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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 non-
profit, 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 Either alternative seemed to us

Century was established in the spring of shortsighted. The United States is the
1997. From its inception, the Project has world’s only superpower, combining
been concerned with the decline in the preeminent military power, global
strength of America’s defenses, and in the technological leadership, and the world’s
problems this would create for the exercise largest economy. Moreover, America stands
of American leadership around the globe at the head of a system of alliances which
and, ultimately, for the preservation of includes the world’s other leading
peace. democratic powers. At present the United
States faces no global rival. America’s
Our concerns were reinforced by the grand strategy should aim to preserve and
two congressionally-mandated defense extend this advantageous position as far into
studies that appeared soon thereafter: the the future as possible. There are, however,
Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review potentially powerful states dissatisfied with
(May 1997) and the report of the National the current situation and eager to change it,
Defense Panel (December 1997). Both if they can, in directions that endanger the
studies assumed that U.S. defense budgets relatively peaceful, prosperous and free
would remain flat or continue to shrink. As condition the world enjoys today. Up to
a result, the defense plans and now, they have been deterred from doing so
recommendations outlined in the two reports by the capability and global presence of
were fashioned with such budget constraints American military power. But, as that
in mind. Broadly speaking, the QDR power declines, relatively and absolutely,
stressed current military requirements at the the happy conditions that follow from it will
expense of future defense needs, while the be inevitably undermined.
NDP’s report emphasized future needs by
underestimating today’s defense Preserving the desirable strategic
responsibilities. situation in which the United States now
finds itself requires a globally preeminent
Although the QDR and the report of the military capability both today and in the
NDP proposed different policies, they future. But years of cuts in defense
shared one underlying feature: the gap spending have eroded the American
between resources and strategy should be military’s combat readiness, and put in
resolved not by increasing resources but by jeopardy the Pentagon’s plans for
shortchanging strategy. America’s armed maintaining military superiority in the years
forces, it seemed, could either prepare for ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has
the future by retreating from its role as the found itself undermanned, inadequately
essential defender of today’s global security equipped and trained, straining to handle
order, or it could take care of current contingency operations, and ill-prepared to
business but be unprepared for tomorrow’s adapt itself to the revolution in military
threats and tomorrow’s battlefields. affairs. Without a well-conceived defense
policy and an appropriate increase in

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

defense spending, the United States has been of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound.
letting its ability to take full advantage of the And what Secretary Cheney said at the time
remarkable strategic opportunity at hand slip in response to the DPG’s critics remains true
away. today: “We can either sustain the [armed]
forces we require and remain in a position to
With this in mind, we began a project in help shape things for the better, or we can
the spring of 1998 to examine the country’s throw that advantage away. [But] that
defense plans and resource requirements. would only hasten the day when we face
We started from the premise that U.S. greater threats, at higher costs and further
military capabilities should be sufficient to risk to American lives.”
support an American grand strategy
committed to building upon this The project proceeded by holding a
unprecedented opportunity. We did not series of seminars. We asked outstanding
accept pre-ordained constraints that defense specialists to write papers to explore
followed from assumptions about what the a variety of topics: the future missions and
country might or might not be willing to requirements of the individual military
expend on its defenses. services, the role of the reserves, nuclear
strategic doctrine and missile defenses, the
In broad terms, we saw the project as defense budget and prospects for military
building upon the defense strategy outlined modernization, the state (training and
by the Cheney Defense Department in the readiness) of today’s forces, the revolution
waning days of the Bush Administration. in military affairs, and defense-planning for
The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted theater wars, small wars and constabulary
in the early months operations. The papers were circulated to a
of 1992 provided a At present the group of participants, chosen for their
blueprint for United States experience and judgment in defense affairs.
maintaining U.S. faces no (The list of participants may be found at the
preeminence, end of this report.) Each paper then became
precluding the rise
global rival. the basis for discussion and debate. Our
of a great power America’s goal was to use the papers to assist
rival, and shaping grand strategy deliberation, to generate and test ideas, and
the international should aim to to assist us in developing our final report.
security order in While each paper took as its starting point a
line with American preserve and shared strategic point of view, we made no
principles and extend this attempt to dictate the views or direction of
interests. Leaked advantageous the individual papers. We wanted as full
before it had been and as diverse a discussion as possible.
formally approved,
position as far
the document was into the future Our report borrows heavily from those
criticized as an as possible. deliberations. But we did not ask seminar
effort by “cold participants to “sign-off” on the final report.
warriors” to keep defense spending high and We wanted frank discussions and we sought
cuts in forces small despite the collapse of to avoid the pitfalls of trying to produce a
the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, it was consensual but bland product. We wanted to
subsequently buried by the new try to define and describe a defense strategy
administration. that is honest, thoughtful, bold, internally
consistent and clear. And we wanted to
Although the experience of the past spark a serious and informed discussion, the
eight years has modified our understanding essential first step for reaching sound
of particular military requirements for conclusions and for gaining public support.
carrying out such a strategy, the basic tenets

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

New circumstances make us think that were forced to work from many untested
the report might have a more receptive assumptions about the nature of a world
audience now than in recent years. For the without a superpower rival. We have a
first time since the late 1960s the federal much better idea today of what our
government is running a surplus. For most responsibilities are, what the threats to us
of the 1990s, Congress and the White House might be in this new security environment,
gave balancing the federal budget a higher and what it will take to secure the relative
priority than funding national security. In peace and stability. We believe our report
fact, to a significant degree, the budget was reflects and benefits from that decade’s
balanced by a combination of increased tax worth of experience.
revenues and cuts in defense spending. The
surplus expected in federal revenues over Our report is published in a presidential
the next decade, however, removes any need election year. The new administration will
to hold defense spending to some need to produce a second Quadrennial
preconceived low level. Defense Review shortly after it takes office.
We hope that the Project’s report will be
Moreover, the American public and its useful as a road map for the nation’s
elected representatives have become immediate and future defense plans. We
increasingly aware of the declining state of believe we have set forth a defense program
the U.S. military. News stories, Pentagon that is justified by the evidence, rests on an
reports, congressional testimony and honest examination of the problems and
anecdotal accounts from members of the possibilities, and does not flinch from facing
armed services paint a disturbing picture of the true cost of security. We hope it will
an American military that is troubled by inspire careful consideration and serious
poor enlistment and retention rates, shoddy discussion. The post-Cold War world will
housing, a shortage of spare parts and not remain a relatively peaceful place if we
weapons, and diminishing combat readiness. continue to neglect foreign and defense
matters. But serious attention, careful
Finally, this report comes after a thought, and the willingness to devote
decade’s worth of experience in dealing with adequate resources to maintaining
the post-Cold War world. Previous efforts America’s military strength can make the
to fashion a defense strategy that would world safer and American strategic interests
make sense for today’s security environment 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 The challenge for the coming century is to
America should seek to preserve and extend preserve and enhance this “American
its position of global leadership by peace.”
maintaining the preeminence of U.S.
military forces. Today, the United States Yet unless the United States maintains
has an unprecedented strategic opportunity. sufficient military strength, this opportunity
It faces no immediate great-power will be lost. And in fact, over the past
challenge; it is blessed with wealthy, decade, the failure to establish a security
powerful and democratic allies in every part strategy responsive to new realities and to
of the world; it is in the midst of the longest provide adequate resources for the full range
economic expansion in its history; and its of missions needed to exercise U.S. global
political and economic principles are almost leadership has placed the American peace at
universally embraced. At no time in history growing risk. This report attempts to define
has the international security order been as those requirements. In particular, we need
conducive to American interests and ideals. to:

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 choices. They are also false economies.
if America is to retain its militarily dominant The “savings” from withdrawing from the
status for the coming decades. Conversely, Balkans, for example, will not free up
the failure to meet any of these needs must anywhere near the magnitude of funds
result in some form of strategic retreat. At needed for military modernization or
current levels of defense spending, the only transformation. But these are false
option is to try ineffectually to “manage” economies in other, more profound ways as
increasingly large risks: paying for today’s well. The true cost of not meeting our
needs by shortchanging tomorrow’s; defense requirements will be a lessened
withdrawing from constabulary missions to capacity for American global leadership and,
retain strength for large-scale wars; ultimately, the loss of a global security order
“choosing” between presence in Europe or that is uniquely friendly to American
presence in Asia; and so on. These are bad principles and prosperity.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


Since the end of the Cold War, the Paradoxically, as American power and
United States has struggled to formulate a influence are at their apogee, American
coherent national security or military military forces limp toward exhaustion,
strategy, one that accounts for the constants unable to meet the demands of their many
of American power and principles yet and varied missions, including preparing for
accommodates 21st century realities. Absent tomorrow’s battlefield. Today’s force,
a strategic framework, U.S. defense plan- reduced by a third or more over the past
ning has been an empty and increasingly decade, suffers from degraded combat
self-referential exercise, often dominated by readiness; from difficulties in recruiting and
bureaucratic and budgetary rather than retaining sufficient numbers of soldiers,
strategic interests. Indeed, the proliferation sailors, airmen and Marines; from the effects
of defense reviews over the past decade of an extended “procurement holiday” that
testifies to the failure to chart a consistent has resulted in the premature aging of most
course: to date, there have been half a dozen weapons systems; from an increasingly
formal defense reviews, and the Pentagon is obsolescent and inadequate military
now gearing up for a second Quadrennial infrastructure; from a shrinking industrial
Defense Review in 2001. Unless this “QDR base poorly structured to be the “arsenal of
II” matches U.S. military forces and democracy” for the 21st century; from a lack
resources to a viable American strategy, it, of innovation that threatens the techno-
too, will fail. logical and operational advantages enjoyed
by U.S. forces for a generation and upon
These failures are not without cost: which American strategy depends. Finally,
already, they place at risk an historic and most dangerously, the social fabric of
opportunity. After the victories of the past the military is frayed and worn. U.S. armed
century – two world wars, the Cold War and forces suffer from a degraded quality of life
most recently the Gulf War – the United divorced from middle-class expectations,
States finds itself as the uniquely powerful upon which an all-volunteer force depends.
leader of a coalition of free and prosperous Enlisted men and women and junior officers
states that faces no immediate great-power increasingly lack confidence in their senior
challenge. leaders, whom they believe will not tell
unpleasant truths to their civilian leaders. In
The American peace has proven itself sum, as the American peace reaches across
peaceful, stable and durable. It has, over the the globe, the force that preserves that peace
past decade, provided the geopolitical is increasingly overwhelmed by its tasks.
framework for widespread economic growth
and the spread of American principles of This is no paradox; it is the inevitable
liberty and democracy. Yet no moment in consequence of the failure to match military
international politics can be frozen in time; means to geopolitical ends. Underlying the
even a global Pax Americana will not failed strategic and defense reviews of the
preserve itself. past decade is the idea that the collapse of

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

the Soviet Union had created a “strategic

Cold War 21st Century
pause.” In other words, until another great-
Security Bipolar Unipolar
power challenger emerges, the United States
can enjoy a respite from the demands of
international leadership. Like a boxer Strategic Contain Preserve Pax
between championship bouts, America can goal Soviet Americana
afford to relax and live the good life, certain Union
that there would be enough time to shape up
for the next big challenge. Thus the United
Main Deter Soviet Secure and
States could afford to reduce its military
military expansionism expand zones
forces, close bases overseas, halt major
mission(s) of democratic
weapons programs and reap the financial
peace; deter
benefits of the “peace dividend.” But as we
rise of new
have seen over the past decade, there has
been no shortage of powers around the
world who have taken the collapse of the
defend key
Soviet empire as an opportunity to expand
their own influence and challenge the
American-led security order.
of war
Beyond the faulty notion of a strategic
pause, recent defense reviews have suffered
Main Potential Potential
from an inverted understanding of the mili-
military global war theater wars
tary dimension of the Cold War struggle
threat(s) across many spread across
between the United States and the Soviet
theaters globe
Union. American containment strategy did
not proceed from the assumption that the
Cold War would be a purely military strug- Focus of Europe East Asia
The multiple challenges of the
gle, in which the U.S. Army matched the
Red Army tank for tank; rather, the United
post-Cold War world.
States would seek to deter the Soviets
militarily while defeating them economi-
cally and ideologically over time. And, Over the decade of the post-Cold-War
even within the realm of military affairs, the period, however, almost everything has
practice of deterrence allowed for what in changed. The Cold War world was a bipolar
military terms is called “an economy of world; the 21st century world is – for the
force.” The principle job of NATO forces, moment, at least – decidedly unipolar, with
for example, was to deter an invasion of America as the world’s “sole superpower.”
Western Europe, not to invade and occupy America’s strategic goal used to be
the Russian heartland. Moreover, the bi- containment of the Soviet Union; today the
polar nuclear balance of terror made both task is to preserve an international security
the United States and the Soviet Union environment conducive to American
generally cautious. Behind the smallest interests and ideals. The military’s job
proxy war in the most remote region lurked during the Cold War was to deter Soviet
the possibility of Armageddon. Thus, expansionism. Today its task is to secure
despite numerous miscalculations through and expand the “zones of democratic
the five decades of Cold War, the United peace;” to deter the rise of a new great-
States reaped an extraordinary measure of power competitor; defend key regions of
global security and stability simply by Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and
building a credible and, in relative terms, to preserve American preeminence through
inexpensive nuclear arsenal. the coming transformation of war made

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

possible by new technologies. From 1945 to reduced military force that has emerged
1990, U.S. forces prepared themselves for a from the defense “drawdown” of the past
single, global war that might be fought decade. Today, America spends less than 3
across many theaters; in the new century, the percent of its gross domestic product on
prospect is for a variety of theater wars national defense, less than at any time since
around the world, against separate and before World War II – in other words, since
distinct adversaries pursuing separate and before the United States established itself as
distinct goals. During the Cold War, the the world’s leading power – and a cut from
main venue of superpower rivalry, the 4.7 percent of GDP in 1992, the first real
strategic “center of gravity,” was in Europe, post-Cold-War defense budget. Most of this
where large U.S. and NATO conventional reduction has come under the Clinton
forces prepared to repulse a Soviet attack Administration; despite initial promises to
and over which nuclear war might begin; approximate the level of defense spending
and with Europe now generally at peace, the called for in the final Bush Administration
new strategic center of concern appears to program, President Clinton cut more than
be shifting to East Asia. The missions for $160 billion from the Bush program from
America’s armed 1992 to 1996 alone. Over the first seven
Today, America forces have not years of the Clinton Administration,
spends less than diminished so approximately $426 billion in defense
much as shifted. investments have been deferred, creating a
3 percent of its The threats may weapons procurement “bow wave” of
gross domestic not be as great, immense proportions.
product on but there are
national defense, more of them. The most immediate effect of reduced
During the Cold defense spending has been a precipitate
less than at any War, America decline in combat readiness. Across all
time since before acquired its services, units are reporting degraded
the United States security readiness, spare parts and personnel
“wholesale” by shortages, postponed and simplified training
established itself global deterrence regimens, and many other problems. In
as the world’s of the Soviet congressional testimony, service chiefs of
leading power. Union. Today, staff now routinely report that their forces
that same are inadequate to the demands of the “two-
security can only be acquired at the “retail” war” national military strategy. Press
level, by deterring or, when needed, by attention focused on these readiness
compelling regional foes to act in ways that problems when it was revealed that two
protect American interests and principles. Army divisions were given a “C-4” rating,
meaning they were not ready for war. Yet it
This gap between a diverse and was perhaps more telling that none of the
expansive set of new strategic realities and Army’s ten divisions achieved the highest
diminishing defense forces and resources “C-1” rating, reflecting the widespread
does much to explain why the Joint Chiefs effects of slipping readiness standards. By
of Staff routinely declare that they see “high contrast, every division that deployed to
risk” in executing the missions assigned to Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991
U.S. armed forces under the government’s received a “C-1” rating. This is just a
declared national military strategy. Indeed, snapshot that captures the state of U.S.
a JCS assessment conducted at the height of armed forces today.
the Kosovo air war found the risk level
“unacceptable.” Such risks are the result of These readiness problems are
the combination of the new missions exacerbated by the fact that U.S. forces are
described above and the dramatically 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 admit that rapid technological changes
overwhelming majority of Army and Air makes it uncertain which new weapons
Force units remain at their Cold War bases systems to develop, the armed services cling
in Germany or England, while the security ever more tightly to traditional program and
problems on the continent have moved to concepts. As Andrew Krepinevich, a
Southeast Europe. Temporary rotations of member of the National Defense Panel, put
forces to the Balkans and elsewhere in it in a recent study of Pentagon experi-
Southeast Europe increase the overall mentation, “Unfortunately, the Defense
burdens of these operations many times. Department’s rhetoric asserting the need for
Likewise, the Clinton Administration has military transformation and its support for
continued the fiction that the operations of joint experimentation has yet to be matched
American forces in the Persian Gulf are by any great sense of urgency or any
merely temporary duties. Nearly a decade substantial resource support.…At present
after the Gulf War, U.S. air, ground and the Department’s effort is poorly focused
naval forces continue to protect enduring and woefully underfunded.”
American interests in the region. In addition
to rotational naval forces, the Army In sum, the 1990s have been a “decade
maintains what amounts to an armored of defense neglect.” This leaves the next
brigade in Kuwait for nine months of every president of the United States with an
year; the Air Force has two composite air enormous challenge: he must increase
wings in constant “no-fly zone” operations military spending to preserve American
over northern and southern Iraq. And geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back
despite increasing worries about the rise of from the security commitments that are the
China and instability in Southeast Asia, U.S. measure of America’s position as the
forces are found almost exclusively in world’s sole superpower and the final
Northeast Asian bases. guarantee of security, democratic freedoms
and individual political rights. This choice
Yet for all its problems in carrying out will be among the first to confront the
today’s missions, the Pentagon has done president: new legislation requires the
almost nothing to prepare for a future that incoming administration to fashion a
promises to be very different and potentially national security strategy within six months
much more dangerous. It is now commonly of assuming office, as opposed to waiting a
understood that information and other new full year, and to complete another
technologies – as well as widespread quadrennial defense review three months
technological and weapons proliferation – after that. In a larger sense, the new
are creating a dynamic that may threaten president will choose whether today’s
America’s ability to exercise its dominant “unipolar moment,” to use columnist
military power. Potential rivals such as Charles Krauthammer’s phrase for
China are anxious to exploit these trans- America’s current geopolitical preeminence,
formational technologies broadly, while will be extended along with the peace and
adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea prosperity that it provides.
are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and
nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American This study seeks to frame these choices
intervention in regions they seek to clearly, and to re-establish the links between
dominate. Yet the Defense Department and U.S. foreign policy, security strategy, force
the services have done little more than affix planning and defense spending. If an
a “transformation” label to programs American peace is to be maintained, and
developed during the Cold War, while expanded, it must have a secure foundation
diverting effort and attention to a process of on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence.
joint experimentation which restricts rather
than encourages innovation. Rather than

