to Congress shortly before
Much Marine equipment is serving far
beyond its programmed service life. And
although the Marine Corps has invested
heavily in programs to extend the life of
these systems, equipment availability rates
are falling throughout the service. Marine
equipment always wears out rapidly, due to
the corrosive effects of salt water on metal
and electronics. Even a relatively modern
piece of Marine equipment, the Light
Armored Vehicle, is feeling the effect. In
1995, the Marines began an “Inspect, Repair
Only as Necessary” program on the Light
Armored Vehicle, and have experienced a
25 percent rise in the cost per vehicle and a
46 percent rise in the number of vehicles
requiring the repairs. For some Marine
units, the biggest challenge is the
availability of parts, even in such a time of
repair and recovery. At Camp Lejuene,
North Carolina, maintenance officers and
NCOs make near-daily trips to nearby Fort
Bragg to get parts for inoperable vehicles
such as the battalion’s High Mobility
Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles
(HMMWV). In part because the Marines
have the oldest version of the HMMWV, no
longer made for the Army, bartering with
the 82nd Airborne is the most common
answer for procuring a needed part.
But although the Marine Corps’ primary
concern is again equipment, the service is
hardly immune to the personnel and training
problems plaguing the other services. Faced
not only with a demanding schedule of
traditional six-month sea deployments but
with an increasing load of unanticipated
duties, the interdeployment “bathtub of
unreadiness” has deepened and the climb out
has grown steeper. Like the Navy, the
Marine Corps has had to curtail its on-shore
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
should be
increased to
between $100
and $110
training, especially in the rudiments that are
the building blocks of unit readiness. Even
then, it may be required to deploy smaller
elements to assist other units in training or
participate in exercises. Often, Marine units
will be forced to send
under-strength units for
major live-fire and
maneuver exercises
that in times past were
the keys to deployed
readiness. Moreover,
large Marine units lack
the infantry punch they
had in the past. Marine
divisions have fewer
rifleman than in past;
as the overall strength
of the Marine Corps
has been cut from 197,000 to the 172,000 as
specified in the Quadrennial Defense
Review, the number of infantry battalions in
the division was cut from 11 to nine;
authorized personnel in the division went
from 19,161 to 15,816.
Navy and Marine Corps Budgets
President Clinton’s 2001 budget request
included $91.7 billion for the Department of
the Navy. (This figure includes funding for
the Navy and Marine Corps.) This is an
increase from the $87.2 billion approved by
Congress for 2000, a sharp reduction from
the Navy’s $107 billion budget in 1992, the
first true post-Cold-War budget.
Equally dramatic is the reduction in
Navy Department procurement budgets. For
2000, the administration requested just
under $22 billion in total Navy and Marine
Corps procurement; from 1994 through
1997, at the peak of the “procurement
holiday,” department procurement budgets
averaged just $17 billion. By contrast,
during the Bush years, Navy procurement
averaged $35 billion; during the years of the
Reagan buildup – arguably a relevant
comparison, given the need to expand the
size of the Navy again – Navy procurement
budgets averaged $43 billion.
To realign and reconfigure the Navy as
described above, Department of the Navy
spending overall should be increased to
between $100 billion and $110 billion. This
slightly exceeds the levels of spending
anticipated by the final Bush
Administration, and is necessary to
accelerate ship- and submarine-building
efforts. After several years, this will be
partially offset by the moratorium in aircraft
carrier construction and by holding the Joint
Strike Fighter program in research and
development. Yet maintaining a Navy
capable of dominating the open oceans,
providing effective striking power to joint
operations ashore and transforming itself for
future naval warfare – in short, a Navy able
to preserve U.S. maritime preeminence –
will require much more than marginal
increases in Navy budgets.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The effects of
the RMA will
have profound
implications for
how wars are
fought, what
dominate, and
which nations
enjoy military
To preserve American military
preeminence in the coming decades, the
Department of Defense must move more
aggressively to experiment with new
technologies and operational concepts, and
seek to exploit the emerging revolution in
military affairs. Information technologies,
in particular, are becoming more prevalent
and significant components of modern
military systems. These information technologies
are having the same kind of transforming
effects on military affairs as they
are having in the larger world. The effects
of this military transformation will have
profound implications for how wars are
fought, what kinds of weapons will
dominate the battlefield and, inevitably,
which nations enjoy military preeminence.
The United States enjoys every prospect
of leading this transformation. Indeed, it
was the improvements in capabilities
acquired during the American defense buildup
of the 1980s that hinted at and then
confirmed, during Operation Desert Storm,
that a revolution in military affairs was at
hand. At the same time, the process of
military transformation will present
opportunities for America’s adversaries to
develop new capabilities that in turn will
create new challenges for U.S. military
Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by
limited budgets and pressing current
missions, has seen funding for experimentation
and transformation crowded out
in recent years. Spending on military
research and development has been reduced
dramatically over the past decade. Indeed,
during the mid-1980’s, when the Defense
Department was in the midst of the Reagan
buildup which was primarily an effort to
expand existing forces and field traditional
weapons systems, research spending
represented 20 percent of total Pentagon
budgets. By contrast, today’s research and
development accounts total only 8 percent of
defense spending. And even this reduced
total is primarily for upgrades of current
weapons. Without increased spending on
basic research and development the United
States will be unable to exploit the RMA
and preserve its technological edge on future
Any serious effort at transformation
must occur within the larger framework of
U.S. national security strategy, military
missions and defense budgets. The United
States cannot
simply declare a
“strategic pause”
with new
technologies and
concepts. Nor
can it choose to
pursue a
strategy that
would decouple
American and
allied interests.
A transformation strategy that solely
pursued capabilities for projecting force
from the United States, for example, and
sacrificed forward basing and presence,
would be at odds with larger American
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
policy goals and would trouble American
Further, the process of transformation,
even if it brings revolutionary change, is
likely to be a long one, absent some
catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a
new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and
industrial policy will shape the pace and
content of transformation as much as the
requirements of current missions. A
decision to suspend or terminate aircraft
carrier production, as recommended by this
report and as justified by the clear direction
of military technology, will cause great
upheaval. Likewise, systems entering
production today – the F-22 fighter, for
example – will be in service inventories for
decades to come. Wise management of this
process will consist in large measure of
figuring out the right moments to halt
production of current-paradigm weapons
and shift to radically new designs. The
expense associated with some programs can
make them roadblocks to the larger process
of transformation – the Joint Strike Fighter
program, at a total of approximately $200
billion, seems an unwise investment. Thus,
this report advocates a two-stage process of
change – transition and transformation –
over the coming decades.
In general, to maintain American
military preeminence that is consistent with
the requirements of a strategy of American
global leadership, tomorrow’s U.S. armed
forces must meet three new missions:
• Global missile defenses. A network
against limited strikes, capable of
protecting the United States, its allies
and forward-deployed forces, must be
constructed. This must be a layered
system of land, sea, air and spacebased
• Control of space and cyberspace.
Much as control of the high seas – and
the protection of international
commerce – defined global powers in
the past, so will control of the new
“international commons” be a key to
world power in the future. An
America incapable of protecting its
interests or that of its allies in space
or the “infosphere” will find it
difficult to exert global political
• Pursuing a two-stage strategy for of
transforming conventional forces. In
exploiting the “revolution in military
affairs,” the Pentagon must be driven
by the enduring missions for U.S.
forces. This process will have two
stages: transition, featuring a mix of
current and new systems; and true
transformation, featuring new
systems, organizations and
operational concepts. This process
must take a competitive approach,
with services and joint-service
operations competing for new roles
and missions. Any successful process
of transformation must be linked to
the services, which are the institutions
within the Defense Department with
the ability and the responsibility for
linking budgets and resources to
specific missions.
Missile Defenses
Ever since the Persian Gulf War of
1991, when an Iraqi Scud missile hit a Saudi
warehouse in which American soldiers were
sleeping, causing the largest single number
of casualties in the war; when Israeli and
Saudi citizens donned gas masks in nightly
terror of Scud attacks; and when the great
“Scud Hunt” proved to be an elusive game
that absorbed a huge proportion of U.S.
aircraft, the value of the ballistic missile has
been clear to America’s adversaries. When
their missiles are tipped with warheads
carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical
weapons, even weak regional powers have a
credible deterrent, regardless of the balance
of conventional forces. That is why,
according to the CIA, a number of regimes
deeply hostile to America – North Korea,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
To increase their
interceptors like the
Army’s Theater
High-Altitude Area
Defense System
must be networked
to space-based
Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – “already have
or are developing ballistic missiles” that
could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad.
And one, North Korea, is on the verge of
deploying missiles that can hit the American
homeland. Such capabilities pose a grave
challenge to the American peace and the
military power that preserves that peace.
The ability to
control this emerging
threat through
traditional nonproliferation
is limited when
the geopolitical
and strategic
advantages of such
weapons are so
apparent and so
readily acquired.
The Clinton
diplomacy, threats
and pleadings did
nothing to prevent
first India and
shortly thereafter
Pakistan from
their nuclear
capabilities. Nor
have formal
agreements such
as the 1987
Control Regime
done much to stem
proliferation, even when backed by U.S.
sanctions; in the final analysis, the
administration has preferred to subordinate
its nonproliferation policy to larger regional
and country-specific goals. Thus, President
Clinton lamented in June 1998 that he found
