this very need to restore and strengthen the international order. The
National Security Strategy
notes,"Our engagement will underpin a just and sustainable international order
just, because it advancesmutual interests, protects the rights of all, and holds accountable those who refuse to meet their responsibilities; sustainable because it is based on broadly shared norms and fosters collective action toaddress common challenges."
This is a very applicable consideration from 1970 to today given thesimilar nature of a complex and changing world system coming out of protracted conflicts.Laird points out that although the U.S. must maintain a position of military strength, it should bedone through force restructuring that reduces costs and maintains flexibility.
He recognizes a changingthreat landscape and repeatedly mentions a shift in focus from conventional theater based warfare to other potential threats.
This restructuring emphasizes a policy of deterrence, based more on the threat of forcerather than the actual use of it. He argues for improvements in mobility, tailoring of forces able to operatein specific areas, responsiveness, and security assistance programs with partnered nations.
These arearguably the very same force restructuring issues the U.S. faces today. The 2011
(NMS) identifies that, "Our strategy, forged in war, is focused on fielding modular, adaptive,general purpose forces that can be employed in the full range of military operations."
It further identifiesthe need to be expeditionary and partner with not only partnered nations but with intergovernmentalorganizations. The 2010
Quadrennial Defense Review
(QDR) emphasizes a strategy of deterrence builtaround restructuring forces.
The force restructuring debate then and today are not only similar, they arealmost identical. The idea behind both then and now is to build a strong force able to deter uncertainthreats without bankrupting the nation.The force restructuring discussion must include arguments of costs and budget realities. Lairdrecognizes this. He points out that the current (1970) 9% GNP rate of defense spending should be reducedto 7% or less.
He argues that his proposal would be, "consistent with maintaining strength while phasingdown to a peacetime force w
ith flexible options…"
The U.S. in 1970 was facing budgetary challengesresulting from years of war similar to what the U.S. faces today. Although, the rate of defense spending