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


America’s global leadership, and its role has invited challenges; states seeking to
as the guarantor of the current great-power establish regional hegemony continue to
peace, relies upon the safety of the probe for the limits of the American security
American homeland; the preservation of a perimeter. None of the defense reviews of
favorable balance of power in Europe, the the past decade has weighed fully the range
Middle East and surrounding energy- of missions demanded by U.S. global
producing region, and East Asia; and the leadership: defending the homeland,
general stability of the international system fighting and
of nation-states relative to terrorists, None of the winning multiple
organized crime, and other “non-state defense reviews large-scale wars,
actors.” The relative importance of these of the past conducting
elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, constabulary
may rise and fall over time. Europe, for decade has missions which
example, is now extraordinarily peaceful weighed fully preserve the
and stable, despite the turmoil in the the range of current peace, and
Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to transforming the
be entering a period with increased potential
missions U.S. armed forces
for instability and competition. In the Gulf, demanded by to exploit the
American power and presence has achieved U.S. global “revolution in
relative external security for U.S. allies, but leadership, nor military affairs.”
the longer-term prospects are murkier. Nor have they
Generally, American strategy for the coming adequately adequately
decades should seek to consolidate the great quantified the quantified the
victories won in the 20th century – which forces and forces and
have made Germany and Japan into stable resources resources
democracies, for example – maintain necessary to
stability in the Middle East, while setting the necessary to execute these
conditions for 21st-century successes, execute these missions
especially in East Asia. missions separately and
A retreat from any one of these
successfully. While much
requirements would call America’s status as further detailed
the world’s leading power into question. As analysis would be required, it is the purpose
we have seen, even a small failure like that of this study to outline the large, “full-
in Somalia or a halting and incomplete spectrum” forces that are necessary to
triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on conduct the varied tasks demanded by a
American credibility. The failure to define a strategy of American preeminence for today
coherent global security and military and tomorrow.
strategy during the post-Cold-War period

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 so-
called “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 ill- requirement for peacekeeping operations;
prepared to execute these four missions. unless this requirement is better understood,
Over the past decade, efforts to design and America’s ability to fight major wars will be
build effective missile defenses have been jeopardized. Likewise, the transformation
ill-conceived and underfunded, and the process has gotten short shrift.
Clinton Administration has proposed deep
reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without To meet the requirements of the four
sufficient analysis of the changing global new missions highlighted above, the United
nuclear balance of forces. While, broadly States must undertake a two-stage process.
speaking, the United States now maintains The immediate task is to rebuild today’s
sufficient active and reserve forces to meet force, ensuring that it is equal to the tasks
the traditional two-war standard, this is true before it: shaping the peacetime enviro-
only in the abstract, under the most nment and winning multiple, simultaneous
favorable geopolitical conditions. As the theater wars; these forces must be large
Joint Chiefs of Staff have admitted enough to accomplish these tasks without
repeatedly in congressional testimony, they running the “high” or “unacceptable” risks it
lack the forces necessary to meet the two- faces now. The second task is to seriously
war benchmark as expressed in the warplans embark upon a transformation of the
of the regional commanders-in-chief. The Defense Department. This itself will be a
requirements for major-war forces must be two-stage effort: for the next decade or
reevaluated to accommodate new strategic more, the armed forces will continue to
realities. One of these new realities is the operate many of the same systems it now

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

does, organize themselves in traditional more effective nuclear weapons; brought

units, and employ current operational underground testing to a complete halt; and
concepts. However, this transition period allowed the Department of Energy’s
must be a first step toward more substantial weapons complex and associated scientific
reform. Over the next several decades, the expertise to atrophy for lack of support. The
United States must field a global system of administration has also made the decision to
missile defenses, divine ways to control the retain current weapons in the active force for
new “international commons” of space and years beyond their design life. When
cyberspace, and build new kinds of combined with the decision to cut back on
conventional forces for different strategic regular, non-nuclear flight and system tests
challenges and a new technological of the weapons themselves, this raises a host
environment. of questions about the continuing safety and
reliability of the nation’s strategic arsenal.
Nuclear Forces The administration’s stewardship of the
nation's deterrent capability has been aptly
Current conventional wisdom about described by Congress as “erosion by
strategic forces in the post-Cold-War world design.”
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 A new assessment of the global
power, this sentiment is understandable. But nuclear balance, one that takes
it is precisely because we have such power
account of Chinese and other nuclear
that smaller adversarial states, looking for an
equalizing advantage, are determined to
forces as well as Russian, must
acquire their own weapons of mass precede decisions about U.S. nuclear
destruction. Whatever our fondest wishes, force cuts.
the reality of the today’s world is that there
is no magic wand with which to eliminate Rather than maintain and improve
these weapons (or, more fundamentally, the America’s nuclear deterrent, the Clinton
interest in acquiring them) and that deterring Administration has put its faith in new arms
their use requires a reliable and dominant control measures, most notably by signing
U.S. nuclear capability. the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(CTBT). The treaty proposed a new
While the formal U.S. nuclear posture multilateral regime, consisting of some 150
has remained conservative through the 1994 states, whose principal effect would be to
Nuclear Posture Review and the 1997 constrain America's unique role in providing
Quadrennial Defense Review, and senior the global nuclear umbrella that helps to
Pentagon leaders speak of the continuing keep states like Japan and South Korea from
need for nuclear deterrent forces, the Clinton developing the weapons that are well within
Administration has taken repeated steps to their scientific capability, while doing little
undermine the readiness and effectiveness of to stem nuclear weapons proliferation.
U.S. nuclear forces. In particular, it has Although the Senate refused to ratify the
virtually ceased development of safer and 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

make sense to continue the current needed first is a global net assessment of
moratorium on nuclear testing for the what kinds and numbers of nuclear weapons
moment – since it would take a number of the U.S. needs to meet its security
years to refurbish the neglected testing responsibilities in a post-Soviet world.
infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is
an untenable situation. If the United States In short, until the Department of
is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both Defense can better define future its nuclear
effective and safe, it will need to test. requirements, significant reductions in U.S.
nuclear forces might well have unforeseen
That said, of all the elements of U.S. consequences that lessen rather than
military force posture, perhaps none is more enhance the security of the United States
in need of reevaluation than America’s and its allies. Reductions, upon review,
nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain might be called for. But what should finally
a critical component of American military drive the size and character of our nuclear
power but it is unclear whether the current forces is not numerical parity with Russian
U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the capabilities but maintaining American
emerging post-Cold War world. Today’s strategic superiority – and, with that
strategic calculus encompasses more factors superiority, a capability to deter possible
than just the balance of terror between the hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S.
United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed
planning and related arms control policies of; rather, it will be an essential element in
must take account of a larger set of variables preserving American leadership in a more
than in the past, including the growing complex and chaotic world.
number of small
nuclear arsenals – The Forces for Major Theater Wars
from North Korea
to Pakistan to,
The one constant of Pentagon force
perhaps soon, stewardship of planning through the past decade has been
Iran and Iraq – the nation’s the recognized need to retain sufficient
and a modernized deterrent combat forces to fight and win, as rapidly
and expanded and decisively as possible, multiple, nearly
Chinese nuclear
capability has
simultaneous major theater wars. This
force. Moreover, been described constant is based upon two important truths
there is a question by Congress as about the current international order. One,
about the role “erosion by the Cold-War standoff between America and
nuclear weapons its allies and the Soviet Union that made for
should play in design.”
caution and discouraged direct aggression
deterring the use against the major security interests of either
of other kinds of weapons of mass destruc- side no longer exists. Two, conventional
tion, such as chemical and biological, with warfare remains a viable way for aggressive
the U.S. having foresworn those weapons’ states to seek major changes in the
development and use. It addition, there may international order.
be a need to develop a new family of nuclear
weapons designed to address new sets of Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait reflected
military requirements, such as would be both truths. The invasion would have been
required in targeting the very deep under- highly unlikely, if not impossible, within the
ground, hardened bunkers that are being context of the Cold War, and Iraq overran
built by many of our potential adversaries. Kuwait in a matter of hours. These two
Nor has there been a serious analysis done truths revealed a third: maintaining or
of the benefits versus the costs of maintain- restoring a favorable order in vital regions in
ing the traditional nuclear “triad.” What is

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

the world such as Europe, the Middle East in the early 1990s. The experience of
and East Asia places a unique responsibility Operation Allied Force in the Balkans
on U.S. armed forces. The Gulf War and suggests that, if anything, the canonical two-
indeed the subsequent lesser wars in the war force-sizing standard is more likely to
Balkans could hardly have been fought and be too low than too high. The Kosovo air
won without the dominant role played by campaign eventually involved the level of
American military might. forces anticipated for a major war, but in a
theater other than the two – the Korean
Thus, the understanding that U.S. armed peninsula and Southwest Asia – that have
forces should be shaped by a “two-major- generated past Pentagon planning scenarios.
war” standard rightly has been accepted as Moreover, new theater wars that can be
the core of America’s superpower status foreseen, such as an American defense of
since the end of the Cold War. The logic of Taiwan against a Chinese invasion or
past defense reviews still obtains, and punitive attack, have yet to be formally
received its clear exposition in the 1997 considered by Pentagon planners.
Quadrennial Defense Review, which argued:
To better judge forces needed for
A force sized and equipped for building an American peace, the Pentagon
deterring and defeating aggression in needs to begin to calculate the force
more than one theater ensures that the necessary to
United States will maintain the protect, The Joint Chiefs
flexibility to cope with the unpredictable
and unexpected. Such a capability is
independently, have admitted
the sine qua non of a superpower and is U.S. interests they lack the
essential to the credibility of our overall in Europe, East
Asia and the forces necessary
national security strategy….If the
United States were to forego its ability Gulf at all to meet the two-
to defeat aggression in more than one times. The war benchmark.
theater at a time, our standing as a actions of our
global power, as the security partner of adversaries in these regions bear no more
choice and the leader of the than a tangential relationship to one another;
international community would be it is more likely that one of these regional
called in to question. Indeed, some
powers will seize an opening created by
allies would undoubtedly read a one-
war capability as a signal that the deployments of U.S. forces elsewhere to
United States, if heavily engaged make mischief.
elsewhere, would no longer be able to
defend their interests…A one-theater- Thus, the major-theater-war standard
war capacity would risk should remain the principal force-sizing tool
undermining…the credibility of U.S. for U.S. conventional forces. This not to say
security commitments in key regions of that this measure has been perfectly applied
the world. This, in turn, could cause in the past: Pentagon analyses have been
allies and friends to adopt more both too optimistic and too pessimistic, by
divergent defense policies and postures,
turns. For example, the analyses done of the
thereby weakening the web of alliances
and coalitions on which we rely to requirement to defeat an Iraqi invasion of
protect our interests abroad. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia almost certainly
overestimates the level of force required.
In short, anything less than a clear two- Conversely, past analyses of a defense of
war capacity threatens to devolve into a no- South Korea may have underestimated the
war strategy. difficulties of such a war, especially if North
Korea employed weapons of mass destruc-
Unfortunately, Defense Department tion, as intelligence estimates anticipate.
thinking about this requirement was frozen Moreover, the theater-war analysis done for

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

the QDR assumed that Kim Jong Il and unavoidable diet for U.S. armed forces for
Saddam Hussein each could begin a war – many years to come: “Based on recent
perhaps even while employing chemical, experience and intelligence projections, the
biological or even nuclear weapons – and demand for SSC operations is expected to
the United States would make no effort to remain high over the next 15 to 20 years,”
unseat militarily either ruler. In both cases, the review concluded. Yet, at the same
past Pentagon wargames have given little or time, the QDR failed to allocate any forces
no consideration to the force requirements to these missions, continuing the fiction that,
necessary not only to defeat an attack but to for force planning purposes, constabulary
remove these regimes from power and missions could be considered “lesser
conduct post-combat stability operations. In included cases” of major theater war
short, past Defense Department application requirements. “U.S. forces must also be
of the two-war standard is not a reliable able to withdraw from SSC operations,
guide to the real force requirements – and, reconstitute, and then deploy to a major
of course, past reviews included no analysis theater war in accordance with required
of the kind of campaign in Europe as was timelines,” the review argued.
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 The increasing number of
did in 1990, they will employ their most ‘constabulary’ missions for U.S.
powerful armed forces to win on the battle- troops, such as in Kosovo above, must
field what they could not win in peaceful be considered an integral element in
competition; and American armed forces Pentagon force planning.
will remain the core of efforts to deter,
defeat, or remove from power regional
aggressors. The shortcomings of this approach were
underscored by the experience of Operation
Forces for ‘Constabulary’ Duties Allied Force in the Balkans. Precisely
because the forces engaged there would not
In addition to improving the analysis have been able to withdraw, reconstitute and
needed to quantify the requirements for redeploy to another operation – and because
major theater wars, the Pentagon also must the operation consumed such a large part of
come to grips with the real requirements for overall Air Force aircraft – the Joint Chiefs
constabulary missions. The 1997 of Staff concluded that the United States
Quadrennial Defense Review rightly was running “unacceptable” risk in the event
acknowledged that these missions, which it of war elsewhere. Thus, facing up to the
dubbed “smaller-scale contingencies,” or realities of multiple constabulary missions
SSCs, would be the frequent and 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 era, the Defense Department is more than
simply withdrawing from current able to conduct a useful assessment to
constabulary missions or by vowing to avoid quantify the overall needs for forces
them in the future. Indeed, withdrawing engaged in constabulary duties. While part
from today’s ongoing missions would be of the solution lies in repositioning existing
problematic. Although the no-fly-zone air forces, there is no escaping the conclusion
operations over northern and southern Iraq that these new missions, unforeseen when
have continued without pause for almost a the defense drawdown began a decade ago,
decade, they remain an essential element in require an increase in overall personnel
U.S. strategy and force posture in the strength and U.S. force structure.
Persian Gulf region. Ending these opera-
tions would hand Saddam Hussein an impor- Transformation Forces
tant victory, something any American leader
would be loath to do. Likewise, withdraw- The fourth element in American force
ing from the Balkans would place American posture – and certainly the one which holds
leadership in Europe – indeed, the viability the key to any longer-term hopes to extend
of NATO – in question. While none of the current Pax Americana – is the mission
these operations involves a mortal threat, to transform U.S. military forces to meet
they do engage U.S. national security new geopolitical and technological
interests directly, as well as engaging challenges. While the prime directive for
American moral interests. transformation will be to design and deploy
a global missile defense system, the effects
Further, these constabulary missions are of information and other advanced techno-
far more complex and likely to generate logies promise to revolutionize the nature of
violence than traditional “peacekeeping” conventional armed forces. Moreover, the
missions. For one, they demand American need to create weapons systems optimized
political leadership rather than that of the for operations in the Pacific theater will
United Nations, as the failure of the UN create requirements quite distinct from the
mission in the Balkans and the relative current generation of systems designed for
success of NATO operations there attests. warfare on the European continent and those
Nor can the United States assume a UN-like new systems like the F-22 fighter that also
stance of neutrality; the preponderance of were developed to meet late-Cold-War
American power is so great and its global needs.
interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be
indifferent to the political outcome in the Although the basic concept for a system
Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it of global missile defenses capable of
deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these defending the United States and its allies
missions demand forces basically configured against the threat of smaller and simpler
for combat. While they also demand ballistic missiles has been well understood
personnel with special language, logistics since the late 1980s, a decade has been
and other support skills, the first order of squandered in developing the requisite
business in missions such as in the Balkans technologies. In fact, work on the key
is to establish security, stability and order. elements of such a system, especially those
American troops, in particular, must be that would operate in space, has either been
regarded as part of an overwhelmingly so slowed or halted completely, so that the
powerful force. process of deploying robust missile defenses
remains a long-term project. If for no other
With a decade’s worth of experience reason, the mission to create such a missile
both of the requirements for current defense system should be considered a
constabulary missions and with the chaotic matter of military transformation.
political environment of the post-Cold War