sanctions legislation so inflexible that he
was forced to “fudge” the intelligence
evidence on China’s transfer of ballistic
missiles to Pakistan to avoid the legal
requirements to impose sanctions on
At the same time, the administration’s
devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile
(ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has
frustrated development of useful ballistic
missile defenses. This is reflected in deep
budget cuts – planned spending on missile
defenses for the late 1990s has been more
than halved, halting work on space-based
interceptors, cutting funds for a national
missile defense system by 80 percent and
theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the
administration has cut funding just at the
crucial moments when individual programs
begin to show promise. Only upgrades of
currently existing systems like the Patriot
missile – originally designed primarily for
air defense against jet fighters, not missile
defense – have proceeded generally on
Most damaging of all was the decision
in 1993 to terminate the “Brilliant Pebbles”
project. This legacy of the original Reaganera
“Star Wars” effort had matured to the
point where it was becoming feasible to
develop a space-based interceptor capable of
destroying ballistic missiles in the early or
middle portion of their flight – far preferable
than attempting to hit individual warheads
surrounded by clusters of decoys on their
final course toward their targets. But since a
space-based system would violate the ABM
Treaty, the administration killed the
“Brilliant Pebbles” program, choosing
instead to proceed with a ground-based
interceptor and radar system – one that will
be costly without being especially effective.
While there is an argument to be made
for “terminal” ground-based interceptors as
an element in a larger architecture of missile
defenses, it deserves the lowest rather than
the first priority. The first element in any
missile defense network should be a galaxy
of surveillance satellites with sensors
capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles
immediately upon launch. Once a missile is
tracked and targeted, this information needs
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Clinton
adherence to the
1972 ABM
Treaty has
development of
useful ballistic
missile defenses.
to be instantly disseminated through a
world-wide command-and-control system,
including direct links to interceptors. To
address the special problems of theaterrange
ballistic missiles, theater-level
defenses should be layered as well. In
addition to space-based systems, these
theater systems should include both landand
sea-based interceptors, to allow for
deployment to trouble spots to reinforce
theater systems already in place or to cover
gaps where no defenses exist. In addition,
they should be “two-tiered,” providing
close-in “point defense” of valuable targets
and forces as well as upper-level, “theaterwide”
Current programs could provide the
necessary density for a layered approach to
theater missile defense, although funding for
each component has been inadequate,
especially for
the upper-tier,
sea based
effort, known
as the Navy
Point defense
is to be
provided by
the Patriot
Level 3, or PAC-3 version of the Patriot air
defense missile and by the Navy Area
Defense system, likewise an upgrade of the
current Standard air defense missile and the
Aegis radar system. Both systems are on the
verge of being deployed.
These lower-tier defenses, though they
will be capable of providing protection
against the basic Scuds and Scud variants
that comprise the arsenals of most American
adversaries today, are less effective against
longer-range, higher-velocity missiles that
several states have under development.
Moreover, they will be less effective against
missiles with more complex warheads or
those that break apart, as many Iraqi
modified Scuds did during the Gulf War.
And finally, point defenses, even when they
successfully intercept an incoming missile,
may not offset the effects against weapons
of mass destruction.
Thus the requirement for upper-tier,
theater-wide defenses like the Army’s
Theater High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) and the Navy Theater-Wide
systems. Though housed in a Patriot-like
launcher, THAAD is an entirely new system
designed to intercept medium-range ballistic
missiles earlier in their flight, in the socalled
“mid-course.” The Navy Theater-
Wide system is based upon the Aegis
system, with an upgraded radar and highervelocity
– though intentionally slowed down
to meet administration concerns over
violating the ABM Treaty – version of the
Standard missile. The THAAD system has
enjoyed recent test success, but development
of the Navy Theater-Wide system has been
hampered by lack of funds. Similarly, a
fifth component of a theater-wide network
of ballistic missile defenses, the Air Force’s
airborne laser project, has suffered from
insufficient funding. This system, which
mounts a high energy laser in a 747 aircraft,
is designed to intercept theater ballistic
missiles in their earliest, or “boost” phase,
when they are most vulnerable.
To maximize their effectiveness, these
theater-level interceptors should receive
continuous targeting information directly
from a global constellation of satellites
carrying infrared sensors capable of
detecting ballistic missile launches as they
happen. The low-earth-orbit tier of the
Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS Low),
now under development by the Air Force,
will provide continuous observations of
ballistic missiles in the boost, midcourse and
reentry phases of attack. Current missile
tracking radars can see objects only above
the horizon and must be placed in friendly
territory; consequently, they are most
effective only in the later phases of a
ballistic missile’s flight. SBIRS Low,
however, can see a hostile missile earlier in
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
its trajectory, increasing times for interception
and multiplying the effectiveness of
theater-range interceptors by cueing their
radars with targeting data. It will also
provide precise launch-point information,
allowing theater forces a better chance to
destroy hostile launchers before more
missiles can be fired. There is also a SBIRS
High project, but both SBIRS programs
have suffered budget cuts that are to delay
their deployments by two years.
But to be most effective, this array
global reconnaissance and targeting
satellites should be linked to a global
network of space-based interceptors (or
space-based lasers). In fact, it is misleading
to think of such a system as a “national”
missile defense system, for it would be a
vital element in theater defenses, protecting
U.S. allies or expeditionary forces abroad
from longer-range theater weapons. This is
why the Bush Administration’s missile
defense architecture, which is almost
identical to the network described above,
was called Global Protection Against
Limited Strikes (GPALS). By contrast, the
Clinton Administration’s plan to develop
limited national missile defenses based upon
Minuteman III missiles fitted with a socalled
“exoatmospheric kill vehicle” is the
most technologically challenging, most
expensive, and least effective form of longrange
ballistic missile defense. Indeed, the
Clinton Administration’s differentiation
between theater and national missile defense
systems is yet another legacy of the ABM
Treaty, one that does not fit the current
strategic circumstances. Moreover, by
differentiating between national and theater
defenses, current plans drive a wedge
between the United States and its allies, and
risk “decoupling.” Conversely, American
interests will diverge from those of our allies
if theater defenses can protect our friends
and forces abroad, but the American people
at home remain threatened.
In the post-Cold War era, America and
its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have
become the primary objects of deterrence
and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North
Korea who most wish to develop deterrent
capabilities. Projecting conventional
military forces or simply asserting political
influence abroad, particularly in times of
crisis, will be far more complex and
constrained when the American homeland or
the territory of our allies is subject to attack
by otherwise weak rogue regimes capable of
cobbling together a miniscule ballistic
missile force. Building an effective, robust,
layered, global system of missile defenses is
a prerequisite for maintaining American
Space and Cyberspace
No system of missile defenses can be
fully effective without placing sensors and
weapons in space. Although this would
appear to be creating a potential new theater
of warfare, in fact space has been militarized
for the better part of four decades. Weather,
communications, navigation and
reconnaissance satellites are increasingly
essential elements in American military
power. Indeed, U.S. armed forces are
uniquely dependent upon space. As the
1996 Joint Strategy Review, a precursor to
the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review,
concluded, “Space is already inextricably
linked to military operations on land, on the
sea, and in the air.” The report of the
National Defense Panel agreed:
“Unrestricted use of space has become a
major strategic interest of the United
Given the advantages U.S. armed forces
enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of
space, it is shortsighted to expect potential
adversaries to refrain from attempting to
offset to disable or offset U.S. space
capabilities. And with the proliferation of
space know-how and related technology
around the world, our adversaries will
inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same
space advantages in the future. Moreover,
“space commerce” is a growing part of the
global economy. In 1996, commercial
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
As exemplified by the Global
Positioning Satellite above, space
has become a new ‘international
commons’ where commercial and
security interests are intertwined.
launches exceeded military launches in the
United States, and commercial revenues
exceeded government expenditures on
space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial
companies across more than 50 countries are
developing, building, and operating space
Many of these commercial space
systems have direct military applications,
including information from global
positioning system constellations and betterthan-
one-meter resolution imaging satellites.
Indeed, 95 percent of current U.S. military
communications are carried over
commercial circuits, including commercial
communications satellites. The U.S. Space
Command foresees that in the coming
an adversary will have sophisticated
regional situational awareness.
Enemies may very well know, in nearreal
time, the disposition of all
forces….In fact, national military
forces, paramilitary units, terrorists,
and any other potential adversaries will
share the high ground of space with the
United States and its allies.
Adversaries may also share the same
commercial satellite services for
communications, imagery, and
navigation….The space “playing field”
is leveling rapidly, so U.S. forces will
be increasingly vulnerable. Though
adversaries will benefit greatly from
space, losing the use of space may be
more devastating to the United States.
It would be intolerable for U.S. be deprived of capabilities in
In short, the unequivocal supremacy in
space enjoyed by the United States today
will be increasingly at risk. As Colin Gray
and John Sheldon have written, “Space
control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an
optional extra.” For U.S. armed forces to
continue to assert military preeminence,
control of space – defined by Space
Command as “the ability to assure access to
space, freedom of operations within the
