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NSN Defense Budget Report

NSN Defense Budget Report

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Published by: NatSecNet on Nov 10, 2011
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05/21/2012

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M
ATCHING
ESOURCES
 
WITH
I
NTERESTS
:A S
TRATEGY
 
TO
G
UIDE
 
THE
D
EFENSE
B
UDGET
THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE is charged with protecting the American people anddefending our nation and our allies. Our Armed Forces are operating in a strategic environmentthat continues to evolve as geopolitical trends shift and the world becomes increasinglyinterconnected. Yet chief among the myriad of challenges we face in the 21
st
century is our economic security.The horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 set in motion a massive spending spree that has morethan doubled the defense budget.
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As Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff, explained, having this ready spigot of money "hasn't forced us to make the hardchoices. It hasn't forced us to prioritize. It hasn't forced us to do the analysis. And it hasn't forcedus to limit ourselves and get to a point or deciding, in a very turbulent world, what we're going todo and what we're not going to do."
2
As Congress, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, prepares to make the hard choicesthat are essential to our country’s fiscal health and security, we must also reevaluate our nationalsecurity priorities, the way America conducts its business in the world and the role the military plays in accomplishing those objectives. Now is the time to realign our defense strategy,rebalance the force and invest in systems that match our missions. As lawmakers contemplatefuture reductions, a broader shift in strategy will produce more meaningful savings, at a lower risk to our men and women in uniform.
The Strategic Environment
The challenges of the 21
st
century areimmense. The world is more interconnectedthan ever before, and while the threat of terrorism remains, it is but one of thechallenges facing the United States and theinternational system:
A “multi-nodal” world.
Shifts in political, economic and military power have facilitated a rise of newregional actors.
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States such as Chinaand India in particular haveexperienced rapid growth andcontinue to take on stronger regionalroles.
4
Russia has returned to theinternational stage and historicmovements in the Middle East and North Africa have dramaticallyaltered the region. These changes can
 National Security Network www.nsnetwork.org (202) 289-5999 1
 
Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret.) and Kelsey HartiganOctober 2011
 
 present opportunities as well aschallenges.
Non-state actors.
The U.S. andinternational system has seen agrowth in terrorists, criminalnetworks, pirates and other non-stateactors who are increasingly well-equipped and employing advancedtechnologies.
Proliferation of nuclear, biological,chemical and radiologicalweapons.
The possibility that aterrorist or terrorist organizationcould acquire a nuclear, biological,chemical or radiological weaponremains one of the gravest, albeitunlikely, national security threats weface. Efforts aimed at locking downvulnerable nuclear material have progressed, but the threat persists. Atthe same time, states such as Iran and North Korea continue to defyinternational norms and threatenregional stability.
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An ongoing economic crisis.
Theinternational economic downturn hasforced a number of U.S. allies and partners to take austerity measuresthat will increasingly affect thesecurity contributions such states arewilling and able to make. And athome, the long-term impacts of debt, joblessness and crumblinginfrastructure continue to be of graveconcern.
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Other serious challenges
. As populations continue to grow andmore people flock to urban areas,demand for resources has increased, particularly in the developing world.Water scarcity and governance issuesare likely to accompany such growthin the future. Climate change andglobal pandemics will alsoexacerbate challenges tointernational security and stability.
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 Given the scope of challenges facing theUnited States and global system, Americamust continue to work with its allies and partners to forge strong coalitions andinstitutions that are capable of responding toand mitigating such threats. Americanleadership, both at home and abroad, willcontinue to be instrumental in sustaining andshaping the global order. Leveraging suchleadership will require that the U.S. use allelements of our national power—our  political, economic and military might—andthat we pursue our national interests on asmart, calculated basis.
Enduring National Interests
The National Security Strategy highlightsour enduring national interests
8
:
The security of the United States, itscitizens, and U.S. allies and partners;
A strong, innovative, and growingU.S. economy in an openinternational economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity;
Respect for universal values at homeand around the world; and
An international order advanced byU.S. leadership that promotes peace,security, and opportunity throughstronger cooperation to meet globalchallenges.The strategy for advancing these interestsmust employ a blend of diplomacy,development and defense. The U.S. hasrelied too heavily on our troops and engaged
 National Security Network www.nsnetwork.org (202) 289-5999 2
 
in operations that are not directly related tovital national interests—a trend which has proven costly, in terms of both blood andtreasure. As budgets shrink and thePentagon turns to the hard choices it mustmake, the U.S. must first realign its wider defense strategy and the force structure thatsupports it.
A Strategy That Matches OurInterests with Our Means
Over the past decade, we have seen anexpansion of military mission sets andcapabilities that goes far beyond what political and military leaders now expect our armed forces to do in the years ahead.Ground forces, in particular, have grown innumber and scope as the U.S. pursued acounterinsurgency doctrine that demandedtroop-intensive operations simultaneously inIraq and Afghanistan.Few would challenge—and the NationalSecurity Strategy of the United Statessupports—the assertion of former DefenseSecretary Robert Gates that, “The UnitedStates is unlikely to repeat a mission on thescale of those in Afghanistan or Iraqanytime soon—that is, forced regime changefollowed by nation building under fire.”
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Maintaining the size of ground forcesdemanded by those operations appearsunnecessary. Moreover, America’s successin combating terrorism through smaller,more targeted operations—including the onethat culminated in the death of Osama binLaden—shows that there are other moreeffective tools at our disposal.
Shifting to a Counterterrorist Mission
The U.S. has made significant progresstoward disrupting, dismantling and defeatingal Qaeda and its affiliates. The deploymentof a large number of ground troops inAfghanistan is out of sync with both aneffective counterterrorist mission and withthe resource demands of other nationalsecurity and economic security challenges,at home and globally. A responsibledrawdown and a move from a broadcounterinsurgency mission in Afghanistan toa counterterrorist mission, integrated withour efforts in Yemen, the Horn of Africa andelsewhere, would help realign Americaninterests with our commitment inAfghanistan and offer a more pragmatic and
 
affordable path forward.
Richard Haass, president of the Council onForeign Relations and former U.S.coordinator for the future of Afghanistanunder George W. Bush, testified before theSenate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year that, “At the macro or global level,Afghanistan is simply absorbing moreeconomic, military, human, diplomatic, and political resources of every sort than itwarrants. The $110-$120 billion annual price tag—one out of every six to sevendollars this country spends on defense—isunjustifiable given the budget crisis weface...” Haass estimates that a considerablysmaller force, with the exact number beingdetermined by the threat, goals and outsideresources, would save upwards of $75 billion a year.
 Such a shift would alsofacilitate reductions in the end strengths of the Army and the Marine Corps.
Rebalance U.S. Ground Forces
In 2001, before the twin towers fell and before America went into Iraq andAfghanistan, the U.S. military had decisivecontrol over the air and sea lines of communication and maintained a force that
 National Security Network www.nsnetwork.org (202) 289-5999 3

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