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

As will be argued more fully below, marks the new century places these
effective ballistic missile defenses will be advantages at risk. Today’s U.S.
the central element in the exercise of conventional forces are masters of a mature
American power and the projection of U.S. paradigm of warfare, marked by the
military forces abroad. Without it, weak dominance of armored vehicles, aircraft
states operating small arsenals of crude carriers and, especially, manned tactical
ballistic missiles, armed with basic nuclear aircraft, that is beginning to be overtaken by
warheads or other weapons of mass destruc- a new paradigm, marked by long-range
tion, will be a in a strong position to deter precision strikes and the proliferation of
the United States from using conventional missile technologies. Ironically, it has been
force, no matter the technological or other the United States that has pioneered this new
advantages we may enjoy. Even if such form of high-technology conventional
enemies are merely able to threaten warfare: it was suggested by the 1991 Gulf
American allies rather than the United States War and has been revealed more fully by the
homeland itself, America’s ability to project operations of the past decade. Even the
power will be “Allied Force” air war for Kosovo showed a
deeply distorted version of the emerging paradigm
For the United of warfare.
Alas, neither States to retain the
Admini- technological and Yet even these pioneering capabilities
stration tactical advan- are the residue of investments first made in
strategists nor the mid- and late 1980s; over the past
tages it now decade the pace of innovation within the
force planners enjoys, the Pentagon has slowed measurably. In part,
seem to have transformation this is due to reduced defense budgets, the
grasped this effort must be overwhelming dominance of U.S. forces
elemental today, and the multiplicity of constabulary
point; considered as missions. And without the driving challenge
certainly, pressing a military of the Soviet military threat, efforts at
efforts to fund, mission as innovation have lacked urgency.
design and Nonetheless, a variety of new potential
develop an
preparing for challenges can be clearly foreseen. The
effective today’s theater Chinese military, in particular, seeks to
system of wars. exploit the revolution in military affairs to
missile offset American advantages in naval and air
defenses do not reflect any sense of urgency. power, for example. If the United States is
Nonetheless, the first task in transforming to retain the technological and tactical
U.S. military to meet the technological and advantages it now enjoys in large-scale
strategic realities of a new century is to conventional conflicts, the effort at
create such a system. transformation must be considered as
pressing a mission as preparing for today’s
Creating a system of global missile potential theater wars or constabulary
defenses is but the first task of missions – indeed, it must receive a
transformation; the need to reshape U.S. significant, separate allocation of forces and
conventional forces is almost as pressing. budgetary resources over the next two
For, although American armed forces decades.
possess capabilities and enjoy advantages
that far surpass those of even our richest and In addition, the process of transfor-
closest allies, let alone our declared and mation must proceed from an appreciation
potential enemies, the combination of of American strategy and political goals.
technological and strategic change that 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 general terms, it seems likely that the
partnerships, U.S. armed forces cannot process of transformation will take several
retreat into a “Fortress America.” Thus, decades and that U.S. forces will continue to
while long-range precision strikes will operate many, if not most, of today’s
certainly play an increasingly large role in weapons systems for a decade or more.
U.S. military operations, American forces Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of
must remain deployed abroad, in large transformation will in fact be a two-stage
numbers. To remain as the leader of a process: first of transition, then of more
variety of coalitions, the United States must thoroughgoing transformation. The break-
partake in the risks its allies face; security point will come when a preponderance of
guarantees that depend solely upon power new weapons systems begins to enter
projected from the continental United States service, perhaps when, for example,
will inevitably become discounted. unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as
numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard,
Moreover, the process of transformation the Pentagon should be very wary of making
should proceed in a spirit of competition large investments in new programs – tanks,
among the services and between service and planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that
joint approaches. Inevitably, new would commit U.S. forces to current
technologies may create the need for entirely paradigms of warfare for many decades to
new military organizations; this report will come.
argue below that the emergence of space as
a key theater of war suggests forcefully that, In conclusion, it should be clear that
in time, it may be wise to create a separate these four essential missions for maintaining
“space service.” Thus far, the Defense American military preeminence are quite
Department has attempted to take a separate and distinct from one another –
prematurely joint approach to none should be considered a “lesser included
transformation. While it is certain that new case” of another, even though they are
technologies will allow for the closer closely related and may, in some cases,
combination of traditional service require similar sorts of forces. Conversely,
capabilities, it is too early in the process of the failure to provide sufficient forces to
transformation to choke off what should be execute these four missions must result in
the healthy and competitive face of problems for American strategy. The failure
“interservice rivalry.” Because the separate to build missile defenses will put America
services are the military institutions most and her allies at grave risk and compromise
attuned to providing forces designed to carry the exercise of American power abroad.
out the specific missions required by U.S. Conventional forces that are insufficient to
strategy, they are in fact best equipped to fight multiple theater wars simultaneously
become the engines of transformation and cannot protect American global interests and
change within the context of enduring allies. Neglect or withdrawal from
mission requirements. constabulary missions will increase the
likelihood of larger wars breaking out and
Finally, it must be remembered that the encourage petty tyrants to defy American
process of transformation is indeed a interests and ideals. And the failure to
process: even the most vivid view of the prepare for tomorrow’s challenges will
armed forces of the future must be grounded ensure that the current Pax Americana
in an understanding of today’s forces. In comes to an early end.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


Despite the centrality of major theater is on the road to becoming a NATO

wars in conventional-force planning, it has protectorate. In the Persian Gulf region, the
become painfully obvious that U.S. forces presence of American forces, along with
have other vital roles to play in building an British and French units, has become a semi-
enduring American peace. The presence of permanent fact of life. Though the
American forces in critical regions around immediate mission of those forces is to
the world is the visible expression of the enforce the no-fly zones over northern and
extent of America’s status as a superpower southern Iraq, they represent the long-term
and as the guarantor of liberty, peace and commitment of the United States and its
stability. Our role in shaping the peacetime major allies to a region of vital importance.
security environment is an essential one, not Indeed, the United
to be renounced without great cost: it will be States has for
difficult, if not impossible, to sustain the decades sought to
Guarding the
role of global guarantor without a substantial play a more American
overseas presence. Our allies, for whom permanent role in security peri-
regional problems are vital security interests, Gulf regional meter today –
will come to doubt our willingness to defend security. While
their interests if U.S. forces withdraw into a the unresolved
and tomorrow –
Fortress America. Equally important, our conflict with Iraq will require
worldwide web of alliances provides the provides the changes in U.S.
most effective and efficient means for immediate deployments and
exercising American global leadership; the justification, the
benefits far outweigh the burdens. Whether need for a installations
established in permanent bases or on substantial overseas.
rotational deployments, the operations of American force
U.S. and allied forces abroad provide the presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of
first line of defense of what may be the regime of Saddam Hussein. In East
described as the “American security Asia, the pattern of U.S. military operations
perimeter.” is shifting to the south: in recent years,
significant naval forces have been sent to the
Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, region around Taiwan in response to
this perimeter has expanded slowly but Chinese provocation, and now a contingent
inexorably. In Europe, NATO has of U.S. troops is supporting the Australian-
expanded, admitting three new members and led mission to East Timor. Across the
acquiring a larger number of “adjunct” globe, the trend is for a larger U.S. security
members through the Partnership for Peace perimeter, bringing with it new kinds of
program. Tens of thousands of U.S, NATO missions.
and allied troops are on patrol in the
Balkans, and have fought a number of The placement of U.S. bases has yet to
significant actions there; in effect, the region reflect these realities – if anything, the

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

worldwide archipelago of U.S. military the true American commitment to our allies
installations has contracted as the perimeter and their security interests – but they also
of U.S. security interests has expanded. need to be highly versatile and mobile with a
American armed forces far from ideally broad range of capabilities; they are the
positioned to respond to the needs of the cavalry on the new American frontier. In
times, but the Pentagon remains tied to the event of a large-scale war, they must be
levels of forward-deployed forces that bear able to shape the battlefield while
little relationship to military capabilities or reinforcing forces based primarily in the
realities. The air war in Kosovo provides a United States arrive to apply decisive blows
vivid example: during Operation Allied to the enemy. Not only must they be
Force, U.S. and NATO warplanes were repositioned to reflect the shifting strategic
spread out across the continent of Europe landscape, they also must be reorganized
and even into Asiatic Turkey, forced into a and restructured to reflect their new
widely dispersed and very complex pattern missions and to integrate new technologies.
of operations – requiring extensive refueling
efforts and limiting the campaign itself – by Europe
a lack of adequate air bases in southeastern
Europe. The network of American overseas
At the end of the Cold War, the United
installations and deployments requires
States maintained more than 300,000 troops
reconfiguration. Likewise, the structure of
in Europe, including two Army corps and 13
U.S. forces needs to be reconsidered in light
Air Force wings plus a variety of indepen-
of the changing mission of the American
dent sub-units, primarily based in Germany.
military. Overall U.S. military force
The central plain of Germany was the
structure must be rationalized to accommo-
central theater of the Cold War and, short of
date the fact that the presence of these forces
an all-out nuclear exchange, a Soviet
in far-flung outposts or on patrol overseas
armored invasion of western Europe the
may be as important as their theater-
principal threat faced by the United States
warfighting missions, especially in Europe.
and its NATO allies. Today Germany is
The requirements of Balkans stabilization,
unified, Poland and the Czech Republic
NATO expansion (including Partnership for
members of NATO, and the Russian army
Peace) and other missions within the theater
has retreated to the gates of Moscow while
render it unrealistic to expect U.S. forces in
becoming primarily engaged in the
Europe to be readily available for other
Caucasus and to the south more generally.
crises, as formal Pentagon planning
Though northern and central Europe are
presumes. The continuing challenges from
arguably more stable now than at any time
Iraq also make it unwise to draw down
in history, the majority of American forces
forces in the Gulf dramatically. Securing
in Europe are still based in the north,
the American perimeter today – and
including a theater army and a corps of two
tomorrow – will necessitate shifts in U.S.
heavy divisions in Germany and just five
overseas operations.
Air Force wings, plus a handful of other,
smaller units.
American armed forces stationed abroad
and on rotational deployments around the
But while northern and central Europe
world should be considered as the first line
have remained extraordinarily stable, and
of American defenses, providing recon-
the eastern Germany, Poland and the Czech
naissance and security against the prospect
Republic have become reintegrated into the
of larger crises and conducting stability
mainstream of European political, economic
operations to prevent their outbreak. These
and cultural life, the situation in south-
forces need to be among the most ready,
eastern Europe has been a tumultuous one.
with finely honed warfighting skills – and
The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more
only forces configured for combat indicate

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

generally, present the major hurdle toward Despite the shifting focus of conflict in
the creation of a Europe “whole and free” Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces
from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay in northern and central Europe remains. The
in bringing security and stability to south- region is stable, but a continued American
eastern Europe has not only prevented the presence helps to assure the major European
consolidation of the victory in the Cold War, powers, especially Germany, that the United
it has created a zone of violence and conflict States retains its longstanding security
and introduced uncertainty about America’s interest in the continent. This is especially
role in Europe. 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
The continuing deployment of forces in network of U.S. bases in northern and
central retains its relevance today as in the
the Balkans reflects a U.S. commitment
Cold War.
to the region’s security. By refusing to
treat these deployments as a shift of the However, changes should be made to
permanent American presence in reflect the larger shift in European security
Europe, the Clinton Administration has needs. U.S. Army Europe should be
increased the burden on the armed transformed from a single corps of two
services exponentially. heavy divisions and support units into
versatile, combined-arms brigade-sized units
At the same time, the continuing capable of independent action and
deployment of forces in the Balkans reflects movement over operational distances. U.S.
what is in fact a long-term American Air Force units in Europe need to undergo a
commitment to the security of the region. similar reorientation. The current
But by refusing to treat these deployments infrastructure in England and Germany
as an expansion – or shift – of the permanent should be retained. The NATO air base at
American presence in Europe, reflecting an Aviano, Italy, long the primary location for
enduring interest, the Clinton air operations over the Balkans, needs to be
Administration has increased the burden on substantially improved. As with ground
the armed services exponentially. Rather forces, serious consideration should be given
than recognizing the need to reposition and to establishing a permanent and modern
reconfigure U.S. forces in Europe away NATO and U.S. airfield in Hungary for
from the north to the southeast, current support to central and southern Europe. In
policy has been to rotate units in and out of Turkey, Incirlik Air Base, home of
the Balkans, destroying their readiness to Operation Northern Watch, also needs to be
perform other missions and tying up an expanded, improved and perhaps
increasingly large slice of a significantly supplemented with a new base in eastern
reduced force. Turkey.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces pass from the scene. Over the long term,
generally operate on a regular cycle of Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S.
deployments to European waters, they rely interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even
on a network of permanent bases in the should U.S.-Iranian relations improve,
region, especially in the Mediterranean. retaining forward-based forces in the region
These should be retained, and consideration would still be an essential element in U.S.
given to establishing a more robust presence security strategy given the longstanding
in the Black Sea. As NATO expands and American interests in the region.
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 Almost a decade after the end of the
Desert Storm, but rarely falling below Gulf War, no-fly-zone operations
20,000 in the intervening years. In Saudi continue over northern and southern
Arabia, Kuwait and other neighboring states Iraq.
roughly 5,000 airmen and a large and varied
fleet of Air Force aircraft patrol the skies of
In addition to the aircraft enforcing the
Operation Southern Watch, often comple-
no-fly zone, the United States now also
mented by Navy aircraft from carriers in the
retains what amounts to a near-permanent
Gulf and, during the strikes reacting to
land force presence in Kuwait. A substantial
Saddam Hussein’s periodic provocations,
heavy task force with almost the strength of
cruise missiles from Navy surface vessels
a brigade rotates four times a year on
and submarines. Flights from Turkey under
average for maneuvers and joint training
Northern Watch also involve substantial
with the Kuwaiti army, with the result that
forces, and indeed more often result in
commanders now believe that, in
combat actions.
conjunction with the Southern Watch fleet,
Kuwait itself is strongly defended against
After eight years of no-fly-zone
any Iraqi attack. With a minor increase in
operations, there is little reason to anticipate
strength, more permanent basing
that the U.S. air presence in the region
arrangements, and continued no-fly and “no-
should diminish significantly as long as
drive” zone enforcement, the danger of a
Saddam Hussein remains in power.
repeat short-warning Iraqi invasion as in
Although Saudi domestic sensibilities
1990 would be significantly reduced.
demand that the forces based in the
Kingdom nominally remain rotational
With the rationalization of ground-based
forces, it has become apparent that this is
U.S. air forces in the region, the demand for
now a semi-permanent mission. From an
carrier presence in the region can be relaxed.
American perspective, the value of such
As recent strikes against Iraq demonstrate,
bases would endure even should Saddam
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 of American forces in Korea serves a larger
strike aircraft and longer-range Air Force and longer-range strategic purpose. For the
strike aircraft. Carrier aircraft are most present, any reduction in capabilities of the
useful in sustaining a campaign begun with current U.S. garrison on the peninsula would
missiles and stealth strike aircraft, indicating be unwise. If anything, there is a need to
that a surface action group capable of bolster them, especially with respect to their
launching several hundred cruise missiles is ability to defend against missile attacks and
the most valuable naval presence in the to limit the effects of North Korea’s massive
Gulf. With a substantial permanent Army artillery capability. In time, or with
ground presence in Kuwait, the demands for unification, the structure of these units will
Marine presence in the Gulf could be scaled change and their manpower levels fluctuate,
back as well. but U.S. presence in this corner of Asia
should continue.
East Asia
A similar rationale argues in favor of
retaining substantial forces in Japan. In
Current U.S. force planning calls for the
recent years, the stationing of large forces in
stationing of approximately 100,000 U.S.
Okinawa has become increasingly contro-
troops in Asia, but this level reflects
versial in Japanese domestic politics, and
Pentagon inertia and the legacy of the Cold
while efforts to accommodate local sensi-
War more than serious thinking about
bilities are warranted, it is essential to retain
current strategic requirements or defense
the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa
needs. The prospect is that East Asia will
represent. If the United States is to remain
become an increasingly important region,
the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia,
marked by the rise of Chinese power, while
and to hold together a de facto alliance
U.S. forces may decline in number.
whose other main pillars are Korea and
Japan maintaining forward-based U.S.
Conventional wisdom has it that the
forces is essential.
37,000-man U.S. garrison in South Korea is
merely there to protect against the possi-
In Southeast Asia, American forces are
bility of an invasion from the North. This
too sparse to adequately address rising
remains the garrison’s central mission, but
security requirements. Since its withdrawal
these are now the only U.S. forces based
from the Philippines in 1992, the United
permanently on the Asian continent. They
States has not had a significant permanent
will still have a vital role to play in U.S.
military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor
security strategy in the event of Korean
can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily
unification and with the rise of Chinese
operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast
military power. While Korea unification
Asia – and certainly not without placing
might call for the reduction in American
their commitments in Korea at risk. Except
presence on the peninsula and a transfor-
for routine patrols by naval and Marine
mation of U.S force posture in Korea, the
forces, the security of this strategically
changes would really reflect a change in
significant and increasingly tumultuous
their mission – and changing technological
region has suffered from American neglect.
realities – not the termination of their
As the crisis in East Timor demonstrated,
mission. Moreover, in any realistic post-
even the strongest of our allies in the region
unification scenario, U.S. forces are likely to
– from Japan to South Korea to Australia –
have some role in stability operations in
possess limited military capabilities and
North Korea. It is premature to speculate on
little ability to project their forces rapidly in
the precise size and composition of a post-
a crisis or sustain them over time. At the
unification U.S. presence in Korea, but it is
same time, the East Timor crisis and the
not too early to recognize that the presence
larger question of political reform in