space medium, and an ability to deny others
the use of space” – must be an essential
element of our military strategy. If America
cannot maintain that control, its ability to
conduct global military operations will be
severely complicated, far more costly, and
potentially fatally compromised.
The complexity of space control will
only grow as commercial activity increases.
American and other allied investments in
space systems will create a requirement to
secure and protect these space assets; they
are already an important measure of
American power. Yet it will not merely be
enough to protect friendly commercial uses
of space. As Space Command also
recognizes, the United States must also have
the capability to deny America's adversaries
the use of commercial space platforms for
military purposes in times of crises and
conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become
the new “international commons,” where
commercial and security interests are
intertwined and related. Just as Alfred
Thayer Mahan wrote about “sea-power” at
the beginning of the 20th century in this
sense, American strategists will be forced to
regard “space-power” in the 21st.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
In the future, it
will be necessary
to unite the
vision for control
of space to the
and interests of a
separate military
To ensure America's control of space in
the near term, the minimum requirements
are to develop a robust capability to
transport systems to space, carry on
operations once there, and service and
recover space systems as needed. As
outlined by Space Command, carrying out
this program would include a mix of reuseable
and expendable launch vehicles and
vehicles that can operate within space,
including “space tugs to deploy,
reconstitute, replenish, refurbish, augment,
and sustain" space systems. But, over the
longer term,
control of
space will
require the
of force both
in space and
from space,
including but
not limited
to antimissile
defenses and
capable of protecting U.S. and allied
satellites; space control cannot be sustained
in any other fashion, with conventional land,
sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare.
This eventuality is already recognized by
official U.S. national space policy, which
states that the “Department of Defense shall
maintain a capability to execute the mission
areas of space support, force enhancement,
space control and force application.”
(Emphasis added.)
In sum, the ability to preserve American
military preeminence in the future will rest
in increasing measure on the ability to
operate in space militarily; both the
requirements for effective global missile
defenses and projecting global conventional
military power demand it. Unfortunately,
neither the Clinton Administration nor past
U.S. defense reviews have established a
coherent policy and program for achieving
this goal.
Ends and Means of Space Control
As with defense spending more broadly,
the state of U.S. “space forces” – the
systems required to ensure continued access
and eventual control of space – has
deteriorated over the past decade, and few
new initiatives or programs are on the
immediate horizon. The U.S. approach to
space has been one of dilatory drift. As
Gen. Richard Myers, commander-in-chief of
SPACECOM, put it, “Our Cold War-era
capabilities have atrophied,” even though
those capabilities are still important today.
And while Space Command has a clear
vision of what must be done in space, it
speaks equally clearly about “the question of
resources.” As the command succinctly
notes its long-range plan: “When we match
the reality of space dependence against
resource trends, we find a problem.”
But in addition to the problem of lack of
resources, there is an institutional problem.
Indeed, some of the difficulties in
maintaining U.S. military space supremacy
result from the bureaucratic “black hole”
that prevents the SPACECOM vision from
gaining the support required to carry it out.
For one, U.S. military space planning
remains linked to the ups and downs of the
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration. America’s difficulties in
reducing the cost of space launches –
perhaps the single biggest hurdle to
improving U.S. space capabilities overall –
result in part from the requirements and
dominance of NASA programs over the past
several decades, most notably the space
shuttle program. Secondly, within the
national security bureaucracy, the majority
of space investment decisions are made by
the National Reconnaissance Office and the
Air Force, neither of which considers
military operations outside the earth's
atmosphere as a primary mission. And there
is no question that in an era of tightened
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
budgets, investments in space-control
capabilities have suffered for lack of
institutional support and have been squeezed
out by these organization’s other priorities.
Although, under the Goldwater-Nichols
reforms of the mid-1980s, the unified
commanders – of which SPACECOM is one
– have a greater say in Pentagon
programming and budgeting, these powers
remain secondary to the traditional “raiseand-
train” powers of the separate services.
Therefore, over the long haul, it will be
necessary to unite the essential elements of
the current SPACECOM vision to the
resource-allocation and institution-building
responsibilities of a military service. In
addition, it is almost certain that the conduct
of warfare in outer space will differ as much
from traditional air warfare as air warfare
has from warfare at sea or on land; space
warfare will demand new organizations,
operational strategies, doctrines and training
schemes. Thus, the argument to replace
U.S. Space Command with U.S. Space
Forces – a separate service under the
Defense Department – is compelling. While
it is conceivable that, as military space
capabilities develop, a transitory “Space
Corps” under the Department of the Air
Force might make sense, it ought to be
regarded as an intermediary step, analogous
to the World War II-era Army Air Corps,
not to the Marine Corps, which remains a
part of the Navy Department. If space
control is an essential element for
maintaining American military preeminence
in the decades to come, then it will be
imperative to reorganize the Department of
Defense to ensure that its institutional
structure reflects new military realities.
Cyberpace, or ‘Net-War’
If outer space represents an emerging
medium of warfare, then “cyberspace,” and
in particular the Internet hold similar
promise and threat. And as with space,
access to and use of cyberspace and the
Internet are emerging elements in global
commerce, politics and power. Any nation
wishing to assert itself globally must take
account of this other new “global
The Internet is also playing an
increasingly important role in warfare and
human political conflict. From the early use
of the Internet by Zapatista insurgents in
Mexico to the war in Kosovo, communication
by computer has added a new
dimension to warfare. Moreover, the use of
the Internet to spread computer viruses
reveals how easy it can be to disrupt the
normal functioning of commercial and even
military computer networks. Any nation
which cannot assure the free and secure
access of its citizens to these systems will
sacrifice an element of its sovereignty and
its power.
Although many concepts of “cyber-war”
have elements of science fiction about them,
and the role of the Defense Department in
establishing “control,” or even what
“security” on the Internet means, requires a
consideration of a host of legal, moral and
political issues, there nonetheless will
remain an imperative to be able to deny
America and its allies' enemies the ability to
disrupt or paralyze either the military's or
the commercial sector's computer networks.
Conversely, an offensive capability could
offer America's military and political leaders
an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary
in a decisive manner.
Taken together, the prospects for space
war or “cyberspace war” represent the truly
revolutionary potential inherent in the notion
of military transformation. These future
forms of warfare are technologically
immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear
that for the U.S. armed forces to remain
preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in
the exercise of its power they must be sure
that these potential future forms of warfare
favor America just as today’s air, land and
sea warfare reflect United States military
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
N o R &D , N o R M A ?
Declining R&D Funding Stymies Transformation
Budget Authority
($ Billions, constant 2001)
Transforming U.S.
Conventional Forces
Much has been written in recent years
about the need to transform the conventional
armed forces of the United States to take
advantage of the “revolution in military
affairs,” the process of transformation within
the Defense Department has yet to bear
serious fruit. The two visions of
transformation promulgated by the Joint
Chiefs of Staff – Joint Vision 2010 and the
just-released Joint Vision 2020 – have been
broad statements of principles and of
commitment to transformation, but very
little change can be seen in the acquisition of
new weapons systems. Indeed, new ideas
like the so-called “arsenal ship” which might
actually have accelerated the process of
transformation have been opposed and seen
their programs terminated by the services.
Neither does the current process of “joint
experimentation” seem likely to speed the
process of change. In sum, the transformation
of the bulk of U.S. armed forces has
been stalled. Until the process of transformation
is treated as an enduring mission –
worthy of a constant allocation of dollars
and forces – it will remain stillborn.
There are some very good reasons why
this is so. In an era of insufficient defense
resources, it has been necessary to fund or
staff any efforts at transformation by shortchanging
other, more immediate, requirements.
Consequently, the attempt to deal
with the longer-term risks that a failure to
transform U.S. armed forces will create has
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
threatened to raise the risks those forces face
today; this is an unpleasant dilemma for a
force straining to meet the burdens of its
current missions. Activity today tends to
drive out innovation for tomorrow. Second,
the lack of an immediate military competitor
contributes to a sense of complacency about
the extent and duration of American military
dominance. Third, and perhaps most telling,
the process of transformation has yet to be
linked to the strategic tasks necessary to
maintain American military dominance.
This is in part a problem for transformation
enthusiasts, who are better at forecasting
technological developments than aligning
those technological developments with the
requirements for American preeminence.
Thus consideration of the so-called “antiaccess
problem” – the observation that the
proliferation of long-range, precision-strike
capabilities will complicate the projection of
U.S. military power and forces – has
proceeded without much discussion of the
strategic effects on U.S. allies and American
credibility of increased reliance on weapons
and forces based in the United States rather
than operating from forward locations.
There may be many solutions to the antiaccess
problem, but only a few that will tend
to maintain rather than dilute American
geopolitical leadership.
Further, transformation advocates tend
to focus on the nature of revolutionary new
capabilities rather than how to achieve the
necessary transformation: thus the National
Defense Panel called for a strategy of
transformation without formulating a
strategy for transformation. There has been
little discussion of exactly how to change
today’s force into tomorrow’s force, while
maintaining U.S. military preeminence
along the way. Therefore, it will be
necessary to undertake a two-stage process
of transition – whereby today’s “legacy”
forces are modified and selectively
modernized with new systems readily
available – and true transformation – when
the results of vigorous experimentation
introduce radically new weapons, concepts
of operation, and organization to the armed
This two-stage process is likely to take
several decades. Yet, although the precise
shape and direction of the transformation of
U.S. armed forces remains a matter for
rigorous experimentation and analysis (and
will be discussed in more detail below in the
section on the armed services), it is possible
to foresee the general characteristics of the
current revolution in military affairs.
Broadly speaking, these cover several
principal areas of capabilities:
• Improved situational awareness and
sharing of information,
• Range and endurance of platforms
and weapons,
• Precision and miniaturization,
• Speed and stealth,
• Automation and simulation.
These characteristics will be combined
in various ways to produce new military
capabilities. New classes of sensors –
commercial and military; on land, on and
under sea, in the air and in space – will be
linked together in dense networks that can
be rapidly configured and reconfigured to
provide future commanders with an
unprecedented understanding of the
battlefield. Communications networks will
be equally if not more ubiquitous and dense,
capable of carrying vast amounts of
information securely to provide widely
dispersed and diverse units with a common
picture of the battlefield. Conversely,
stealth techniques will be applied more
broadly, creating “hider-finder” games of
cat-and-mouse between sophisticated
military forces. The proliferation of ballistic
and cruise missiles and long-range
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make
it much easier to project military power
around the globe. Munitions themselves
will become increasingly accurate, while
new methods of attack – electronic, “nonlethal,”
biological – will be more widely
available. Low-cost, long-endurance UAVs,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Until the process
of transformation
is treated as an
enduring military
mission – worthy
of a constant
allocation of
dollars and forces
– it will remain
and even unattended “missiles in a box” will
allow not only for long-range power projection
but for sustained power projection.
Simulation technologies will vastly improve
military training and mission planning.
Although it may take several decades
for the process of transformation to unfold,
in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and
sea will be vastly different than it is today,
and “combat” likely will take place in new
dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and
perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare
may no longer be fought by pilots manning
tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of
opposing fighters, but a regime dominated
by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On
land, the clash of massive, combined-arms
armored forces may be replaced by the
dashes of much lighter, stealthier and
information-intensive forces, augmented by
fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in
soldiers’ pockets. Control of the sea could
be largely determined not by fleets of
surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but
from land- and space-based systems, forcing
navies to maneuver and fight underwater.
Space itself will become a theater of war, as
nations gain access to space capabilities and
come to rely on them; further, the distinction
between military and commercial space
systems – combatants and noncombatants –
will become blurred. Information systems
will become an important focus of attack,
particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to
short-circuit sophisticated American forces.
And advanced forms of biological warfare
that can “target” specific genotypes may
transform biological warfare from the realm
of terror to a politically useful tool.
This is merely a glimpse of the possibilities
inherent in the process of transformation,
not a precise prediction. Whatever
the shape and direction of this revolution in
military affairs, the implications for continued
American military preeminence will
be profound. As argued above, there are
many reasons to believe that U.S. forces
already possess nascent revolutionary capabilities,
particularly in the realms of intelligence,
command and control, and longrange
precision strikes. Indeed, these capabilities
are sufficient to allow the armed
services to begin an “interim,” short- to
medium-term process of transformation
right away, creating new force designs and
operational concepts – designs and concepts
different than those contemplated by the
current defense program – to maximize the
capabilities that already exist. But these
must be viewed as merely a way-station
toward a more thoroughgoing transformation.
The individual services also need to be
given greater bureaucratic and legal standing
if they are to achieve these goals. Though a
full discussion of this issue is outside the
purview of this study, the reduced importance
of the civilian secretaries of the military
departments and the service chiefs of
staff is increasingly inappropriate to the
demands of a
changing technological,
strategic and
The centralization
power under
the Office of
the Secretary
of Defense and
chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Joint Staff, and
the increased role of the theater commanders-
in-chief, products of Cold-War-era
defense reforms and especially the Goldwater-
Nichols Act of 1986, have created a
process of defense decision-making that
often elevates immediate concerns above
long-term needs. In an era of uncertainty
and transformation, it is more important to
foster competing points of view about the
how to apply new technologies to enduring
This is especially debilitating to the
process of transformation, which has
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
become infected with a “lowest common
denominator” approach. “Jointness”
remains an important dimension of U.S.
military power and it will be necessary to
consider the joint role of the weapons,
concepts of operations and organizations
created through the process of transformation.
The capability for seamless and
decisive joint operations is an important
aspect of warfare. Yet, the process of
transformation will be better served by
fostering a spirit of service competition and
experimentation. At this early stage of
transformation, it is unclear which
technologies will prove most effective;
better to undertake a variety of competing
experiments, even though some may prove
to be dead-ends. To achieve this goal,
service institutions and prerogatives must be
strengthened to restore a better balance
within the Department of Defense. The
essential first step is to rebuild service
secretariats to attract highly talented people
who enjoy the political trust of the
administration they serve. A parallel second
step is to reinvigorate the service staffs and
to select energetic service chiefs of staff. At
a time of rapid change, American military
preeminence is more likely to be sustained
through a vigorous competition for missions
and resources than through a bureaucracy –
and a conception of “jointness” – defined at
the very height of the Cold War.
Toward a 21st Century Army
There is very little question that the
development of new technologies increasingly
will make massed, mechanized armies
vulnerable in high-intensity wars against
sophisticated forces. The difficulty of
moving large formations in open terrain,
even at night – suggested during the battle of
Khafji during the Gulf War – has diminished
the role of tank armies in the face of the kind
of firepower and precision that American air
power can bring to bear. This is an undeniable
change in the nature of advanced land
warfare, a change that will alter the size,
structure and nature of the U.S. Army.
Yet the United States would be unwise
to accept the larger proposition that the
strategic value of land power has been
eroded to the point where the nation no
longer needs to maintain large ground
forces. As long as wars and other military
operations derive their logic from political
purposes, land power will remain the truly
decisive form of military power. Indeed, it
is ironic that, as post-Cold-War military
operations have become more sophisticated
and more reliant on air power and longrange
strikes, they have become less
politically decisive. American military
preeminence will continue to rest in
significant part on the ability to maintain
sufficient land forces to achieve political
goals such as removing a dangerous and
hostile regime when necessary. Thus,
future Army forces – and land forces more
broadly – must devise ways to survive and
maneuver in a radically changed
technological environment. The Army must
become more tactically agile, more
operationally mobile, and more strategically
deployable. It must increasingly rely on
other services to concentrate firepower when
required, while concentrating on its “core
competencies” of maneuver, situational
awareness, and political decisiveness. In
particular the process of Army transformation
• Move ahead with experiments to
create new kinds of independent units
using systems now entering final
development and early procurement –
such as the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft
and the HIMARS light-weight rocket
artillery system – capable of longerrange
operations and selfdeployments.
Once mature, such
units would replace forward-based
heavy forces.
• Experiment vigorously to understand
the long-term implications of the
revolution in military affairs for land
forces. In particular, the Army
should develop ways to deploy and
maneuver against adversaries with
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
improved long-range strike
As argued above, the two-stage process
of transforming the U.S. armed forces is
sufficiently important to consider it a separate
mission for the military services and
for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The need for
both the near-term and long-term transformation
requires that a separate organization
within these institutions act as the advocate
and agent of revolutionary change. For the
U.S. Army, the appropriate home for the
transformation process is the Training and
Doctrine Command. The service needs to
establish a permanent unit under its Combined
Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas to oversee the process of research,
development and experi-mentation required
to transform today’s Army into the Army of
the future.
With the need to field the independent,
combined-arms units described above, this
“transformation laboratory” must be established
as rapidly as possible. Although
many of the weapons systems already exist
or are readily available, the introduction of
new systems such as an armored gun system,
wheeled personnel carrier such as the
Light Armored Vehicle or the HIMARS
rocket artillery system in sufficient numbers
will take several years. Further, the process
of “digitization” – the proliferation of information
and communications in tactical units
– must be accelerated. Finally, the Army
needs to increase its investment in selected
new systems such as UAVs and the Comanche
scout helicopter to field them more
rapidly. These will need to be integrated
into a coherent organization and doctrinal
concept. The process of near-term experimentation
needs to be sharply focused on
meeting the Army’s near- and mid-term
needs, and to produce the new kinds of units
Yet this initial process of transformation
must be just the first step toward a more
radical reconfiguring of the Army. Even