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Indonesia and Malaysia highlight the vola- intermittent and U.S. military presence a
tility of the region. Finally, Southeast Asia periodic affair. For this reason, an increased
region has long been an area of great interest naval presence in Southeast Asia, while
to China, which clearly seeks to regain influ- necessary, will not be sufficient; as in the
ence in the region. In recent years, China Balkans, relying solely on allied forces or
has gradually increased its presence and the rotation of U.S. forces in stability
operations in the region. operations not only increases the stress on
those forces but undercuts the political goals
Raising U.S. military strength in East of such missions. For operational as well as
Asia is the key to coping with the rise of political reasons, stationing rapidly mobile
China to great-power status. For this to U.S. ground and air forces in the region will
proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must be required.
retain their military preeminence and there-
by reassure our regional allies. In Northeast Moreover, a return to Southeast Asia
Asia, the United will add impetus to the slow process of
States must In Southeast alliance-building now afoot in the region. It
maintain and is conventional wisdom that the nations of
tighten its ties Asia, American Southeast Asia are resistant to a NATO-like
with the Re- forces are too regional alliance, but the regional response
public of Korea sparse to address to the East Timor crisis – including that of
and Japan. In the new Indonesian government – has been
Southeast Asia,
rising security encouraging. Indeed, forces from the
only the United requirements Philippines have replaced those from
States can reach adequately. Australia as the lead element in the UN
out to regional peacekeeping mission there. And certainly
powers like Australia, Indonesia and efforts through the Asian Regional Forum
Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult suggest a trend to closer regional
task requiring sensitivity to diverse national coordination that might develop into a more
sentiments, but it is made all the more com- permanent, alliance-like arrangement. In
pelling by the emergence of new democratic this process, the United States has the key
governments in the region. By guaranteeing role to play. A heightened U.S. military
the security of our current allies and newly presence in Southeast Asia would be a
democratic nations in East Asia, the United strong spur to regional security cooperation,
States can help ensure that the rise of China providing the core around which a de facto
is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American coalition could jell.
and allied power in the region may provide a
spur to the process of democratization inside Deployment Bases
China itself.
As a supplement to forces stationed
In sum, it is time to increase the pre-
abroad under long-term basing
sence of American forces in Southeast Asia.
arrangements, the United States should seek
Control of key sea lines of communication,
to establish a network of “deployment
ensuring access to rapidly growing eco-
bases” or “forward operating bases” to
nomies, maintaining regional stability while
increase the reach of current and future
fostering closer ties to fledgling democracies
forces. Not only will such an approach
and, perhaps most important, supporting the
improve the ability to project force to
nascent trends toward political liberty are all
outlying regions, it will help circumvent the
enduring security interests for America. No
political, practical and financial constraints
U.S. strategy can constrain a Chinese
on expanding the network of American
challenge to American regional leadership if
bases overseas.
our security guarantees to Southeast Asia are

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

These deployment or forward operating heavy cargo aircraft; have modern refueling
bases can range from relatively modest and emergency services; ramp space to park
agreements with other nations as well as several AWACS-size planes and meet a
modest improvements to existing facilities variety of other requirements, including safe
and bases. Prepositioned materiel also quarters and offices for American personnel.
would speed the initial deployment and Yet the command believes that for a
improve the sustainability of U.S. forces relatively small cost – perhaps $120 million
when deployed for training, joint training for the first two of three planned bases – and
with the host with minimal permanent manning it can
It would be wise to nation, or offset the loss of a strategic asset like
reduce the operations in Howard.
time of crisis.
frequency of Costs for A recent study done for the Air Force
carrier presence in these indicates that a worldwide network of
the Mediterranean improvements forward operating bases – perhaps more
and the Gulf while can be shared sophisticated and suited for combat
with the host operations than the counterdrug locations
increasing U.S. nation and be planned by SOUTHCOM – might cost $5
Navy presence in offset as part billion to $10 billion through 2010. The
the Pacific. of U.S. study speculates that some of the cost might
foreign be paid for by host nations anxious to
security assistance, and would help reduce cement ties with the United States, or, in
the requirement for U.S. forces to deploy to Europe, be considered as common NATO
“bare bones” facilities. Such installations assets and charged to the NATO common
would be a “force multiplier” in power fund.
projection operations, as well as help
solidify political and security ties with host While it should be a clear U.S. policy
nations. that such bases are intended as a supplement
to the current overseas base structure, they
Currently, U.S. Southern Command, the could also be seen as a precursor to an
Pentagon’s regional command for Latin expanded structure. This might be attractive
America, is moving to implement a plan for to skittish allies – as in the Persian Gulf
“forward operating locations” to make up region, where a similar system is in
for the loss of Howard Air Force Base in the operation – for whom close ties with
wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Panama America provokes domestic political
and the return of the Canal Zone. Indeed, controversy. It would also increase the
sustaining effective counterdrug air effectiveness of current U.S. forces in a
operations will be difficult after the loss of huge region like Southeast Asia,
Howard until arrangements for the new supplementing naval operations in the
locations are in place. To achieve full region. Such a network also would greatly
coverage of the region for counterdrug increase U.S. operational flexibility in times
operations, the command plans to utilize of conflict.
airfields ranging from Puerto Rico to
Ecuador. Rotational Naval Forces
In addition to securing agreements that
The size of today’s Navy and Marine
permit adequate access for U.S. forces to
Corps is driven primarily by the demands of
airfields, the new locations must be capable
current rotation policy; the requirement for
of 24-hour, all-weather operations; have
11-carrier Navy is a reflection of the
adequate air traffic control; have runways of
perceived need to keep, on average, about
at least 8000 feet that are capable of bearing

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

three carriers deployed at any one time. But presence missions than with carrier battle
because the carrier based in Japan is consi- groups. As cruise missiles increasingly
dered “deployed” even when in port and not become the Navy’s first-strike weapon of
at sea, the real ratio of total ships to ships at choice, the value of cruise missile platforms
sea is closer to five- or six-to-one. Indeed, as a symbol of American might around the
according to the Quadrennial Defense world are coming to surpass the deterrent
Review analysis, the requirements for Navy value of the carrier. Unfortunately, during
forces under “presence” missions exceeds the course of the post-Cold-War drawdown,
the two-war requirement for Navy forces by the Navy has divested itself of relatively
about 20 percent. more surface combatants and submarines
than aircraft carriers. Though this makes
Current rotation plans call for a contin- sense in terms of carrier operations – Aegis-
uous battle group presence in Northeast Asia equipped cruisers and destroyers have far
and close to continuous presence in the greater capabilities and range than previous
Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. generations of ships, for example – this now
However, significant changes in Navy limits the Navy’s ability to transition to new
carrier presence and rotation patterns are ways of conducting both its presence and
called for. Given the ability to station land- potential wartime missions.
based forces in Europe and the Gulf, and the
size and nature of the East Asia theater, it Moreover, as the Navy introduces new
would be wise to reduce the frequency of classes of ships, its manpower requirements
carrier presence in the Mediterranean and – one of the important factors in determining
the Gulf while increasing U.S. Navy the length of deployments and thus overall
presence in the Pacific. Further, it is Navy rotational policy – will be reduced.
preferable, for strategic and operational The planned DD-21 destroyer will cut crew
reasons, to create a second major home port size from 300 to 100. Reduced crew size, as
for a carrier battle group in the southern well as improved overall ship performance,
Pacific, perhaps in Australia or the will increase the opportunities to rotate
Philippines. Generally speaking, the crews while keeping ships deployed; the
emphasis of Navy operations, and carrier complexity of crew operations involving
operations in particular, should be increas- 100 sailors and officers is far less than, for
ingly weighted toward the western Pacific. example, the 6,000-man crew of a carrier
Marine deployments would follow suit. plus its air wing. In sum, new capabilities
will open up new ways of conducting
Secondarily, the Navy should begin to missions that will allow for increased naval
consider other ways of meeting its vital presence at a lower cost.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


Executing the variety of missions percent and its European garrison by three
outlined above depends upon the capabilities quarters. At the end of the Cold War, the
of the U.S. armed services. For the past Army budget was 50 percent higher than it
decade, the health of the armed services has is this year; its procurement spending almost
steadily declined. Not merely have their 70 percent higher.
budgets been dramatically reduced, their
force structures cut and their personnel At the same time, the Army’s role in
strength sapped, modernization programs post-Cold-War military operations remains
starved and efforts at transformation the measure of American geopolitical
strangled, but the quality of military life, commitment. In the 1991 Gulf War, the
essential for preserving a volunteer force, limits of Bush Administration policy were
has been degraded. From barracks to revealed by the
headquarters to maintenance bay, the reluctance to Elements of
services’ infrastructure has suffered from engage in land U.S. Army
neglect. The quality of military housing, combat and the Europe should
especially abroad, ill becomes a great nation. limit on ground
The other sinews of a strong service, parti- operations be redeployed to
cularly including the military education and within the Southeast
training systems, have been dispropor- Kuwait theater. Europe, while a
tionately and shortsightedly reduced. In the Balkans, permanent unit
Shortages of manpower result in soldiers, relatively short
sailors, airmen and Marines spending air campaigns should be based
increased amounts of time on base main- have been in the Persian
tenance – mowing grass, repairing roofs, followed by Gulf region.
“painting rocks.” Most disappointing of all, extended ground
military culture and the confidence of operations; even the 78 days of Operation
service members in their senior leaders is Allied Force pale in comparison to the long-
suffering. As several recent studies and term effort to stabilize Kosovo. In short, the
surveys have demonstrated, civil-military value of land power continues to appeal to a
relations in contemporary America are global superpower, whose security interests
increasingly tense. rest upon maintaining and expanding a
world-wide system of alliances as well as on
Army: To ‘Complete’ Europe the ability to win wars. While maintaining
its combat role, the U.S. Army has acquired
And Defend the Persian Gulf new missions in the past decade – most
immediately, missions associated with
Of all the armed services, the Army has completing the task of creating a Europe
been most profoundly changed by the end of “whole and free” and defending American
the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle
empire in Eastern Europe. The Army’s East.
active-duty strength has been reduced by 40

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

These new missions will require the increase the effectiveness of current
continued stationing of U.S. Army units combat systems through “digiti-
abroad. Although these units should be zation” – the process of creating
reconfigured and repositioned to reflect tactical information networks. The
current realities, their value as a Army should accelerate its plans to
representation of America’s role as the purchase medium-weight vehicles,
prime guarantor of security is as great as acquire the Comanche helicopter and
their immediate war-fighting capabilities. the HIMARS rocket-artillery system;
Indeed, the greatest problem confronting the likewise, the heavy Crusader artillery
Army today is providing sufficient forces for system, though a highly capable
both these vital missions; the Army is howitzer, is an unwise investment
simply too small to do both well. given the Army’s current capabilities
and future needs, and should be
These broad missions will continue to canceled.
justify the requirement for a large active
U.S. Army. The Army’s increasing use of • Improve the combat readiness of
reserve component forces for these current units by increasing personnel
constabulary missions breaks the implied strength and revitalizing combat
compact with reservists that their role is to training.
serve as a hedge against a genuine military
emergency. As long as the U.S. garrisons in • Make efforts to improve the quality of
the Balkans, for example, require large soldier life to sustain the current
numbers of linguists, military police, civil “middle class,” professional Army.
affairs and other specialists, the active-duty
Army must boost its ranks of soldiers with • Be repositioned and reconfigured in
these skills. Likewise, as high-intensity light of current strategic realities:
combat changes, the Army must find new elements of U.S. Army Europe should
ways to recruit and retain soldiers with high- be redeployed to Southeast Europe,
technology skills, perhaps creating while a permanent unit should be
partnerships with industry for extremely based in the Persian Gulf region;
skilled reservists, or considering some skills simultaneously, forward-deployed
as justifying a warrant-officer, rather than an Army units should be reconfigured to
enlisted, rank structure. In particular, the be better capable of independent
Army should: operations that include ongoing
constabulary missions as well as the
• Be restored in active-duty strength initial phases of combat.
and structure to meet the require-
ments of its current missions. Overall • Reduce the strength of the Army
active strength should rise to approxi- National Guard and Army Reserve,
mately 525,000 soldiers from the yet recognize that these components
current strength of 475,000. Much of are meant to provide a hedge against
this increase should bolster the over- a genuine, large-scale, unanticipated
deployed and under-manned units military emergency; the continuing
that provide combat support and reliance on large numbers of
combat service support, such as reservists for constabulary missions is
military intelligence, military police, inappropriate and short-sighted.
and other similar units.
• Have its budget increased from the
• Undertake selective modernization current level of $70 billion annually to
efforts, primarily to increase its $90 to $95 billion per year.
tactical and operational mobility and

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

The Current State of the Army manning in critical combat and maintenance
specialties. Army leaders frankly admit that
Measuring by its ability to perform any they have too few soldiers to man their
of the missions outlined above – overseas current force structure, and shortages of
presence, fighting major theater wars, NCOs and officers are increasingly com-
transforming for the future – the Army today mon. For example, in Fiscal Year 1997, the
is ill prepared. The most immediate Army had only 67 percent to 88 percent of
problem is the decline in current readiness. its needs in the four maintenance specialties
Until the spring of 1998, the Army had for its tanks and mechanized infantry
managed to contain the worst effects of vehicles. In the officer ranks, there are
frequent deployments, keeping its so-called significant shortfalls in the captain and
“first-to-fight” units ready to react to a crisis major grades. The result of these shortages
that threatened to become a major theater in the field is that junior officers and NCOs
war. But now, as recently retired Army are being asked to assume the duties of the
Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer next higher grade; the “ultimate effect,”
explained to Congress: reported Gen. Reimer, “is a reduction in
experience, particularly at the…‘tip of the
[C]ommanders Army-wide report that spear.’”
they are reducing the frequency, scope,
and duration of their exercises…. The Army’s ability to meet its major-
Additionally, commanders war requirements, particularly on the
are not always able to timetables demanded by the war plans of the
make training as realistic theater commanders-in-chief, is uncertain at
and demanding as they best. Although on paper the Army can meet
would like. In some cases,
these requirements, the true state of affairs is
commands are not able to
afford the optimum mix of more complex. The major-theater-war
simulations to live-fire review conducted for the QDR assumed that
Reimer training events, resulting each unit would arrive on the battlefield
in less-experienced staffs. fully trained and ready, but manpower and
Several commands report that they are training shortages across the Army make
unable to afford the participation of their that a doubtful proposition, at least without
aviation units in Combat Training Center delays in deployment. Even could the
rotations. Overall, affordable training immediate manpower shortages be reme-
compromises are lowering the training died, any attempt to improve training – as
proficiency bar and resulting in
was done even in the run-up to Operation
inexperience….Already, readiness at the
battalion level is starting to decline – a
Desert Storm – would prove to be a signi-
fact that is not going unnoticed at our ficant bottleneck. The Army’s maneuver
Combat Training Centers. training centers are not able to increase
capacity sufficiently or rapidly enough.
In recent years, both the quality and Under the current two-war metric, high-
quantity of such training has diminished. intensity combat is envisioned as a “come-
Typically, in prior years, a rotational unit as-you-are” affair, and the Army today is
might have eight battalion-level field significantly less well prepared for such
training “battles” prior to its Fort Irwin wars than it was in 1990.
rotation, and another eight while at the
training center. Today, heavy forces almost Army Forces Based
never conduct full battalion field exercises, In the United States
and now are lucky to get more than six at the
National Training Center. The primary missions of Army units
Like the other services, the Army based in the United States are to rapidly
continues to be plagued by low levels of

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

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 The Army needs to restore units
remain the principal factor in determining based in the United States – those
Army force structure for U.S.-based units. needed in the event of a major
However one judges the likelihood of such theater war – to high states of
wars occurring, it is essential to retain readiness.
sufficient capabilities to bring them to a
satisfactory conclusion, including the more deployable, and the Army must
possibility of a decisive victory that results continue to introduce similar modifications.
in long-term political or regime change. The Moreover, Army training should continue its
current stateside active Army force structure emphasis on combined-arms, task-force
– 23 maneuver brigades – is barely adequate combat operations. In the continental
to meet the potential demands. Not only are United States, Army force structure should
these units few in number, but their combat consist of three fully-manned, three-brigade
readiness has been allowed to slip danger- heavy divisions; two light divisions; and two
ously over recent years. Manning levels airborne divisions. In addition, the stateside
have dropped and training opportunities Army should retain four armored cavalry
have been diminished and degraded. These regiments in its active structure, plus several
units need to be returned to high states of experimental units devoted to transformation
readiness and, most importantly, must regain activities. This would total approximately
their focus on their combat missions. 27 ground maneuver brigade-equivalents.