while the Army is fielding new units that
maximize current capabilities and introduce
selected new systems, and understanding the
challenges and opportunities of informationintensive
operations, it must begin to seek
answers to fundamental questions about future
land forces. These questions include issues
of strategic deployability, how to maneuver
on increasingly transparent battlefields
and how to operate in urban environments,
to name but a few. If the first phase
of transformation requires the better part of
the next decade to complete, the Army must
then be ready to begin to implement more
far-reaching changes. Moreover, the
technologies, operational concepts and
organizations must be relatively mature –
they can not merely exist as briefing charts
or laboratory concepts. As the first phase of
transformation winds down, initial field
experiments for this second and more
profound phase of change must begin.
While the exact scope and nature of
such change is a matter for experimentation,
Army studies already suggest that it will be
dramatic. Consider just the potential
changes that might effect the infantryman.
Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated,
climate-controlled, powered fighting suits,
laced with sensors, and boasting chameleonlike
“active” camouflage. “Skin-patch”
pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus
concentration and enhance endurance and
strength. A display mounted on a soldier’s
helmet permits a comprehensive view of the
battlefield – in effect to look around corners
and over hills – and allows the soldier to
access the entire combat information and
intelligence system while filtering incoming
data to prevent overload. Individual
weapons are more lethal, and a soldier’s
ability to call for highly precise and reliable
indirect fires – not only from Army systems
but those of other services – allows each
individual to have great influence over huge
spaces. Under the “Land Warrior” program,
some Army experts envision a “squad” of
seven soldiers able to dominate an area the
size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in
1863, some 165,000 men fought.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Army’s
will greatly
increase the
value of
Even radical
concepts such as those
con-sidered under the
“Land Warrior” project
do not involve outlandish
technologies or
flights of science
fiction. Many already
exist today, and many
follow developments in
civilian medical, communications, information
science and other fields of research.
While initiating the process of transformation
in the near term, and while fielding
new kinds of units to meet current missions,
the Army must simultaneously invest and
experiment vigorously to create the systems,
soldiers, units and concepts to maintain
American preeminence in land combat for
the longer-term future.
Global Strikes from Air and Space
The rapidly growing ability of the U.S.
Air Force to conduct precision strikes, over
increasingly greater range, marks a
significant change in the nature of hightechnology
warfare. From the Gulf War
through the air war for Kosovo, the
sophistication of Air Force precision
bombing has continued to grow. Yet,
ironically, as the Air Force seems to achieve
the capabilities first dreamt of by the great
pioneers and theorists of air power, the
“technological moment” of manned aircraft
may be entering a sunset phase. In
retrospect, it is the sophistication of highly
accurate munitions in the Kosovo campaign
that stands out – even as the stealthy B-2
bomber was delivering satellite-guided
bombs on 30-hour round-trip missions from
Missouri to the Balkans and back, so was
the Navy’s ancient, slow, propeller-driven
P-3 Orion aircraft, originally designed for
submarine hunting, delivering precisionguided
standoff weapons with much the
same effectiveness. As the relative value of
electronic systems and precision munitions
increases, the need for advanced manned
aircraft appears to be lessening. Moreover,
as the importance of East Asia grows in U.S.
military strategy, the requirements for range
and endurance may outweigh traditional
measures of aircraft performance. In sum,
although the U.S. Air Force is enjoying a
moment of technological and tactical
supremacy, it is uncertain that the service is
positioning itself well for a transformed
In particular, the Air Force’s emphasis
on traditional, tactical air operations is
handicapping the nation’s ability to maintain
and extend its dominance in space. Over the
past decade, the Air Force has intermittently
styled itself as a “space and air force,” and
has prepared a number of useful long-range
studies that underscore the centrality of
space control in future military operations.
Yet the service’s pattern of investments has
belied such an understanding of the future;
as described above, the Air Force has
ploughed every available dollar into the F-
22 program. While the F-22 is a superb
fighter and perhaps a workable strike
aircraft, its value under a transformed
paradigm of high-technology warfare may
exceed its cost – had not the majority of the
F-22 program already been paid for, the
decision to proceed with the project today
would have been dubious. As also argued
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
above, further investments in the Joint Strike
Fighter program would be more expensive
still and would forestall any major
transformation efforts. Therefore, the Air
Force should:
• Complete its planned F-22
procurement while terminating its
participation in the JSF program and
upgrading the capabilities of existing
tactical aircraft, especially by
purchasing additional precision
munitions and developing new ones
and increasing numbers of support
aircraft to allow for longer-range
operations and greater survivability;
• Increase efforts to develop long-range
and high-endurance unmanned aerial
vehicles, not merely for
reconnaissance but for strike and
even air-combat missions;
• Pursue the development of largebodied
stealthy aircraft for a variety
of roles, including lift, refueling, and
other support missions as well as
strike missions.
• Target significant new investments
toward creating capabilities for
operating in space, including
inexpensive launch vehicles, new
satellites and transatmospheric
vehicles, in preparation for a decision
as to whether space warfare is
sufficiently different from combat
within earth’s atmosphere so as to
require a separate “space service.”
Such a transformation would in fact
better realize the Air Force’s stated goal of
becoming a service with true global reach
and global strike capabilities. At the
moment, today’s Air Force gives a glimpse
of such capabilities, and does a remarkable
job of employing essentially tactical systems
in a world-wide fashion. And, for the period
of transition mandated by these legacy
systems and by the limitations inherent in
the F-22, the Air Force will remain primarily
capable of sophisticated theater-strike
warfare. Yet to truly transform itself for the
coming century, the Air Force must
accelerate its efforts to create the new
systems – and, to repeat, the space-based
systems – that are necessary to shift the
scope of air operations from the theater level
to the global level. While mounting largescale
and sustained air campaigns will
continue to rely heavily upon in-theater
assets, a greater balance must be placed on
long-range systems.
The Navy Returns ‘To the Sea’
Since the end of the Cold War, the Navy
has made a dramatic break with past
doctrine, which emphasized the need to
establish control of the sea. But with
American control of the “international
commons” without serious challenge – for
the moment – the Navy now preaches the
gospel of power projection ashore and
operations in littoral waters. In a series of
posture statements and white papers
beginning with “…From the Sea” in 1992
and leading to 1998’s “Forward…from the
Sea: Anytime, Anywhere,” the Navy, in
cooperation with the Marine Corps,
embraced this view of close-in operations; to
quote the original “From the Sea:”
Our ability to command the seas in
areas where we anticipate future
operations allows us to resize our Naval
Forces and to concentrate more on
capabilities required in the complex
operating environment of the “littoral”
or coastlines of the earth….This
strategic direction, derived from the
National Security Strategy, represents a
fundamental shift away from openocean
warfighting on the sea—toward
joint operations conducted from the sea.
The “From the Sea” series also has
made the case for American military
presence around the world and equated this
forward presence specifically with naval
presence. Following the lead of the
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
China’s acquisition of modern Russian
destroyers and supersonic anti-ship
cruise missiles will complicate U.S.
surface fleet operations.
Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy and
Marine Corps argue that “shaping and
responding require presence – maintaining
forward-deployed, combat-ready naval
forces. Being ‘on-scene’ matters! It is and
will remain a distinctly naval contribution to
peacetime engagement….The inherent
flexibility of naval forces allows a minor
crisis or conflict to be resolved quickly be
on-scene forces.” The sea services further
have argued that the conduct of these
presence missions requires the same kinds of
carrier battle groups and amphibious ready
groups that were needed to fight the Soviet
The balanced, concentrated striking
power of aircraft carrier battle groups
and amphibious ready groups lies at the
heart of our nation’s ability to execute
its strategy of peacetime engagement.
Their power reassures allies and deters
would-be aggressors….The combined
capabilities of a carrier battle group
and an amphibious ready group offer
air, sea, and land power that can be
applied across the full spectrum of
Thus, while the Navy admitted that the
strategic realities of the post-Soviet era
called for a reordering of sea service mission
priorities and a resizing of the fleet, it has
yet to consider that the new era also requires
a reorientation of its pattern of operations
and a reshaping of the fleet. Moreover, over
the longer term, the Navy’s ability to operate
in littoral waters is going to be increasingly
difficult, as the Navy itself realizes. As Rear
Adm. Malcolm Fages, director of the Navy’s
submarine warfare division, told the Senate
Armed Services Committee, “A variety of
independent studies reviewing key trends in
future naval warfare have concluded that
21st century littoral warfare could be marked
by the use of asymmetrical means to counter
a U.S. Navy whose doctrine and force
structure projects…power ashore from the
littorals.” Already potential adversaries
from China to Iran are investing in quiet
diesel submarines, tactical ballistic missiles,
cruise and other shore- and sea-launched
anti-ship missiles, and other weapons that
will complicate the operations of U.S. fleets
in restricted, littoral waters. The Chinese
navy has just recently taken delivery of the
first of several planned Sovremenny class
destroyers, purchased along with supersonic,
anti-ship cruise missiles from Russia, greatly
improving China’s ability to attack U.S.
Navy ships.
In addition, America’s adversaries will
gradually acquire the ability to target surface
fleets, not only in littoral waters but perhaps
on the open oceans. Regional powers have
increasing access to commercial satellites
that not only can provide them with
detection and militarily useful targeting
information, but provide also important
elements of the command, control and
communication capabilities that would be
needed. As Fages put it, “Of concern in the
21st century is the potential that the
combination of space-based reconnaissance,
long-range precision strike weapons and
robust command and control networks could
make non-stealthy platforms increasingly