Because the divisional structure still Yet such a force, though capable of
remains an economical and effective delivering and sustaining significant combat
organization in large-scale operations as power for initial missions, will remain
well as an efficient administrative structure, inadequate to the full range of strategic tasks
the division should remain the basic unit for facing the Army. Thus, the service must
most stateside Army forces, even while the increasingly rely on Guard units to execute a
service creates new, smaller independent portion of its potential warfighting missions,
organizations for operations abroad. The not seek to foist overseas presence missions
Army is currently undergoing a redesign of off on what should remain part-time
the basic divisional structure, reducing the soldiers. To allow the Army National Guard
size of the basic maneuver battalion in to play its essential role in fighting large-
response to the improvements that advanced scale wars, the Army must take a number of
technologies and the untapped capabilities steps to ensure the readiness of Guard units.
of current systems permit. This is a modest The first is to better link the Guard to the
but important step that will make these units active-duty force, providing adequate

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

resources to increase the combat effective- its traditional role would allow for a further
ness of large Guard units, perhaps to include modest strength reduction in the Army
the partial manning of the first-to-deploy National Guard. Such a move would also
Guard brigades with an active command lessen the strain of repeated deployments in
cadre. Secondly, the Guard’s overall contingency operations, which is
structure must be adjusted and the overall jeopardizing the model of the part-time
number of Army National Guard units – and soldier upon which Guard is premised.
especially Guard infantry divisions – Similarly, the Army Reserve should retain
reduced. This would not only eliminate its traditional role
unnecessary formations but would permit Returning the as a federal force,
improved manning of the first-to-fight National Guard a supplement to
Guard units, which need to be manned at the active force,
levels significantly above 100 percent to its traditional but demands for
personnel strength to allow for timely role would individual
deployment during crises and war. allow for a augmentees for
reduction in contingency
In addition, the Army needs to operations
rationalize the missions of the Army strength while reduced through
Reserve. Without the efforts of Reservists lessening the improvements to
over the past decade, the Army’s ability to strain of active Army
conduct the large number of contingency operations and
operations it has faced would be severely
repeated deployments,
compromised. Yet the effort to rationalize contingency organizations, and
deployments, as discussed in the previous operation even added
section, would also result in a reduction of deployments. personnel
demand for Army Reservists, particularly strength. In the
those with highly specialized skills. Once event that
the missions in the Balkans, for example, are American forces become embroiled in two
admitted to be long-term deployments, the large-scale wars at once, or nearly at once,
role of Army Reserve forces should be Army reserve components may provide the
diminished and the active Army should edge for decisive operations. Such a
assume all but a very small share of the capability is a cornerstone of U.S. military
mission. strategy, not to be frittered away in ongoing
contingency operations.
In sum, the missions of the Army’s two
reserve components must be adjusted to A second mission for Army units based
post-Cold-War realities as must the missions in the United States is to respond to
of the active component. The importance of unanticipated contingencies. With more
these citizen-soldiers in linking an increas- forward-based units deployed along an
ingly professional force to the mainstream of expanded American security perimeter
American society has never been greater, around the globe, these unforeseen crises
and the failure to make the necessary adjust- should be less debilitating. Units like the
ments to their mission has jeopardized those 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions and the
links. The Army National Guard should Army’s two light infantry divisions, as well
retain its traditional role as a hedge against as the small elements of the 3rd Mechanized
the need for a larger-than-anticipated force Infantry Division, that are kept on high alert,
in combat; indeed, it may play a larger role will continue to provide these needed
in U.S. war-planning than heretofore. It capabilities. So will Army special
should not be used primarily to provide operations units such as the 75th Ranger
combat service support to active Army units Regiment. Moreover, the creation of
engaged in current operations. A return to 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 whelming superiority in direct-fire

future contingency needs. As the engagements, typified by the performance of
transformation process matures, a wider the Bradley fighting vehicle and M1 Abrams
variety of Army units will be suitable for tank in the Gulf War (and indeed, in the
unanticipated contingency operations. performance of the Marines’ Light Armored
Vehicle), as well as the improved accuracy
Forward-based Forces and lethality of artillery fires, plus the
capabilities of U.S. strike aircraft, will
provide such units with a very substantial
American military presence abroad
combat capability.
draws heavily on ground forces and the
Army, which is the service best suited to
These forward-based, independent units
these long-term missions. In the post-Cold-
will be increasingly built around the
War environment, these forward-based
acquisition and management of information.
forces are, in essence, conducting
This will be essential for combat operations
reconnaissance and security missions. The
– precise, long-range fires require accurate
units involved are required to maintain
and timely intelligence and robust
peace and stability in the regions they patrol,
communications links – but also for stability
provide early warning of imminent crises,
operations. Units stationed in the Balkans,
and to shape the early stages of any conflict
or Turkey, or in Southeast Asia, will require
that might occur while additional forces are
the ability to understand and operate in
deployed from the United States or
unique political-military environments, and
elsewhere. By virtue of this mission, these
the seemingly tactical decisions made by
units should be self-contained, combined-
soldiers on the ground may have strategic
arms units with a wide variety of
consequences. While some of these needs
capabilities, able to operate over long
can be fulfilled by civilians, both Americans
distances, with sophisticated means of
and local nationals, units stationed on the
communication and access to high levels of
American security frontier must have the
U.S. intelligence. Currently, most forward-
capabilities, cohesion and personnel
based Army units do not meet this
continuity their mission demands. Chief
among them is an awareness of the security
and political environment in which they are
Such requirements suggest that such
operating. Especially those forces stationed
units should be approximately brigade or
in volatile regions must have their own
regimental-sized formations, perhaps 5,000
human intelligence collection capacity,
strong. They will need sufficient personnel
perhaps through an attached special forces
strength to be able to conduct sustained
unit if not solely through an organic
traditional infantry missions, but with the
intelligence unit.
mobility to operate over extended areas.
They must have enough direct firepower to
The technologies required to field such
dominate their immediate tactical situation,
forces already exist and many are already in
and suitable fire support to prevent such
production or in the Army inventory. New
relatively small and independent units from
force designs and the application of
being overrun. However, the need for fire
information technologies can give new
support need not entail large amounts of
utility to existing weaponry. However, the
integral artillery or other forms of sup-
problem of mobility and weight becomes an
porting firepower. While some artillery
even more pressing problem should ground
will prove necessary, a substantial part of
forces be positioned in Southeast Asia.
the fire support should come from Army
Even forward-based forces would need to be
attack aviation and deeper fixed-wing
rapidly deployed over very long distances in
interdiction. The combination of over-
times of crisis, both through fast sealift and

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

airlift; in short, every pound and every cubic take its lessons to heart, breaking down
foot must count. In designing such forces, bureaucratic resistance to change.
the Army should consider more innovative
approaches. One short-term approach could In addition to these newer force designs
be to build such a unit around the V-22 for Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere in East
Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft now being built for Asia, the Army should retain a force
the Marine Corps and for special operations approximating that currently based in Korea.
forces. A second interim approach would be In addition to headquarters units there, the
to expand the capabilities of current air- U.S. ground force presence is built around
mobile infantry, by adding refueling probes the two brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division.
to existing helicopters, as on special This unit is already a hybrid, neither a
operations aircraft. Another approach could textbook heavy division nor a light division.
involve the construction of truly fast sealift While retaining the divisional structure to
vessels. allow for the smooth introduction of follow-
on forces in times
In sum, it should be clear that these American of crisis, the Army
independent, forward-based Army units can landpower is also should begin
become “change-agents” within the service, the essential to redesign this unit
opening opportunities for transformational to allow for longer-
concepts, even as they perform vital stability link in the range operations.
operations in their regions. In addition, such chain that Because of the
units would need to train for combat translates U.S. massive amount of
operations on a regular basis, and will military North Korean
require new training centers as well as new artillery, counter-
garrisons in more relevant strategic supremacy into battery artillery
locations. They will operate in a more American fires will play an
dispersed manner reflecting new concepts of geopolitical important role in
combat operations as well as the demands of any war on the
current stability operations. In urban areas
preeminence. peninsula,
or in the jungles of Southeast Asia, they will suggesting that improving the rocket
operate in complex terrain that may more artillery capabilities of the U.S. division is a
accurately predict future warfare. Certainly, modest but wise investment. Likewise,
new medium-weight or air-mobile units will increasing the aviation and attack helicopter
provide a strong incentive to begin to assets of U.S. ground forces in Korea would
transform the Army more fundamentally for give commanders options they do not now
the future. Not only would increased have. The main heavy forces of the South
mobility and information capabilities allow Korean army are well trained and equipped,
for new ways of conducting operations, the but optimized for defending Seoul and the
lack of heavy armor would mandate new Republic of Korea as far north as possible.
tactics, doctrines and organizations. Even In time, the 2nd Infantry Division’s two
among those units equipped with the current brigades might closely resemble the kind of
Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle, independent, combined-arms forces needed
the requirement for independent operations, elsewhere.
closer ties to other services’ forces and
introduction of new intelligence and Army Modernization and Budgets
communications capabilities would result in
innovation. Most profoundly, such new
Since the end of the Cold War, the
units and concepts would give the process of
Army has suffered dramatic budget
transformation a purpose within the Army;
cutbacks, particularly in weapons procure-
soldiers would be a part of the process and
ment and research, that have resulted in the

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

degradation of current readiness described But, as the discussion of Army

above and have restricted the service’s requirements above indicates, Army
ability to modernize and innovate for the investments must be redirected as well as
future. The Army’s current attempts at increased. For example, the Crusader
transformation have been hobbled by the artillery program, while perhaps the most
need to find “bill-payers” within the Army advanced self-propelled howitzer ever
budget. produced, is difficult to justify under
conditions of revolutionary change. The
In Fiscal Year 1992, the first post-Cold- costs of the howitzer, not merely in
War and post-Gulf War Army budget was budgetary terms but in terms of the
$91 billion measured in constant 2000 opportunity cost of a continuing
dollars. This year, the Congress has commitment to an increasingly outmoded
approved $69.5 billion for Army operations paradigm of warfare, far outweigh the
– including several billion to pay for benefits; the Crusader should be terminated.
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 procure-
ment 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 In addition to terminating the
purchases averaged about $23 billion per Crusader artillery program, the Army’s
year during the early and mid-1980s, when
annual budget must increase to the
the current generation of major combat
systems – the M1 tank, Bradley fighting
$90 to $95 billion level to finance
vehicle, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters current missions and the Army’s long-
and Patriot missile system – entered term transformation.
However, addressing the Army’s many
To field an Army capable of meeting the challenges will require significantly
new missions and challenges discussed increased funding. Though the active-duty
above, service budgets must return to the force is 40 percent smaller than its total at
level of approximately $90 to $95 billion in the end of the Cold War, several generations
constant 2000 dollars. Some of this increase of Army leadership have chosen to retain
would help the Army fill out both its under- troop strength, paid for by cuts in
manned units and refurbish the institutional procurement and research. This cannot
Army, as well as increasing the readiness of continue. While the Army may be too small
Army National Guard units. New acqui- for the variety of missions discussed above,
sition programs would include light armored its larger need is for reinvestment,
vehicles, “digitized” command and control recapitalization and, especially,
networks and other situational awareness transformation. Taken together, these needs
systems, the Comanche helicopter, and far exceed the savings to be garnered by any
unmanned aerial vehicles. Renewed invest- possible internal reforms or efficiencies.
ments in Army infrastructure would improve Terminating marginal programs like the
the quality of soldier life. The process of Crusader howitzer, trimming administrative
transformation would be reinvigorated. overhead, base closings and the like will not

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

free up resources enough to finance the accuracy and virtual impunity. American air
radical overhaul the Army needs. power has become a metaphor for as well as
the literal manifestation of American
American landpower remains the military preeminence.
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 Specialized Air Force aircraft, like the
on the not-too-distant horizon – the need for JSTARS above, are too few in number
ground maneuvers to achieve decisive to meet current mission demands.
political results endures. Regimes are
difficult to change based upon punishment Simultaneously, the Air Force has been
alone. If land forces are to survive and reduced by a third or more, and its
retain their unique strategic purpose in a operations have been increasingly diffused.
world where it is increasingly easy to deliver In addition, the Air Force has taken on so
firepower precisely at long ranges, they many new missions that its fundamental
must change as well, becoming more structure has been changed. During the
stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to Cold War, the Air Force was geared to fight
operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S. a large-scale air battle to clear the skies of
Army, and American land forces more Soviet aircraft; today’s Air Force is
generally, must increasingly complement the increasingly shaped to continue monotonous
strike capabilities of the other services. no-fly-zone operations, conduct periodic
Conversely, an American military force that punitive strikes, or to execute measured,
lacks the ability to employ ground forces low-risk, no-fault air campaigns like Allied
that can survive and maneuver rapidly on Force. The service’s new “Air
future battlefields will deprive U.S. political Expeditionary Force” concept turns the
leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy. classic, big-war “air campaign” model
largely on its head.
Air Force: Toward a Global
Like the Army, the Air Force continues
First-Strike Force to operate Cold-War era systems in this new
strategic and operational environment. The
The past decade has been the best of Air Force’s frontline fighter aircraft, the F-
times and worst of times for the U.S. Air 15 and F-16, were built to out-perform more
Force. From the Gulf War to Operation numerous Soviet fighters; U.S. support
Allied Force over Kosovo, the increasing aircraft, from AWACS and JSTARS
sophistication of American air power – with command-and-control planes to electronic
its stealth aircraft; precision-guided jamming aircraft to tankers, were meant to
munitions; all-weather and all-hours work in tandem with large numbers of
capabilities; and the professionalism of American fighters. The U.S. bomber fleet’s
pilots, planners and support crews – has primary mission was nuclear deterrence.

allowed the Air Force to boast legitimately The Air Force also has begun to
of its “global reach, global power.” On purchase new generations of manned
short notice, Air Force aircraft can attack combat aircraft that were designed during
virtually any target on earth with great 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 • Realign the remaining Air Force units
requirements established long ago. in Europe, Asia and the United States
Conversely, the decision to terminate the B- to optimize their capabilities to
2 bomber program was taken before its conduct multiple large-scale air
effectiveness as a long-range, precision, campaigns.
conventional-strike platform was
established; in the wake of Operation Allied • Make selected investments in current
Force, regional commanders-in-chief have generations of combat and support
begun to reevaluate how such a capability aircraft to sustain the F-15 and F-16
might serve their uses. Further, the Air fleets for longer service life, purchase
Force should reevaluate the need for greater additional sets of avionics for special-
numbers of long-range systems. In some mission fighters, increase planned
regions, the ability to operate from tactical fleets of AWACS, JSTARS and other
airfields is increasingly problematic and in electronic support planes, and expand
others – notably East Asia – the theater is stocks of precision-guided munitions.
simply so vast that even “tactical,” in-theater
operations will require long-range • Develop plans to increase electronic
capabilities. warfare support fleets, such as by
creating “Wild Weasel” and jammer
In sum, the Air Force has begun to adapt aircraft based upon the F-15E
itself to the new requirements of the time, airframe.
yet is far from completing the needed
changes to its posture, structure, or • Restore the condition of the
programs. Moreover, the Air Force is too institutional Air Force, expanding its
small – especially its fleet of support aircraft personnel strength, rebuilding its
– and poorly positioned to conduct sustained corps of pilots and experienced
operations for maintaining American maintenance NCOs, expanding
military preeminence. Air Force procure- support specialties such as intelligence
ment funds have been reduced, and service and special police and reinvigorating
leaders have cut back on purchases of spare its training establishment.
parts, support aircraft, and even replace-
ments for current fighters in an attempt to • Overall Air Force active personnel
keep the F-22 program on track. Although strength should be gradually
air power remains the most flexible and increased by approximately 30,000 to
responsive element of U.S. military power, 40,000, and the service should rebuild
the Air Force needs to be restructured, a structure of 18 to 19 active and 8
repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to reserve wing equivalents.
assure continued “global reach, global
power.” In particular, the Air Force should:
The State of the Air Force
• Be redeployed to reflect the shifts in
international politics. Independent, Also like the Army, in recent years the
expeditionary air wings containing a Air Force has undertaken missions
broad mix of aircraft, including fundamentally different than those assigned
electronic warfare, airborne during the Cold War. The years since the
command and control, and other fall of the Berlin Wall have been anything
support aircraft, should be based in but predictable. In 1997, the Air Force had
Italy, Southeastern Europe, central four times more forces deployed than in
and perhaps eastern Turkey, the 1989, the last year of the Cold War, but one
Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia. 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 Defense has come to recognize the heavy
build a warfighting force can become burden placed upon the Air Force’s
liabilities. As Thomas Moorman, vice chief AWACS and other specialized aircraft, the
of staff of the Air Force from 1994 through study found that “specialized aircraft are
1997, has stated: experiencing a rate of utilization well
beyond the level that the current force
None of us believed, at the end of the structure would seem able to support on a
Cold War, that we would be doing long-term basis.” The study also revealed
Northern Watch and Southern Watch in that the current fighter force is stretched to
1998. Bosnia still exists – everyone [in its limit as well. Under current assumptions,
the Air Force has] been there since the current fighter structure “has the
1995….Couple that with the fact that
capacity to meet the [peacekeeping]
we've seen surges, particularly in Iraq.
Saddam Hussein has been very effective demand, but with a meager reserve – only
in pulling our chain, and we've had about a third of a squadron (8 aircraft)
three major deployments, the last of beyond the demand.” An additional no-fly-
which was very significant; it was 4,000 zone mission, such as is now being
people and 100 aircraft. And we stayed conducted over the Balkans, for example,
over there a lot longer than we thought “would be difficult to meet on a sustained
we would. basis.” According to Ryan, the
accumulation of these constabulary missions
As a result, Air Force “readiness is has had a dramatic effect on the Air Force.
slipping – it’s not just anecdotal; it’s He recently summarized the situation for
factual,” says Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air Congress:
Force Chief of Staff. Since 1996, according
to Ryan, the Air Force has experienced “an Our men and women
overall 14 percent degradation in the opera- are separated from
tional readiness of our major operational their home bases
units.” And although Air Force leaders and families for
claim that the service holds all its units at unpredictable and
the same levels of readiness – that it does extended periods
every year — with a
not, as the Navy does, practice “tiered”
significant negative
readiness where first-to-fight units get more impact on retention.
resources – the level of readiness in stateside Our home-station
units has slipped below those deployed manning has become
overseas. For example, Air Combat inadequate — and workload has
Command, the main tactical fighter increased — because forces are
command based in the United States, has frequently deployed even though home-
suffered a 50 percent drop in readiness rates, station operations must continue at
compared to the service-wide drop in near-normal pace. Our units deploying
operational readiness of 14 percent. forward must carry much more
infrastructure to expeditionary bases.
Force protection and critical mission
These readiness problems are the result security for forward-deployed forces is
of a pace of operations that is slowly but a major consideration. The demands on
surely consuming the Air Force. A 1998 our smaller units, such as [intelligence,
study by RAND, “Air Force Operations surveillance and reconnaissance] and
Overseas in Peacetime: OPTEMPO and combat search and rescue units, have
Force Structure Implications,” concluded dramatically increased — they are
that today’s Air Force is barely large enough properly sized for two major theater
to sustain current no-fly-zone and similar wars, but some are inadequately sized
constabulary contingencies, let alone handle for multiple, extended contingency
operations. Due to the unpredictable
a major war. While the Department of

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

nature of contingencies, training the century, the average Air Force aircraft
requirements have been expanded, and will be 20 years old and by 2015, even
training cannot always be fully allowing for the introduction of the F-22 and
accomplished while deployed Joint Strike Fighter and continuing
supporting contingencies. Because
purchases of current aircraft such as the C-
contingencies are unpredictable, it is
much more difficult to use Reserve 17, the average age of the fleet will be 30
Component forces, many of whom need years old. The increased expense of
time to coordinate absences with operating older aircraft is well illustrated by
civilian employers before they are free the difference in airframe depot maintenance
to take up their Air Force jobs. cost between the oldest F-15A and B models
– at approximately 21 years old, such repairs
These cumulative stresses have created a average about $1.9 million per aircraft –
panoply of problems for the Air Force: versus the newest
recruiting and retention of key personnel, Air Combat F-15E model – at
especially pilots, is an unprecedented worry; Command, the 8 years in average
the service’s fleet of aircraft, especially age, the same
support aircraft, is aging significantly; spare
main tactical kinds of repairs
parts shortages, along with shortages of fighter cost about $1.3
electronic subsystems and advanced command based million per plane,
munitions, restricts both operational and in the United a 37 percent cost
training missions; and the quality and difference. But
quantity of air combat training has declined. States, has perhaps the
suffered a 50 costliest measure
Even as routine, home-station combat percent drop in of an aging fleet
training has suffered in recent years, so have readiness rates. is that fewer
airplanes are
the Air Force’s major air combat exercises.
Lack of funds for training, reports Ryan, ready for combat.
means that “aircrews will no longer be able Overall Air Force “non-mission capable
to meet many training requirements and rates,” or grounded aircraft, have increased
threat training will be reduced to unrealistic from 17 percent in 1991 to 25 percent today.
level. Aircrews will develop a false sense of These rates continue to climb despite the
security while training against unrealistic fact that Air Force maintenance personnel
threats.” Similarly, the Air Force’s program are working harder and longer to put planes
to provide advanced “aggressor” training to up. The process of parts cannibalization –
its pilots is a shadow of its former self: transferring a part from one plane being
during the 1980s there was one aggressor repaired to keep another flying – has
aircraft for every 35 Air Force fighters; increased by 58 percent from 1995 to 1998.
today, the ratio is one for every 240 fighters.
The frequency with which Air Force Some of the Air Force’s readiness
aircrews participate in “Red Flag” exercises problems stem from the overall reduction in
has declined from once every 12 months to its procurement budget, combined with the
once every 18 months. service’s determination to keep the F-22
program on track – as much as possible.
The Air Force’s problems are further The expense of the “Raptor” has forced the
compounded by the procurement holiday of Air Force to make repeated cuts in other
the 1990s. The dramatic aging of the Air programs, not only in other aircraft
Force fleet and the resulting increase in cost programs, but in spare parts and even in
and maintenance workload caused by air- personnel programs; even the Air Force’s
craft fatigue, corrosion and parts obsoles- pilot shortage stems in part from decisions
cence is the second driving factor in de- taken to free up funds for the F-22. These
creasing service readiness. By the turn of 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 In Europe, current forces should be
operations over the past 10 years. Support increased with additional support aircraft,
aircraft such as the AWACS and JSTARS, ranging from an increased C-17 and tanker
electronic combat and tanker aircraft were fleet to AWACS, JSTARS and other
all intended to operate in concert with large electronic support planes. Existing forces,
numbers of tactical aircraft in large-scale still organized in traditional wings, should
operations. But in fact, they are more often be supplemented by a composite wing
called upon now to operate with just a permanently stationed at Incirlik Air Force
handful of fighter or strike aircraft in no-fly Base in Turkey and that base should be
zone operations or other contin-gencies. As improved significantly. The air wing at
a result, these types of aircraft routinely are Aviano, Italy might be given a greater
rated as “low-density, high-demand” capability as that facility expands, as well.
systems in the Pentagon’s joint-service Additionally, the Air Force should establish
readiness assessments; in other words, there the requirements for similar small composite
are too few of them to meet mission require- wings in Southeastern Europe. Over time,
ments. The Air Force’s modernization U.S. Air Forces in Europe would increase by
program has yet to fully reflect this pheno- one to two-and-one-half wing equivalents.
menon. For example, the formal JSTARS Further, improvements should be made to
“requirement” was reduced from 19 to 13 existing air bases in new and potential
aircraft; only lately has an increased re- NATO countries to allow for rapid
quirement been recognized. Likewise, the deployments, contingency exercises, and
original C-17 procurement was cut from 210 extended initial operations in times of crisis.
to 120 aircraft. In fact, to meet emerging These preparations should include
requirements, it is likely that 210 C-17s may modernized air traffic control, fuel, and
be too few. Overall, the Air Force’s weapons storage facilities, and perhaps
modernization programs need a thorough- small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as
going reassessment in light of new missions well as sufficient ramp space to accom-
and their requirements. modate surges in operations. Improvements
also should be made to existing facilities in
Forward-Based Forces England to allow forward operation of B-2
bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie
rates if needed.
The pattern of Air Force bases also
needs to be reconsidered. Currently, the Air
In the Persian Gulf region, the
Force maintains forward-based forces of
provisional 4044th Wing should continue to
two-and-one-half wing equivalents in
operate much as it has for the better part of
Western Europe; one wing in the Pacific, in
the last decade. However, the Air Force
Japan; a semi-permanent, composite wing of
should take several steps to improve its
about 100 aircraft scattered throughout the
operations while deferring to local political
Gulf region; and a partial wing in central
sensibilities. To relieve the stress of
Turkey at Incirlik Air Force Base. Even
constant rotations, the Air Force might
allowing for the inherent flexibility and
consider using more U.S. civilian contract
range of aircraft, these current forces need to
workers in support roles – perhaps even to
be supplemented by additional forward-
do aircraft maintenance or to provide
based forces, additional permanent bases,
additional security. While this might
and a network of contingency bases that
increase the cost of these operations, it
would permit the Air Force to extend the
might also be an incentive to get the Saudis,
effectiveness of current and future aircraft
Kuwaitis and other Gulf states to assume a
fleets as the American security perimeter
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

facilities at Al Kharj in Saudi Arabia, invest in upgrades to regional airfields to

especially those that would improve the permit surge deployments and, incidentally,
quality of life for airmen and allow help build ties with regional air forces.
increased combat training, warrant
additional American as well as Saudi Air Force Units Based
investments. The Air Force presence in the
Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military
In the United States
strategy, and the United States should
Even as the Air Force accelerates
consider it a de facto permanent presence,
operations and improves its reach in the key
even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi,
regions of the world, it must retain sufficient
Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S.
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
The overall effectiveness of the B-2 bomber wings is inadequate to these tasks.
Further, the Air Force’s fleets of support
bomber is limited by the small size of
aircraft are too small for rapid, large-scale
the fleet and the difficulties of deployments and sustained operations.
operating solely from Whiteman Air
Force Base in Missouri. The Air Force’s structure problems
reflect troubles of types of aircraft as well as
But it is in East Asia that the Air Force raw numbers. For example, when the
must look to increase its capabilities and service retired its complements of F-4 “Wild
reach. The service currently has about two Weasel” air defense suppression and EF-111
wings worth of aircraft stationed at three electronic warfare aircraft, these missions
bases in Japan and Korea; like the Army, the were assumed by F-16s fitted with HARM
Air Force is concentrated in Northeast Asia system pods and Navy and Marine EA-6B
and lacks a permanent presence in Southeast “Prowlers,” respectively. The effect has
Asia, thus limiting its regional reach. The been to reduce the size of the F-16 fleet
Air Force also has an F-15 wing in Alaska capable of doing other missions. The F-16
that is officially part of its Pacific force, as was intended to be a multi-mission airplane,
well. The Air Force needs roughly to but the heavy requirement for air defense
double its forces stationed in East Asia, suppression, even in no-fly-zone operations,
preferably dispersing its bases in the south means that these aircraft are only rarely
as it has in the north, perhaps by stationing a available for other duties, and their pilots’
wing in the Philippines and Australia. As in skills rusty. Likewise, the loss of the EF-
Europe, Air Force operations in East Asia 111 has thrust the entire jamming mission
would be greatly enhanced by the ability to on the small and old Prowler fleet, and has
sustain long-range bomber operations out of left the Air Force without a jammer of its
Australia, perhaps also by including the own. The shortage of these aircraft is so
special maintenance facilities needed to great that, during Operation Allied Force,
operate the B-2 and other stealth aircraft. no-fly-zone operations over Iraq were
Further, the Air Force would be wise to suspended.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

The Air Force’s airlift fleet is similarly operations. The bulk of the B-2 fleet is
too small. The lift requirements established often reserved for nuclear missions; in sum,
in the early 1990s did not anticipate the pace the Air Force could generate no more than
and number of contingency operations in the two B-2s every other day for Allied Force.
post-Cold-War world. Nor have the require- Whatever the performance of the B-2, its
ments been changed to reflect force design overall effectiveness is severely limited by
changes – both those already made, such as the small size of the fleet and the difficulties
de facto expeditionary forces in the Army of operating solely from Whiteman. While
and Air Force, nor those advocated in this the cost of restarting the B-2 production line
report. The need to operate in a more dis- may be prohibitive,
persed fashion will increase airlift require- The Air Force’s the need is obvious;
ments substantially.
fleets of support the Air Force could
increase the
Further, the Air Force’s need for other aircraft are too “productivity” of
supporting aircraft is also greater than its small for rapid, B-2 operations by
current fleet. As Air Force Chief of Staff large-scale establishing
Gen. Ryan has observed, his service is far overseas locations
short of being a “two-war” force in many of
deployments for which the plane
these capabilities. Even in daily no-fly-zone and sustained could operate in
operations with relatively small numbers of operations. times of need, and
fighters, the nature of the mission demands by developing a
AWACS, JSTARS and other long-range deployable B-2 maintenance capability. As
electronic support aircraft; EA-6Bs and F- the Air Force contemplates its future bomber
16s with HARM pods for jamming and air force, it should seek to avoid such a
defense suppression; and several tankers to dilemma as it develops successors to the B-
permit extended operations over long 2. And considering the limited viability of
ranges. The “supporter-to-shooter” ratios of the bomber leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, the
the Cold War and of large-scale operations Air Force might seek to have bombers no
such as the Desert Storm air campaign have longer counted for arms control purposes,
been completely inverted. Air Force and equip its B-52s and B-2s solely for
requirements of such aircraft for perimeter conventional strike.
patrolling missions and for reinforcing
missions far exceed the service’s current At minimum, the Air Force based in the
fleets; no previous strategic review has United States should be increased by two or
contemplated these requirements. While more wing equivalents. However, the
such an analysis is beyond the scope of this majority of these increases should be
study, it is obvious that significant directed at the specialized aircraft that
enlargements of Air Force structure are represent the “low-density, high-demand”
needed. air assets now so lacking. But while this
will do much to alleviate the stresses on the
Finally, the Air Force’s fleet of long- current fighter fleet, it will not be enough to
range bombers should be reassessed. As offset the effects of the higher tempo of
mentioned above, the operations of the B-2s operations of the last decade; the F-15 and
during Allied Force are certain to lead to a F-16 fleets face looming block obsoles-
reappraisal of the regional commanders’ cence. This will be partly offset by the
requirements for that aircraft. Yet another introduction of the F-22 into the Air Force
striking feature of B-2 operations during the inventory, but as an air superiority aircraft,
Kosovo war was the length of the missions – the F-22 is not well suited to today’s less
it required a 30-hour, roundtrip sortie from stressful missions. The Air Force is buying
Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri for a new race car when it also needs a fleet of
each strike – and the difficulty in sustaining 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. Army, that remains the core of America’s
The C-17 program should be restored to its ability to apply decisive military power
original 210-aircraft buy, and the Air Force when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to
should address the need for additional deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the
electronic support aircraft, both in the near- key component of American military
term but also in the longer term as part of its preeminence.
transformation efforts.
Air Force Modernization
If the F-22 is less than perfectly suited
to today’s needs, the problem of the Joint
And Budgets
Strike Fighter program is a larger one
As with the Army, Air Force budgets
altogether. Moreover, more than half the
have been significantly reduced during the
total F-22 program cost has been spent
past decade, even as the service has taken on
already, while spending to date on the JSF –
new, unanticipated missions and attempts to
although already billions of dollars –
wrestle with the implications of
represents the merest tip of what may prove
expeditionary operations. At the height of
to be a $223 billion iceberg. And greater
the Reagan buildup, in 1985, the Air Force
than the technological challenges posed by
was authorized $140 billion; by 1992, the
the JSF or its total cost in dollars is the
first post-Cold-War budget figure fell to $98
question as to whether the program, which
billion. During the Clinton years, Air Force
will extend America’s commitment to
budgets dropped to a low of $73 billion in
manned strike aircraft for 50 years or more,
1997; the administration’s 2001 request was
represents an operationally sound decision.
for $83 billion (all figures are FY2000
Indeed, as will be apparent from the
constant dollars).
discussion below on military transformation
and the revolution in military affairs, it
During this period, Air Force leaders
seems unlikely that the current paradigm of
sacrificed many other essential projects to
warfare, dominated by the capabilities of
keep the F-22 program going; simply
tactical, manned aircraft, will long endure.
restoring the service to health – correcting
An expensive Joint Strike Fighter with
for the shortfalls of recent years plus the
limited capabilities and significant technical
internal distortions caused by service
risk appears to be a bad investment in such a
leadership decisions – will require time and
light, and the program should be terminated.
significantly increased spending. A gradual
It is a roadblock to transformation and a
increase in Air Force spending back to a
sink-hole for defense dollars.
$110 billion to $115 billion level is required
to increase service personnel strength; build
The reconstitution of the stateside Air
new units, especially the composite wings
Force as a large-scale, warfighting force will
required to perform the “air constabulary
complicate the service’s plans to reconfigure
missions” such as no-fly zones; add the
itself for the purposes of expeditionary
support capabilities necessary to
operations. But the proliferation of overseas
complement the fleet of tactical aircraft;
bases should reduce many, if not all, of the
reinvest in space capabilities and begin the
burdens of rotational contingency opera-
process of transformation.
tions. Because of its inherent mobility and
flexibility, the Air Force will be the first
The F-22 Raptor program should be
U.S. military force to arrive in a theater
continued to procure three wings’ worth of
during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force
aircraft and to develop and buy the
must retain its ability to deploy and sustain
munitions necessary to increase the F-22’s
sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars
ability to perform strike missions; although
and shape any conflict in its earliest stages.
the plane has limited bomb-carrying
Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

capacity, improved munitions can extend its procuring sufficient “attrition” F-15s and F-
utility in the strike role. The need for 16s and proceeding with the F-22 – lies
strategic lift has grown exponentially primarily in creating the varied support
throughout the post-Cold-War era, both in capabilities that will complement the fighter
terms of volume of lift and for numbers of fleet.
strategic lift platforms; it may be that the
requirement for strategic airlift now exceeds In the wake of the Kosovo air operation,
the requirement in the early 1990s when the the Air Force should again reconsider the
C-17 program was scaled back from a issue of strategic bombers. Both the
planned 210 aircraft to the current plan for successes and limitations of B-2 operations
just 120. The C-17’s ability to land on short during “Allied Force” suggest that the utility
airfields makes it both a strategic and of long-range strike aircraft has been
tactical airlifter. Or rather, it is the first undervalued, not only in major theater wars
airlifter to be able to allow for strategic but in constabulary and punitive operations.
deployment direct to an austere theater, as in Whether this mandates opening up the B-2
Kosovo. 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
The Joint Strike Fighter, with limited global reach – the Air Force must rebuild its
capabilities and significant technical fleet of tanker aircraft. Sustaining a large-
risk, is a roadblock to future scale air campaign, whatever the ability of
transformation and a sink-hole for strategic-range bombers, must ultimately
needed defense funds. rely upon theater-range tactical aircraft. As
amply demonstrated over Kosovo, the
Likewise, the formal requirements for ability to provide tanker support can often
AWACS, JSTARS, “Rivet Joint” and other be the limiting factor to such large-scale
electronic support and combat aircraft were operations. The Air Force’s current plan, to
set during the Cold War or before the nature eventually operate a tanker fleet with 75-
of the current era was clear. These aircraft year-old planes, is not consistent with the
were designed to operate in conjunction with creation of a global-reach force.
large numbers of fighter aircraft, yet today
they operate with very small formations in Finally, the Air Force should use some
no-fly zone, or even virtually alone in of its increased budget and the savings from
counter-drug intelligence gathering the cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter
operations. As with the C-17, it is likely program to accelerate the process of
that a genuine calculation of current transformation within the service, to include
requirements might result in a larger fleet of developing new space capabilities. The
such aircraft than was considered during the ability to have access to, operate in, and
late Cold War. In sum, the process of dominate the aerospace environment has
rebuilding today’s Air Force – apart from become the key to military success in
modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed,