vulnerable to attack near the world’s
To preserve and enhance the ability to
project naval power ashore and to conduct
strike operations – as well as assume a large
role in the network of ballistic missile
defense systems – the Navy must accelerate
the process of near-term transformation. It
must also addressing the longer-term
challenge of the revolution in military
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
affairs, to ensure that the America rules the
waves in the future as it does today. Navy
transformation should be a two-phase
• Near-term Navy transformation
should accelerate the construction of
planned generations of 21st century
surface combatants with increased
stealth characteristics, improved and
varied missiles and long-range guns
for strikes ashore. Efforts to
implement “network-centric” warfare
under the cooperative engagement
concept should be accelerated. The
Navy should begin to structure itself
for its emerging role in missile
defenses, determining, for example,
whether current surface combatant
vessels and a traditional rotational
deployment scheme are apropos for
this mission.
• In the longer term, the Navy must
determine whether its current focus
on littoral operations can be sustained
under a transformed paradigm of
naval warfare and how to retain
control of open-ocean areas in the
future. Experiments in operating
varied fleets of UAVs should begin
now, perhaps employing a retired
current carrier. Consideration should
be directed toward other forms of
unmanned sea and air vehicles and
toward an expanded role for
The shifting pattern of naval operations
and the changes in force structure outlined
above also should show the way for a
transformation of the Navy for the emerging
environment for war at sea. In the immediate
future, this means an improvement in
naval strike capabilities for joint operations
in littoral waters and improved command
and control capabilities. Yet the Navy must
soon prepare for a renewed challenge on the
open oceans, beginning now to develop
ways to project power as the risk to surface
ships rises substantially. In both cases, the
Navy should continue to shift away from
carrier-centered operations to “networks” of
varied kinds of surface ships, perhaps
leading to fleets composed of stealthy
surface ships and submerged vessels.
The focus of the Navy’s near-term
transformation efforts should be on
enhancing its ability to conduct strike
operations and improving its contributions
to joint operations on land by patrolling
littoral waters. The Navy’s initiatives to
wring the most out of its current vessels
through the better gathering and distribution
of information – what the Navy calls
“network-centric” warfare as opposed to
“platform-centric” warfare – should be
accelerated. In addition to improving
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
capabilities and command and control
networks, the Navy should, as described
above, acquire larger fleets of surface
combatants and submarines capable of
launching cruise missiles. Expanding the
Navy’s fleet of surface combatants primarily
should provide an opportunity to speed up
research and development of the new classes
of destroyers and cruisers – and perhaps new
frigates – while perhaps extending only
modestly current destroyer programs.
Moreover, the Navy should accelerate
efforts to develop other strike warfare
munitions and weapons. In addition to
procuring greater numbers of attack
submarines, the Navy should convert four of
its Trident ballistic missile submarines to
conventional strike platforms, much as the
Air Force has done with manned bombers.
Further, the Navy should develop other
strike weaponry beyond current-generation
Tomahawk cruise missiles. Adding the
Joint Direct Attack Munition – applying
Global-Positioning-System guidance to
current “dumb” bombs – will improve the
precision-strike capabilities of current naval
aircraft, but improving the range and
accuracy of naval gunfire, or deploying a
version of the Army Tactical Missile System
at sea would also increase the Navy’s
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Navy
should consider
using a deactivated
carrier to better
understand the
possibilities and
problems of
operating large
fleets of UAVs
at sea.
contribution to joint warfare in littoral
However, improving the ability of
current-generation ships and weapons to
work together is important, but may not
address the most fundamental nature of this
transformation. The Navy has already
demonstrated the ability to operate
unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles
from submarines and is improving its
abilities to communicate to submarines; as
long as submerged vessels remain relatively
stealthy, they may be able to operate where
surface vessels face high risks.
Thus, the Navy should devote an
element of its force structure to a deeper
investigation of the revolution in military
affairs. Beyond immediate opportunities
such as conversion of Trident submarines,
consideration should be given to employing
a deactivated
carrier to better
understand the
possibilities of
operating large
fleets of UAVs at
sea. Likewise,
“missile pods,”
either permanently
or laid covertly
by submarines in
times of crisis,
could increase
strike capabilities without risking surface
vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the
Navy is moving toward “network-centric”
warfare, it should explore ways of
increasing the number of “nodes on the net.”
For the moment, the U.S. Navy enjoys a
level of global hegemony that surpasses that
of the Royal Navy during its heyday. While
the ability to project naval power ashore is,
as it has always been, an important
subsidiary mission for the Navy, it may not
remain the service’s primary focus through
the coming decades. Over the longer term –
but, given the service life of ships, well
within the approaching planning horizons of
the U.S. Navy – the Navy’s focus may
return again to keeping command of the
open oceans and sea lines of communication.
Absent a rigorous program of
experimentation to investigate the nature of
the revolution in military affairs as it applies
to war at sea, the Navy might face a future
Pearl Harbor – as unprepared for war in the
post-carrier era as it was unprepared for war
at the dawn of the carrier age.
As Goes the Navy, So Goes the
Marine Corps
Ironically for a service that is embracing
certain aspects of the revolution in military
affairs, the long-term pattern of
transformation poses the deepest questions
for the Marine Corps. For if the
survivability of surface vessels increasingly
will be in doubt, the Marines’ means of
delivery must likewise come into question.
Although the Corps is quite right to develop
faster, longer-range means of ship-to-shore
operations in the V-22 and Advanced
Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the potential
vulnerability of Marine amphibious ships is
almost certain to become the limiting factor
in future operations. While the utility of
Marine infantry in lower-intensity
operations will remain high, the Marines’
ability to con-tribute to high-technology
wars – at least when operating from the
ships that they rely on for everything from
command and communications to logistics –
may become marginalized. Also, the
relatively slow speeds of Marine ships limit
their flexibility in times of crisis.
Over the next decade, the Marines’
efforts toward transformation ought to allow
the Corps to lighten its structures and rely on
other services, and especially the Navy, to
provide much of its firepower. This will
permit the Marines to shed many of the
heavy systems acquired during the Cold
War, to reduce its artillery (the Marines,
typically, operate the oldest artillery systems
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
that are less effective and efficient in combat
and more of a logistical burden) and
eventually its fixed-wing aviation. Indeed,
many Marine F-18s and EA-6Bs spend the
bulk of their time on regular aircraft carrier
rotations and in support of Air Force
operations. Likewise, the long-term future
of the AV-8B Harrier is in doubt. The
Marines operate a relatively small and
increasingly obsolescent fleet of Harriers;
while service-life extension programs may
be possible, the Corps will soon approach
the day where it must contemplate life
without fixed-wing air support of its own,
especially if the Joint Strike Fighter program
is terminated. Consequently, the Marine
Corps should consider development of a
“gunship” version of the V-22 and pursue
unmanned combat aerial vehicles, as well as
accelerating its efforts to develop methods
of joint-service fire support.
Thus, the long-term utility of the Marine
Corps rests heavily on the prospects for true
transformation. As with the Army, if the
relationship between firepower and
maneuver and situational awareness cannot
be redefined, then the relevance of land
forces and naval infantry in future wars will
be sharply curtailed – and the ability of the
United States to undertake politically
decisive operations will likewise be limited.
The proliferation of technologies for
delivering highly accurate fires over
increasingly great distances poses a great
challenge for both the Army and the Marine
Corps, but rather than attempting to compete
in the game of applying long-range fires,
both services would be better off attempting
to complement the vastly improved strike
capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and
indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to
future space capabilities as well.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
Use of the post-
Cold War
dividend” to
balance the
federal budget
has created a
deficit” totaling
tens of billions
of dollars
What, then, is the price of continued
American geopolitical leadership and
military preeminence?
A finely detailed answer is beyond the
scope of this study. Too many of the force
posture and service structure recommendations
above involve factors that current
defense planning has not accounted for.
Suffice it to say that an expanded American
security perimeter, new technologies and
weapons systems including robust missile
defenses, new kinds of organizations and
operating concepts, new bases and the like
will not come cheap. Nonetheless, this
section will attempt to establish broad guidelines
for a level of defense spending sufficient
to maintain America military preeminence.
In recent years, a variety of
analyses of the mismatch between the
Clinton Administration’s proposed defense
budgets and defense program have appeared.
The estimates all agree that the Clinton
program is underfunded; the differences lie
in gauging the amount of the shortage and
range from about $26 billion annually to
$100 billion annually, with the higher
numbers representing the more rigorous
Trends in Defense Spending
For the first time in 15 years, the 2001
defense budget may reflect a modest real
increase in U.S. defense spending. Both
President Clinton’s defense budget request
and the figures contained in the congressional
budget resolution would halt the slide
in defense budgets. Yet the extended paying
of the “peace dividend” – and the creation of
today’s federal budget surplus, the product
of increased tax revenues and reduced
defense spending – has created a severe
“defense deficit,” totaling tens of billions of
dollars annually.
The Congress has been complicit in this
defense decline. In the first years of the
administration, Congress acquiesced in the
sharp reductions made by the Clinton
Administration from the amount projected in
the final Bush defense plan. Since the
Republicans won
control of
Congress in 1994,
very slight
additions have
been made to
defense requests,
yet none has been
able to turn around
the pattern of
defense decline
until this year.
Even these increases
achieved by the
use of accounting
gimmicks that
allow the government to circumvent the