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

as will be discussed below, space dominance at-sea forces during the defense drawdown
may become so essential to the preservation of the past decade. As H. Lee Buchanan, the
of American military preeminence that it Navy’s top procurement official, recently
may require a separate service. How well admitted, “After the buildup of the 1980s, at
the Air Force rises to the many challenges it the end of the Cold War we literally stopped
faces – even should it receive increased modernizing in order to fund near-term
budgets – will go far toward determining readiness
whether U.S. military forces retain the [and]…our The Navy must
combat edge they now enjoy. procurement begin to reduce its
accounts heavy dependence
New Course for the Navy plummeted by
70 percent. on carrier
The result has operations.
The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S.
been an aging
Navy in a position of unchallenged
force structure with little modernization
supremacy on the high seas, a dominance
investment.” According to recently retired
surpassing that even of the British Navy in
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay
the 19th and early parts of the 20th century.
Johnson, the Navy is in danger of slipping
With the remains of the Soviet fleet now
below a fleet of 300 ships, a level that would
largely rusting in port, the open oceans are
create “unacceptable risk” in executing the
America’s, and the lines of communication
missions called for by the national military
open from the coasts of the United States to
strategy. Unfortunately, he added, “The
Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet
current level of shipbuilding is insufficient
this very success calls the need for the cur-
to preserve even that level of fleet in the
rent force structure into question. Further,
coming decades.”
the advance of precision-strike technology
may mean that naval surface combatants,
As a consequence, the Navy is
and especially the large-deck aircraft
attempting to conduct a full range of
carriers that are the Navy’s capital ships,
presence missions while employing the
may not survive in the high-technology wars
combat forces developed during the later
of the coming decades. Finally, the nature
years of the Cold War. The Navy must
and pattern of Navy presence missions may
embark upon a complex process of
be out of synch with emerging strategic
realignment and reconfiguration. A decade
realities. In sum, though it stands without
of increased operations and reduced
peer today, the Navy faces major challenges
investment has worn down the fleets that
to its traditional and, in the past, highly
won the Cold War. The demands of new
successful methods of operation.
missions require new methods and patterns
of operations, with an increasing emphasis
As with the Army, the Navy’s ability to
on East Asia. To meet the strategic need for
address these challenges has been addition-
naval power today, the Navy should be
ally compromised by the high pace of
realigned and reconfigured along these lines:
current operations. As noted in the first
section of this report, the Navy has disrupted
the traditional balance between duty at sea • Reflecting the gradual shift in the
and ashore, stressing its sailors and focus of American strategic concerns
complicating training cycles. Units ashore toward East Asia, a majority of the
no longer have the personnel, equipment, or U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all
opportunities to train; thus, when they go to carrier battle groups, should be
sea, they go at lower levels of readiness than concentrated in the Pacific. A new,
in the past. Modernization has been another permanent forward base should be
bill-payer for maintaining the readiness of established in Southeast Asia.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

• The Navy must begin to transition not immediately addressed, will reach crisis
away from its heavy dependence on proportions in the next decade.
carrier operations, reducing its fleet
from 12 to nine carriers over the next Thus, like the other services, the Navy is
six years. A moratorium on carrier increasingly ill prepared for missions today
construction should be imposed after and tomorrow. For the past several years,
the completion of the CVN-77, Adm. Johnson has admitted the Navy “was
allowing the Navy to retain a nine- never sized to do two [major theater wars]”
carrier force through 2025. Design – meaning that, after the defense drawdown,
and research on a future CVX carrier the Navy is too small to meet the require-
should continue, but should aim at a ments of the current national military
radical design change to accom- strategy. According to Johnson: “The QDR
modate an air wing based primarily concluded that a fleet of slightly more than
on unmanned aerial vehicles. The 300 ships was sufficient for near term
Navy should complete the F/A-18E/F requirements and was within an acceptable
program, refurbish and modernize its level of risk. Three years of high tempo
support aircraft, consider the operations since then, however, suggest that
suitability of a carrier-capable version this size fleet will be inadequate to sustain
of the Air Force’s F-22, but keep the the current level of operations for the long
Joint Strike Fighter program in term.”
research and development until the
implications of the revolution in Even as the Navy has shrunk to a little
military affairs for naval warfare are more than half its Cold-War size, the pace of
understood better. operations has grown so rapidly that the
Navy is experiencing readiness problems
• To offset the reduced role of carriers, and personnel shortages. These problems
the Navy should slightly increase its are so grave that forward-deployed naval
fleets of current-generation surface forces, the carrier battle groups that are
combatants and submarines for currently the core of the Navy’s presence
improved strike capabilities in littoral mission, now put to sea with significant
waters and to conduct an increasing personnel problems. When the USS Lincoln
proportion of naval presence missions carrier battle group fired Tomahawk cruise
with surface action groups. missiles at terrorist camps in Afghanistan
Additional investments in counter- and suspected chemical weapons facilities in
mine warfare are needed, as well. Sudan, it did so with 12 percent fewer
people in the battle group than on the
State of the Navy Today previous deployment. Similarly, during the
February 1998 confrontation with Iraq, the
The first step in maintaining American Navy sent three carriers to the Persian Gulf.
naval preeminence must be to restore the The USS George Washington deployed the
health of the current fleet as rapidly as Gulf with only 4,600 sailors, almost 1,000
possible. Though the Navy’s deployments fewer than its previous cruise there two
today have not changed as profoundly as years earlier. The carrier USS
have those of the Army or Air Force – the Independence, dispatched on short notice
sea services have long manned, equipped from its permanent home in Japan, sailed
and trained themselves for the rigors of long with only 4,200 sailors and needed an
deployments at sea – the number of these emergency influx of about 80 sailors just so
duties has increased as the Navy has been it could be rated fit for combat. The USS
reduced. The Navy also faces a shipbuilding Nimitz, already in the Middle East, was 400
and larger modernization problem that, if 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 carrier battle groups by trimming the
volunteer sailors in port back home. number of escorts. Most ominously, the
Navy’s ability to surge large fleets in
This is a worrisome trend. Today more wartime – the requirement to meet the two-
than ever, U.S. Navy operations center war standard – is declining. As Adm.
around the carrier battle group. Indeed, the Johnson told the Congress:
ability to conduct additional operations or
even training independent from battle group [N]early every Major Theater War
operations is increasingly difficult. But the scenario would require the rapid
process of piecing together the elements of a deployment of forces from [the United
battle group – the carrier itself, its air wing, States]. Because of the increasingly
its surface escorts, its submarines, and its deep bathtub in our [interdeployment
training cycle] readiness posture, these
accompanying Marine Amphibious Ready
follow-on forces
Group – is also becoming a substantial most likely will
challenge. not be at the
desired levels of
Bringing a carrier battle group to the proficiency
high states of readiness demanded by quickly enough.
deployments to sea is a complex and Concern over the
rigorous task, involving tens of thousands of readiness of non-
personnel over an 18-month period. deployed forces
Formally known as the “interdeployment was a
training cycle” and more often called the Johnson factor to the
readiness “bathtub,” this period is the key to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
readiness at sea. Equipment must be recently changing his overall risk
overhauled and maintained, personnel assessment of a two[-war] scenario to
assigned and reassigned, and training moderate to high.
accomplished from individual skills up
through complex battle group operations. This assessment has prompted
Shortfalls and cutbacks felt in the inter- Johnson’s successor, Adm. Vernon Clark,
deployment cycle result in diminished the former commander of the Atlantic Fleet
readiness at sea. And finally and vitally who was confirmed as CNO in June, to
important to the health of an all-volunteer outline a major reallocation of resources to
force – sailors must reestablish the bonds increase the readiness of carrier battle
and ties with their families that allow them groups – although only to the “C-2” rating
to concentrate on their duties while at sea. level, still below the highest standard. “To
me, readiness is a top priority,” said Clark in
Although Navy leaders have recently his confirmation testimony. “It simply
focused on the cutbacks in their inter- means taking care of the Navy that the
deployment training cycle, it is clear that American people have already invested in.”
postponed maintenance and training is
having an increasing effect on the readiness But while Clark is correct about the
of forces at sea. As a result, naval task Navy’s increasing troubles maintaining its
forces are compelled to complete their current readiness, an even larger problem
training while they are deployed, rather than looms just over the horizon. The Navy’s
beforehand. And with fully 52 percent of its “procurement holiday” of the past decade
ships afloat, including training, and 33 has left the service facing a serious problem
percent actually deployed at sea – compared of block obsolescence in the next 10 years.
to historical norms of 42 percent at sea and Unless current trends are reversed, the Navy
21 percent deployed, Navy leaders are will be too small to meet its worldwide
contemplating a reduction in the size of commitments. Both in its major ship and

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

aircraft programs, the Navy has been While buying too many cheap
purchasing too few systems to sustain even auxiliaries, the administration is buying too
the reduced, post-Cold War fleet called for few combatants, as the state of the
in the Quadrennial Defense Review. submarine force indicates. In 1997, the
Navy’s fleet of 72 attack boats was too small
As a result of the significant expansion to meet its operational requirements, yet, at
of the Navy to nearly 600 ships during the the same time, the QDR called for a further
Reagan years and the following drawdown reduction of the attack submarine force to 50
of the 1990s, today’s Navy of just over 300 boats. Since then, these additional
ships is made up of relatively new ships, and reductions in the submarine force have
thus the low shipbuilding rates of the past exacerbated the problem. As the Navy’s
decade have not yet had a dramatic effect on director of submarine programs, Adm.
the fleet. Assuming the traditional “ship- Malcolm Fages told the Senate last year,
life” of about 30 “We have transitioned from a requirements-
to 35 years, The Navy has driven force to an asset-limited force
maintaining a built up a structure. Today, although we have 58
300-ship Navy ‘modernization submarines in the force, we have too few
requires the submarines to accomplish all assigned
deficit’ – of
purchase of about missions.”
eight to 10 ships surface ships,
per year. The submarines and Nor is it likely that the Navy will be able
Clinton Admini- aircraft – that to stop the hemorrhaging of its attack
stration’s 2001 submarine fleet. For the period from 1990
defense budget
will soon through 2005, the Navy will have purchased
request includes a approach $100 just 10 new attack submarines, according to
request for eight billion. current plans. But the replacement rate for
ships, the first even a 50-sub fleet would have required
time in several years that the number is that procurement of 23 to 27 boats during that
high. And the administration’s long-term time period. In sum, the Navy has a
plan would purchase 39 ships over 5 years, submarine-building “deficit” of 13 to 17
still below the required replacement rate, but boats, even to maintain a fleet that is too
an improvement over recent Navy budgets. small to meet operational and strategic
needs. According to the administration’s
However, there is less to this apparent budget request, the Navy plans to build no
improvement than meets the eye. The slight more than one new attack submarine per
increase in the shipbuilding rate is achieved year. Assuming the 30-year service life for
by purchasing less expensive auxiliary cargo nuclear attack submarines, the American
ships, which typically cost $300 to $400 submarine fleet would slip to 24 boats by
million, compared to $1 billion for an attack 2025.
submarine or Arleigh Burke-class Aegis
destroyer, or $6 billion for an aircraft The Navy’s fleet of surface combatants
carrier. According to a Congressional faces much the same dilemma as does the
Research Service analysis, the submarine force: it is too small to meet its
administration plan would buy unneeded current missions and, as seaborne missile
cargo ships, “procured at a rate in excess of defense systems are developed, the surface
the steady-state replacement for Navy fleet faces substantial new missions for
auxiliaries.” The replacement rate for which it is now unprepared. For these
auxiliaries is approximately 1.5 per year; the reasons, the Navy has prepared a new report,
administration’s request includes one in entitled the Surface Combatant Force Level
2001, three each in 2002 and 2003, and two Study, arguing that the true requirement for
each in 2004 and 2005. 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 aircraft and improving its electronic
Quadrennial Defense Review. By systems. No new electronic warfare aircraft
comparison, the Navy had 203 surface is in the program of any service.
combatants in 1990 and the Bush
Administration’s “Base Force” plan called As a result of a decade-long procure-
for a surface fleet of 141 ships. ment holiday, a Navy already too small to
meet many of its current missions is heading
As of last year, Navy shipbuilding had a for a modernization crisis; indeed, it already
current “deficit” of approximately 26 ships, may have built up a “modernization deficit”
even before the requirements of new mis- – of surface ships, submarines, and aircraft,
sions such as ballistic missile are calculated. that will soon approach $100 billion – even
To maintain a 300-ship fleet, the Navy must as the Navy is asked to take on additional
maintain a ship procurement rate of about new missions such as ballistic missile
8.6 ships per year. Yet from 1993 to 2005, defense. Higher operations tempos, person-
according to administration plans, the Navy nel and training problems and spare parts
will have bought 85 ships, or about 6.5 ships shortfalls have reduced Navy readiness. By
per year. Steady-state rates would have any measure, today’s Navy is unable to meet
required the purchase of 111 ships, accor- the increasing number of missions it faces
ding to the Congressional Research Service currently, let alone prepare itself for a trans-
analysis. Once the large number of ships formed paradigm of future naval warfare.
bought during the 1980s begins to reach the
end of its service life, the Navy will begin to New Deployment Patterns
shrink rapidly, and maintaining a fleet above
250 ships will be difficult to do.
Revitalizing the Navy will require more
than improved readiness and recapitaliza-
As with ships and submarines, the
tion, however. The Navy’s structure and
Navy’s aircraft fleet is living off the
pattern of operations must be reconsidered
purchases made during the buildup of the
in light of new strategic realities as well. In
Reagan years. The average age of naval
general terms, this should reflect an
aircraft is 16.5 years and increasing. While
increased emphasis on operations in the
the Navy’s F-14 and F-18 fighters are being
western Pacific and a decreased emphasis on
upgraded, the aging of the fleet is most
aircraft carriers.
telling on support aircraft. The Navy’s plan
to refurbish the P-3C submarine-hunting
As discussed above, the focus of
plane will extend the Orion’s life to 50
American security strategy for the coming
years; the fleet average now is 21 years.
century is likely to shift to East Asia. This
The E-2 Hawkeye, the Navy’s airborne early
reflects the success of American strategy in
warning and command and control plane,
the 20th century, and particularly the success
was first produced in the 1960s. The S-3B
of the NATO alliance through the Cold War,
Viking is another aircraft essential to many
which has created what appears to be a
aspects of carrier operations; it is 23 years
generally stable and enduring peace in
old and no longer in production. And the
Europe. The pressing new problem of
EA-6B Prowler is now the only electronic
European security – instability in South-
warfare aircraft flown by any of the services,
eastern Europe – will be best addressed by
and is now considered a national asset, not
the continued stability operations in the
merely a Navy platform. Operation Allied
Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces
Force employed approximately 60 of the 90
supported by land-based air forces.
operational EA-6Bs then in the fleet; current
Likewise, the new opportunity for greater
Navy plans are to refurbish the entire 123
European stability offered by further NATO
Prowler airframes that still exist, inserting a
expansion will make demands first of all on
new center wing section on this 1960s-era

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

ground and land-based air forces. As the As stressed several times above, the United
American security perimeter in Europe is States should seek to establish – or
removed eastward, this pattern will endure, reestablish – a more robust naval presence in
although naval forces will play an important Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term,
role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean semi-permanent home port in the region,
and Black Sea, and will continue to support perhaps in the Philip-pines, Australia, or
U.S. and NATO operations ashore. both. Over the next decade, this presence
should become roughly equivalent to the
Also, while it is naval forces stationed in Japan (17 ships
likely that the based around the Kitty Hawk carrier battle
Middle East and group and Belleau Wood Marine amphibious
Persian Gulf will ready group). Optimally, these forward-
remain an area of deployed forces, both in Japan and
turmoil and ultimately in Southeast Asia, should be
instability, the increased with additional surface
increased combatants. In effect, one of the carrier
presence of battle groups now based on the West Coast
American ground of the United States should be shifted into
forces and land- the East Asian theater.
based air forces in
the region mark a Rotational naval forces form the bulk of
notable shift from the U.S. Navy; as indicated above, the size
the 1980s, when of the current fleet is dictated by the
naval forces presence requirements of the regional
Tomahawk cruise carried the commanders-in-chief as determined during
overwhelming the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review.
missiles have been
burden of U.S. And, the Navy and Department of Defense
the Navy weapon of military presence have defined presence primarily in terms of
choice in recent in the region. aircraft carrier battle groups. The current
strike operations. Although the need to keep approximately three carriers
Navy will remain deployed equates to an overall force
an important partner in Gulf and regional structure of eleven carriers (plus one reserve
operations, the load can now be shared more carrier for training). In truth, the structure-
equitably with other services. And, to-deployed forces ratio is actually higher,
according to the force posture described in for the Navy always counts its Japan-based
the preceding chapter, future American forces as “deployed,” even when not at sea.
policy should seek to augment the forces Further, because of transit times and other
already in the region or nearby. However, factors, the ratio for carriers deployed to the
since current U.S. Navy force structure, and Persian Gulf is about five to one.
particularly its carrier battle-group structure,
is driven by the current requirements for Although the combination of carriers
Gulf operations, the reduced emphasis of and Marine amphibious groups offer a
naval forces in the Gulf will have an effect unique and highly capable set of options for
on overall Navy structure. commanders, it is far from certain that the
Thus, the emphasis of U.S. Navy Navy’s one-size-fits all approach is
operations should shift increasingly toward appropriate to every contingency or to every
East Asia. Not only is this the theater of engagement mission now assumed by U.S.
rising importance in overall American forces. First of all, the need for carriers in
strategy and for preserving American peacetime, “show-the-flag” missions should
preeminence, it is the theater in which naval be reevaluated and reduced. The Navy is
forces will make the greatest contribution. right to assert, as quoted above, that “being