limitations of the 1997 balanced budget
Through all the accounting gimmicks,
defense spending has been almost perfectly
flat – indeed, the totals have been less than
$1 billion apart – for the past four years.
The steepest declines in defense spending
were accomplished during the early years of
the Clinton Administration, when defense
spending levels fell from about $339 billion
in 1992 to $277 billion in 1996. The
cumulative effects of reduced defense
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
spending over a decade or more have been
even more severe. A recent study by the
Center for Strategic and International
Studies, Avoiding the Defense Train Wreck
in the New Millennium, compared the final
Bush defense plan, covering 1994 through
1999, with the defense plan of the Clinton
Administration and found that a combination
of budget changes and internal
Pentagon actions had resulted in a net
reduction in defense spending of $162
billion from the Bush plan to the Clinton
plan. Congressional budget increases and
supplemental appropriations requests added
back about $52 billion, but that spending for
the most part covered the cost of contingency
operations and other readiness
shortfalls – it did not buy back much of the
modernization that was deferred. Compared
to Bush-era budgets, the Clinton Administration
reduced procurement spending an
average of $40 billion annually. During the
period from 1993 to 2000, deferred procurements
– the infamous “procurement
bow wave” – more than doubled from
previous levels to $426 billion, according to
the report.
The CSIS report is but the most recent
in a series of reports gauging the size of the
mismatch between current long-term
defense plans and budgets. The Congressional
Budget Office’s latest estimate of the
annual mismatch is at least $90 billion.
Even the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review
itself allowed for a $12-to-15-billion annual
funding shortfall; now the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, according to news reports, are
insisting on a $30-billion-per-year increase
in defense spending. In 1997 the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
calculated the annual shortfall at approximately
$26 billion and has now increased its
total to $50 billion; analyst Michael
O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution pegs
that gap at $27 billion, at a minimum.
Perhaps more important than the
question of which of these estimates best
calculates the amount of the current defense
shortfall is the question of what costs are not
captured. All of these estimates measure the
gap between current defense plans and
programs and current budgets; they make no
allowance for the new missions and needs of
the post-Cold War world. They do not
capture the costs of deploying effective
missile defenses. They do not account for
the costs of constabulary missions. They do
not consider the costs of transformation.
Nor do they calculate the costs of the other
recommendations of this report, such as
strengthening, reconfiguring, and repositioning
today’s force.
In fact, the best way to measure defense
spending over longer periods of time is as a
portion of national wealth and federal
spending. By these metrics, defense budgets
have continued to decline even as
Americans have become more prosperous in
recent years. The defense budget now totals
less than 3 percent of the gross domestic
product – the lowest level of U.S. defense
spending since the Depression. Defense
accounts for about 15 percent of federal
spending – slightly more than interest on the
debt, and less than one third of the amount
spent on Social Security, Medicare and other
entitlement programs, which account for 54
percent of federal spending. As the annual
federal budget has moved from deficit to
surplus and more resources have become
available, there has been no serious or
sustained effort to recapitalize U.S. armed
As troublesome as the trends of the past
decade have been, as inadequate as current
budgets are, the longer-term future is more
troubling still. If current spending levels are
maintained, by some projections, the amount
of the defense shortfall will be almost as
large as the defense budget itself by 2020 –
2.3 percent compared to 2.4 percent of gross
domestic product. In particular, as modernization
spending slips farther and farther
behind requirements, the procurement bow
wave will reach tsunami proportions, says
CSIS: “By continuing to kick the can down
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000
Reagan Buildup
Second World War
Trends in Defense Spending, 1940-2001
Korean War
Vietnam War
Post-Cold War Drawdown
the road, the military departments will, in
effect, create a situation in which they
require $4.4 trillion in procurement dollars”
from 2006 through 2020 to maintain the
current force.
After 2010 – seemingly a long way off
but well within traditional defense planning
horizons – the outlook for increased military
spending under current plans becomes even
more doubtful. In the coming decades, the
network of social entitlement programs,
particularly Social Security, will generate a
further squeeze on other federal spending
programs. If defense budgets remain at
projected levels, America’s global military
preeminence will be impossible to maintain,
as will the world order that is secured by
that preeminence.
Budgets and the Strategy
Of Retreat
Recent defense reviews, and the 1997
Quadrennial Defense Review and the
accompanying report of the National
Defense Panel especially, have framed the
dilemma facing the Pentagon and the nation
as a whole as a question of risk. At current
and planned spending levels, the United
States can preserve current forces and
capabilities to execute current missions and
sacrifice modernization, innovation and
transformation, or it can reduce personnel
strength and force structure further to pay
for new weapons and forces. Despite the
QDR’s rhetoric about shaping the current
strategic environment, responding to crises
and preparing now for an uncertain future,
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
If defense
remains at
levels, U.S.
forces will
soon be too
old or too
the Clinton Administration’s defense plans
continue to place a higher priority on immediate
needs than on preparing for a more
challenging technological or geo-political
future; as indicated in the force posture
section above, the QDR retains the two-war
standard as the central feature of defense
planning and the sine qua non of America’s
claim to be a global superpower. The
National Defense Panel, with its call for a
“transformation strategy,” argued that the
“priority must go to the future.” The twowar
standard, in the panel’s assessment, “has
become a means of justifying current forces.
This approach focuses resources on a lowprobability
scenario, which consumes funds
that could be used to reduce risk to our longterm
Again, the CSIS study’s affordability
assessments suggest the trade-offs between
manpower and force structure that must be
made under current
budget constraints. For
example, CSIS estimates
that the cost of
modernizing the
current 1.37 millionman
force would
require procurement
spending of $164
billion per year. While
we might not agree
with every aspect of the
methodology underlying
this calculation, the larger point is
clear: if defense spending remains at current
levels, as current plans under the QDR
assume, the Pentagon would only be able to
modernize a little more than half the force.
Under this scenario, U.S. armed forces
would become increasingly obsolescent,
expensive to operate and outclassed on the
battlefield. As the report concludes, “U.S.
military forces will lose their credibility both
at home and abroad regarding their size, age,
and technological capabilities for carrying
out the national military strategy.”
Conversely, adopting the National Defense
Panel approach of accepting greater risk
today while preparing for the future would
require significant further cuts in the size of
U.S. armed forces. According to CSIS, a
shift in resources that would up the rate of
modernized equipment to 76 percent – not a
figure specified by the NDP but one not
inconsistent with that general approach –
would require reducing the total strength of
U.S. forces to just 1 million, again assuming
3 percent of GDP were devoted to defense
spending. Thus, at current spending levels
the Pentagon must choose between force
structure and modernization.
When it is recalled that a projection of
defense spending levels at 3 percent of GDP
represents the most optimistic assumption
about current Pentagon plans, the horns of
this dilemma appear sharper still: at these
levels, U.S. forces soon will be too old or
too small. Following the administration’s
“live for today” path will ensure that, in
some future high-intensity war, U.S. forces
will lack the cutting-edge technologies that
they have come to rely on. Following the
NDP’s “prepare for tomorrow” path, U.S.
forces will lack the manpower needed to
conduct their current missions. From constabulary
duties to the conduct of major
theater wars, the ability to defend current
U.S. security interests will be placed at
growing risk.
In a larger sense, these two approaches
differ merely about the nature and timing of
a strategy of American retreat. By committing
forces to the Balkans, maintaining U.S.
presence in the Persian Gulf, and by responding
to Chinese threats to Taiwan and sending
peacekeepers to East Timor, the Clinton
Administration has, haltingly, incrementally
and often fecklessly, taken some of the
necessary steps for strengthening the new
American security perimeter. But by
holding defense spending and military
strength to their current levels, the
administration has compromised the nation’s
ability to fight large-scale wars today and
consumed the investments that ought to have
been made to preserve American military
preeminence tomorrow. The reckoning for
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Procurement Holiday
Living Off the Investments of the Reagan Years
Budget Authority, 1981-2001
such a strategy will come when U.S. forces
are unable to meet the demands placed upon
them. This may happen when they take on
one mission too many – if, say, NATO’s
role in the Balkans expands, or U.S troops
enforce a demilitarized zone on the Golan
Heights – and a major theater war breaks
out. Or, it may happen when two major
theater wars occur nearly simultaneously.
Or it may happen when a new great power –
a rising China – seeks to challenge
American interests and allies in an important
By contrast, a strategy that sacrifices
force structure and current readiness for
future transformation will leave American
armed forces unable to meet today’s
missions and commitments. Since today’s
peace is the unique product of American
preeminence, a failure to preserve that
preeminence allows others an opportunity to
shape the world in ways antithetical to
American interests and principles. The price
of American preeminence is that, just as it
was actively obtained, it must be actively
maintained. But as service chiefs and other
senior military leaders readily admit, today’s
forces are barely adequate to maintain the
rotation of units to the myriad peacekeeping
and other constabulary duties they face
while keeping adequate forces for a single
major theater war in reserve.
An active-duty force reduced by another
300,000 to 400,000 – almost another 30
percent cut from current levels and a total
reduction of more than half from Cold-War
levels – to free up funds for modernization
and transformation would be clearly
inadequate to the demands of today’s
missions and national military strategy. If
the United States withdrew forces from the
Balkans, for example, it is unlikely that the
rest of NATO would be able to long pick up
the slack; conversely, such a withdrawal
would provoke a political crisis within
NATO that would certainly result in the end
of American leadership within NATO; it
might well spell the end of the alliance
itself. Likewise, terminating the no-flyzones
over Iraq would call America’s
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
position as guarantor of security in the
Persian Gulf into question; the reaction
would be the same in East Asia following a
withdrawal of U.S. forces or a lowering of
American military presence. The consequences
sketched by the Quadrennial
Defense Review regarding a retreat from a
two-war capability would inexorably come
to pass: allies and adversaries alike would
begin to hedge against American retreat and
discount American security guarantees. At
current budget levels, a modernization or
transformation strategy is in danger of
becoming a “no-war” strategy. While the
American peace might not come to a
catastrophic end, it would quickly begin to
unravel; the result would be much the same
in time.
The Price of American
As admitted above, calculating the exact
price of armed forces capable of maintaining
American military preeminence today and
extending it into the future requires more
detailed analysis than this broad study can
provide. We have advocated a force posture
and service structure that diverges
significantly both from current plans and
alternatives advanced in other studies. We
believe it is necessary to increase slightly
the personnel strength of U.S. forces – many
of the missions associated with patrolling
the expanding American security perimeter
are manpower-intensive, and planning for
major theater wars must include the ability
for politically decisive campaigns including
extended post-combat stability operations.
Also, this expanding perimeter argues
strongly for new overseas bases and forward
operating locations to facilitate American
political and military operations around the
At the same time, we have argued that
established constabulary missions can be
made less burdensome on soldiers, sailors,
airmen and Marines and less burdensome on
overall U.S. force structure by a more
sensible forward-basing posture; long-term
security commitments should not be
supported by the debilitating, short-term
rotation of units except as a last resort. In
Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia,
enduring U.S. security interests argue
forcefully for an enduring American military
presence. Pentagon policy-makers must
adjust their plans to accommodate these
realities and to reduce the wear and tear on
service personnel. We have also argued that
the services can begin now to create new,
more flexible units and military
organizations that may, over time, prove to
be smaller than current organizations, even
for peacekeeping and constabulary
Even as American military forces patrol
an expanding security perimeter, we believe
it essential to retain sufficient forces based
in the continental United States capable of
rapid reinforcement and, if needed, applying
massive combat power to stabilize a region
in crisis or to bring a war to a successful
conclusion. There should be a strong
strategic synergy between U.S. forces
overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units
operating abroad are an indication of
American geopolitical interests and
leadership, provide significant military
power to shape events and, in wartime,
create the conditions for victory when
reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the
ability to deliver an unquestioned “knockout
punch” through the rapid introduction of
stateside units will increase the shaping
power of forces operating overseas and the
vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an
enduring need for large-scale American
But while arguing for improvements in
today’s armed services and force posture,
we are unwilling to sacrifice the ability to
maintain preeminence in the longer term. If
the United States is to maintain its
preeminence – and the military revolution
now underway is already an American-led
revolution – the Pentagon must begin in
earnest to transform U.S. military forces.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The program we
advocate – one
that would provide
America with
forces to meet the
strategic demands
of the world’s sole
superpower –
requires budget
levels to be
increased to 3.5 to
3.8 percent of the
We have argued that this transformation
mission is yet another new mission, as
compelling as the need to maintain
European stability in the Balkans, prepare
for large, theater wars or any other of
today’s missions. This is an effort that
involves more than new weaponry or
technologies. It requires experimental units
free to invent new concepts of operation,
new doctrines, new tactics. It will require
years, even decades, to fully grasp and
implement such changes, and will surely
involve mistakes and inefficiencies. Yet the
maintenance of the American peace requires
that American forces be preeminent when
they are called upon to face very different
adversaries in the future.
Finally, we have argued that we must
restore the foundation of American security
and the basis for U.S. military operations
abroad by improving our homeland
defenses. The current American peace will
be short-lived if
the United
States becomes
vulnerable to
rogue powers
with small,
arsenals of
ballistic missiles
and nuclear
warheads or
other weapons
of mass
destruction. We
cannot allow
North Korea,
Iran, Iraq or
similar states to
undermine American leadership, intimidate
American allies or threaten the American
homeland itself. The blessings of the
American peace, purchased at fearful cost
and a century of effort, should not be so
trivially squandered.
Taken all in all, the force posture and
service structure we advocate differ enough
from current plans that estimating its costs
precisely based upon known budget plans is
unsound. Likewise, generating independent
cost analyses is beyond the scope of this
report and would be based upon great
political and technological uncertainties –
any detailed assumptions about the cost of
new overseas bases or revolutionary
weaponry are bound to be highly speculative
absent rigorous net assessments and
program analysis. Nevertheless, we believe
that, over time, the program we advocate
would require budgets roughly equal to
those necessary to fully fund the QDR force
– a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of
gross domestic product. A sensible plan
would add $15 billion to $20 billion to total
defense spending annually through the
Future Years Defense Program; this would
result in a defense “topline” increase of $75
billion to $100 billion over that period, a
small percentage of the $700 billion onbudget
surplus now projected for that same
period. We believe that the new president
should commit his administration to a plan
to achieve that level of spending within four
In its simplest terms, our intent is to
provide forces sufficient to meet today’s
missions as effectively and efficiently as
possible, while readying U.S. armed forces
for the likely new missions of the future.
Thus, the defense program described above
would preserve current force structure while
improving its readiness, better posturing it
for its current missions, and making selected
investments in modernization. At the same
time, we would shift the weight of defense
recapitalization efforts to transforming U.S.
forces for the decades to come. At four
cents on the dollar of America’s national
wealth, this is an affordable program.
It is also a wise program. Only such a
force posture, service structure and level of
defense spending will provide America and
its leaders with a variety of forces to meet
the strategic demands of the world’s sole
superpower. Keeping the American peace
requires the U.S. military to undertake a
broad array of missions today and rise to
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
very different challenges tomorrow, but
there can be no retreat from these missions
without compromising American leadership
and the benevolent order it secures. This is
the choice we face. It is not a choice
between preeminence today and
preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership
is not something exercised at our leisure,
when the mood strikes us or when our core
national security interests are directly
threatened; then it is already too late.
Rather, it is a choice whether or not to
maintain American military preeminence, to
secure American geopolitical leadership,
and to preserve the American peace.
Roger Barnett
U.S. Naval War College
Alvin Bernstein
National Defense University
Stephen Cambone
National Defense University
Eliot Cohen
Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Devon Gaffney Cross
Donors' Forum for International Affairs
Thomas Donnelly
Project for the New American Century
David Epstein
Office of Secretary of Defense,
Net Assessment
David Fautua
Lt. Col., U.S. Army
Dan Goure
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Donald Kagan
Yale University
Fred Kagan
U. S. Military Academy at West Point
Robert Kagan
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Robert Killebrew
Col., USA (Ret.)
William Kristol
The Weekly Standard
Mark Lagon
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
James Lasswell
GAMA Corporation
I. Lewis Libby
Dechert Price & Rhoads
Robert Martinage
Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Phil Meilinger
U.S. Naval War College
Mackubin Owens
U.S. Naval War College
Steve Rosen
Harvard University
Gary Schmitt
Project for the New American Century
Abram Shulsky
The RAND Corporation
Michael Vickers
Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Barry Watts
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Paul Wolfowitz
Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Dov Zakheim
System Planning Corporation
The above list of individuals participated in at least one project meeting or contributed a paper for
discussion. The report is a product solely of the Project for the New American Century and does not
necessarily represent the views of the project participants or their affiliated institutions.

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God said in the Quran,

[18:99]. And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others like waves, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering.

[18:100]. On that day We shall present hell to the disbelievers, plain to view,

[18:101]. Those whose eyes were under a covering from My reminder (the Qur'an), and who could not bear to hear.

[18:102]. Do the disbelievers (the devil & his deceived servants) reckon that they can choose My bondmen (all the Good People) as protecting friends beside Me? Lo! We have prepared hell as a welcome for the disbelievers(the devil & his deceived servants).

[18:103]. Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds?

[18:104]. "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!

[18:105]. "They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs,

 evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations,

 etc.) of their Lord and the Meeting with Him (in

 the Hereafter). So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight, they are Worthless.

[18:106]. That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, etc.) and Our messengers.

[18:107]. Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs are the Gardens of Paradise, for welcome,

[18:108]. Wherein they will abide, with no desire to be removed from thence.

[18:109]. Say: Though the sea became ink for the Words of my Lord, verily the sea would be used up before the Words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like thereof to supply as ink.

[18:110]. Say (O Muhammad): I am only a mortal like you. My Lord inspireth in me that your God is only One God. And whoever hopeth for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.

And By That God Declared Victory?