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

‘on-scene’ matters” to reassure America’s certain targets or were not employed against
allies and intimidate potential adversaries. well-defended targets. These are now
But where American strategic interests are missions handled almost exclusively by
well understood and long-standing, stealthy aircraft or cruise missiles.
especially in Europe and in the Persian Gulf Likewise, during Operation Allied Force,
– or in Korea – the ability to position forces Navy planes played a reinforcing role. And,
ashore offsets the need for naval presence. 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
While carrier aviation still has a large Pacific Ocean. Thus, the Navy was
role to play in naval operations, that uniquely positioned and postured to respond.
role is becoming relatively less Not only did the Seventh Fleet make it first
on the scene, but deploying and sustaining
important. ground forces or land-based aircraft to the
region would have been difficult. Second,
More importantly, the role of carriers in the potential enemy was China. Although
war is certainly changing. While carrier Pentagon thinking about major theater war
aviation still has a large role to play in naval in East Asia has centered on Korea – where
operations, that role is becoming relatively again land and land-based air forces would
less important. A review of post-Cold War likely play the leading role – the Taiwan
operations conducted by the American crisis was perhaps more indicative of the
military reveals one salient factor: carriers longer-range future. A third question has no
have almost always played a secondary role. easy answer: what, indeed, would these
Operation Just Cause in Panama was almost carrier battle groups have been able to do in
exclusively an Army and Air Force the event of escalation or the outbreak of
operation. The Gulf War, by far the largest hostilities? Had the Chinese actually
operation in the last decade, involved targeted missiles at Taiwan, it is doubtful
significant elements of all services, but the that the Aegis air-defense systems aboard
air campaign was primarily an Air Force the cruisers and destroyers in the battle
show and the central role in the ground war groups could have provided an effective
was played by Army units. The conduct of defense. Punitive strikes against Chinese
post-war no-fly zones has frequently forces by carrier aircraft, or cruise missile
involved Navy aircraft, but their role has strikes, might have been a second option,
been to lighten the burden on the Air Force but a problematic option. And, as in recent
units that have flown the majority of sorties strike operations elsewhere, initial attacks
in these operations. Naval forces also have certainly would have employed cruise
participated in the periodic strikes against missiles exclusively, or perhaps cruise
Iraq, but even during the largest of these, missiles and stealthy, land-based aircraft.
Operation Desert Fox in December 1998,
Navy aircraft did not have range to reach

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Thus, while naval presence, including missile defenses, might require a surface
carrier presence, in the western Pacific combatant fleet of 150 vessels.
should be increased, the Navy should begin
to conduct many of its presence missions The Navy’s force of attack submarines
with other kinds of battle groups based also should be expanded. While many of
around cruisers, destroyers and other surface the true submarine requirements like
combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, intelligence-gathering missions and as
the Navy needs cruise-missile platforms were not considered
to better The Navy’s fully during the QDR – and it will take some
understand the time to understand how submarine needs
requirement to surface fleet is would change to make up for changes in the
have substantial too small to meet carrier force – by any reckoning the 50-boat
numbers of current fleet now planned is far too small.
cruise-missile However, as is the case with surface
platforms at sea
requirements, combatants, the need to increase the size of
and in close war plans and the fleet must compete with the need to
proximity to future missile introduce new classes of vessels that have
regional hot defense duties. advanced capabilities. It is unclear that the
spots, using current and planned generations of attack
carriers and submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic
naval aviation as reinforcing elements. missile submarines) will be flexible enough
Moreover, the reduced need for naval to meet future demands. The Navy should
aviation in the European theater and in the reassess its submarine requirements not
Gulf suggests that the carrier elements in the merely in light of current missions but with
Atlantic fleet can be reduced. Therefore, in an expansive view of possible future
addition to the two forward-based carrier missions as well.
groups recommended above, the Navy
should retain a further fleet of three active Finally, the reduction in carriers should
plus one reserve carriers homeported on the not be accompanied by a commensurate
west coast of the United States and a three- reduction in naval air wings. Already, the
carrier Atlantic fleet. Overall, this Navy maintains just 10 air wings, too small
represents a reduction of three carriers. a structure for the current carrier fleet,
especially considering the rapid aging of the
However, the reduction in carriers must Navy’s aircraft. Older fighters like the F-14
be offset by an increase in surface com- have taken on new strike missions, and the
batants, submarines and also in support multi-mission F/A-18 is wearing out faster
ships to make up for the logistics functions than expected due to higher-than-anticipated
that the carrier performs for the entire battle rates of use and more stressful uses. Even
group. As indicated above, the surface fleet should the Navy simply cease to purchase
is already too small to meet current aircraft carriers today, it could maintain a
requirements and must be expanded to nine-carrier force until 2025, assuming the
accommodate the requirements for sea- CVN-77, already programmed under current
based ballistic missile defenses. Further, the defense budgets, was built. A small carrier
Navy’s fleet of frigates is likely to be fleet must be maintained at a higher state of
inadequate for the long term, and the need readiness for combat while in port, as should
for smaller and simpler ships to respond to Navy air wings.
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

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Marine Corps: requirements for operations in East Asia,

including Southeast Asia. In many ways,
‘Back to the Future’ this will be a “back to the future” mission
for the Corps, recalling the innovative
For the better part of a century, the thinking done during the period between the
United States has maintained the largest two world wars and which established the
complement of naval infantry of any nation. Marines’ expertise in amphibious landings
The U.S. Marine Corps, with a three- and operations. Yet it will also require the
division structure mandated by law and with Corps to shed some of its current capacity –
a strength of more than 170,000, is larger such as heavy tanks and artillery – acquired
than all but a few land armies in the world. during the late Cold War years. It will also
Its close relationship with the Navy – to say require the Marines to acquire the ability to
nothing of its own highly sophisticated air work better with other services, notably the
force – gives the Corps extraordinary Army and Air Force, by improving its
mobility and combat power. Even as it has communications, data links and other
been reduced by about 15 percent since the systems needed for sophisticated joint
end of the Cold War, the Marine Corps has operations, and of course by more frequent
added new capabilities, notably for special joint exercises. These new missions and
operations and most recently for response to requirements will increase the need for
chemical and biological strikes. This Marine modernization, especially in
versatility, combined with a punishing acquiring the V-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor
deployment schedule, makes the Marine aircraft, which will give the Corps extended
Corps a valuable tool for maintaining operational range. And, as will be discussed
American global influence and military in greater detail in the section on
preeminence; Marines afloat can both transformation, the Marine Corps must
respond relatively rapidly in times of crisis, begin now to address the likely increased
yet loiter ashore for extended periods of vulnerability of surface ships in future
time. conflicts. To maintain its unique and
valuable role, the Marine Corps should:
Yet while this large Marine Corps is
uniquely valuable to a world power like the
• Be expanded to permit the forward
United States, it must be understood that the
basing of a second Marine
Corps fills but a niche in the overall
Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in East
capabilities needed for American military
Asia. This MEU should be based in
preeminence. The Corps lacks the
Southeast Asia along with the
sophisticated and sustainable land-power
repositioned Navy carrier battle
capabilities of the Army; the high-
group as described above.
performance, precision-strike capabilities of
the Air Force; and, absent its partnership
• Likewise be increased in strength by
with the Navy, lacks firepower. Restoring
about 25,000 to improve the personnel
the health of the Marine Corps will require
status of Marine units, especially
not only purchases of badly needed new
nondeployed units undergoing
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 • Be realigned to create lighter units
mission of renewed importance to American with greater infantry strength and
security strategy. better abilities for joint operations,
especially including other services’
In particular, the Marine Corps, like the fires in support of Marine operations.
Navy, must turn its focus on the The Marine Corps should review its

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

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 The V-22 Osprey will increase the
it can handle and a shortage of resources. speed and range with which Marines
Although Corps commandants have tended can deploy.
to emphasize Marine modernization
problems, the training and readiness of units and electronics. Even a relatively modern
that are not actually deployed have also piece of Marine equipment, the Light
plummeted. The Marines’ ability to field Armored Vehicle, is feeling the effect. In
the large force that contributed greatly to the 1995, the Marines began an “Inspect, Repair
Gulf War land campaign is increasingly in Only as Necessary” program on the Light
doubt. Of all the service chiefs of staff, Armored Vehicle, and have experienced a
recently retired Marine Commandant Gen. 25 percent rise in the cost per vehicle and a
Charles Krulak was the first to publicly 46 percent rise in the number of vehicles
admit that his service was not capable of requiring the repairs. For some Marine
executing the missions called for in the units, the biggest challenge is the
national military strategy. availability of parts, even in such a time of
repair and recovery. At Camp Lejuene,
Like the Navy, the Marine Corps has North Carolina, maintenance officers and
paid the price for rotational readiness in NCOs make near-daily trips to nearby Fort
terms of on-shore training, modernization Bragg to get parts for inoperable vehicles
and quality of life. Marine Corps leaders such as the battalion’s High Mobility
stress that much of the problem stems from Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles
the age of the Marines’ equipment: “Our (HMMWV). In part because the Marines
problems today are caused by the fact that have the oldest version of the HMMWV, no
we are, and have been, plowing scarce longer made for the Army, bartering with
resources – Marines, money, material – into the 82nd Airborne is the most common
our old equipment and weapon systems in answer for procuring a needed part.
an attempt to keep them operational,”
Krulak explained to Congress shortly before But although the Marine Corps’ primary
retiring. concern is again equipment, the service is
hardly immune to the personnel and training
Much Marine equipment is serving far problems plaguing the other services. Faced
beyond its programmed service life. And not only with a demanding schedule of
although the Marine Corps has invested traditional six-month sea deployments but
heavily in programs to extend the life of with an increasing load of unanticipated
these systems, equipment availability rates duties, the interdeployment “bathtub of
are falling throughout the service. Marine unreadiness” has deepened and the climb out
equipment always wears out rapidly, due to has grown steeper. Like the Navy, the
the corrosive effects of salt water on metal Marine Corps has had to curtail its on-shore

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

training, especially in the rudiments that are size of the Navy again – Navy procurement
the building blocks of unit readiness. Even budgets averaged $43 billion.
then, it may be required to deploy smaller To realign and reconfigure the Navy as
elements to assist other units in training or described above, Department of the Navy
participate in exercises. Often, Marine units spending overall should be increased to
will be forced to send between $100 billion and $110 billion. This
Navy under-strength units for slightly exceeds the levels of spending
major live-fire and anticipated by the final Bush
Department maneuver exercises Administration, and is necessary to
spending that in times past were accelerate ship- and submarine-building
should be the keys to deployed efforts. After several years, this will be
increased to readiness. Moreover, partially offset by the moratorium in aircraft
large Marine units lack carrier construction and by holding the Joint
between $100 the infantry punch they Strike Fighter program in research and
and $110 had in the past. Marine development. Yet maintaining a Navy
billion divisions have fewer capable of dominating the open oceans,
annually. rifleman than in past; providing effective striking power to joint
as the overall strength operations ashore and transforming itself for
of the Marine Corps future naval warfare – in short, a Navy able
has been cut from 197,000 to the 172,000 as to preserve U.S. maritime preeminence –
specified in the Quadrennial Defense will require much more than marginal
Review, the number of infantry battalions in increases in Navy budgets.
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

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


To preserve American military Department was in the midst of the Reagan

preeminence in the coming decades, the buildup which was primarily an effort to
Department of Defense must move more expand existing forces and field traditional
aggressively to experiment with new weapons systems, research spending
technologies and operational concepts, and represented 20 percent of total Pentagon
seek to exploit the emerging revolution in budgets. By contrast, today’s research and
military affairs. Information technologies, development accounts total only 8 percent of
in particular, are becoming more prevalent defense spending. And even this reduced
and significant components of modern total is primarily for upgrades of current
military systems. These information tech- weapons. Without increased spending on
nologies are having the same kind of trans- basic research and development the United
forming effects on military affairs as they States will be unable to exploit the RMA
are having in the larger world. The effects and preserve its technological edge on future
of this military transformation will have battlefields.
profound implications for how wars are
fought, what kinds of weapons will Any serious effort at transformation
dominate the battlefield and, inevitably, must occur within the larger framework of
which nations enjoy military preeminence. U.S. national security strategy, military
missions and defense budgets. The United
The United States enjoys every prospect States cannot
of leading this transformation. Indeed, it simply declare a The effects of
was the improvements in capabilities “strategic pause” the RMA will
acquired during the American defense build- while
up of the 1980s that hinted at and then experimenting
have profound
confirmed, during Operation Desert Storm, with new implications for
that a revolution in military affairs was at technologies and how wars are
hand. At the same time, the process of operational fought, what
military transformation will present concepts. Nor
opportunities for America’s adversaries to can it choose to
develop new capabilities that in turn will pursue a dominate, and
create new challenges for U.S. military transformation which nations
preeminence. strategy that enjoy military
would decouple
Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by American and preeminence.
limited budgets and pressing current allied interests.
missions, has seen funding for experi- A transformation strategy that solely
mentation and transformation crowded out pursued capabilities for projecting force
in recent years. Spending on military from the United States, for example, and
research and development has been reduced sacrificed forward basing and presence,
dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, would be at odds with larger American
during the mid-1980’s, when the Defense

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

policy goals and would trouble American “international commons” be a key to

allies. world power in the future. An
America incapable of protecting its
Further, the process of transformation, interests or that of its allies in space
even if it brings revolutionary change, is or the “infosphere” will find it
likely to be a long one, absent some difficult to exert global political
catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a leadership.
new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and
industrial policy will shape the pace and • Pursuing a two-stage strategy for of
content of transformation as much as the transforming conventional forces. In
requirements of current missions. A exploiting the “revolution in military
decision to suspend or terminate aircraft affairs,” the Pentagon must be driven
carrier production, as recommended by this by the enduring missions for U.S.
report and as justified by the clear direction forces. This process will have two
of military technology, will cause great stages: transition, featuring a mix of
upheaval. Likewise, systems entering current and new systems; and true
production today – the F-22 fighter, for transformation, featuring new
example – will be in service inventories for systems, organizations and
decades to come. Wise management of this operational concepts. This process
process will consist in large measure of must take a competitive approach,
figuring out the right moments to halt with services and joint-service
production of current-paradigm weapons operations competing for new roles
and shift to radically new designs. The and missions. Any successful process
expense associated with some programs can of transformation must be linked to
make them roadblocks to the larger process the services, which are the institutions
of transformation – the Joint Strike Fighter within the Defense Department with
program, at a total of approximately $200 the ability and the responsibility for
billion, seems an unwise investment. Thus, linking budgets and resources to
this report advocates a two-stage process of specific missions.
change – transition and transformation –
over the coming decades.
Missile Defenses
In general, to maintain American
military preeminence that is consistent with Ever since the Persian Gulf War of
the requirements of a strategy of American 1991, when an Iraqi Scud missile hit a Saudi
global leadership, tomorrow’s U.S. armed warehouse in which American soldiers were
forces must meet three new missions: sleeping, causing the largest single number
of casualties in the war; when Israeli and
• Global missile defenses. A network Saudi citizens donned gas masks in nightly
against limited strikes, capable of terror of Scud attacks; and when the great
protecting the United States, its allies “Scud Hunt” proved to be an elusive game
and forward-deployed forces, must be that absorbed a huge proportion of U.S.
constructed. This must be a layered aircraft, the value of the ballistic missile has
system of land, sea, air and space- been clear to America’s adversaries. When
based components. their missiles are tipped with warheads
carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical
weapons, even weak regional powers have a
• Control of space and cyberspace.
credible deterrent, regardless of the balance
Much as control of the high seas – and
of conventional forces. That is why,
the protection of international
according to the CIA, a number of regimes
commerce – defined global powers in
deeply hostile to America – North Korea,
the past, so will control of the new

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – “already have requirements to impose sanctions on
or are developing ballistic missiles” that Beijing.
could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad.
And one, North Korea, is on the verge of At the same time, the administration’s
deploying missiles that can hit the American devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile
homeland. Such capabilities pose a grave (ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has
challenge to the American peace and the frustrated development of useful ballistic
military power that preserves that peace. missile defenses. This is reflected in deep
budget cuts – planned spending on missile
The ability to defenses for the late 1990s has been more
control this emerg- than halved, halting work on space-based
ing threat through interceptors, cutting funds for a national
traditional nonpro- missile defense system by 80 percent and
liferation treaties theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the
is limited when administration has cut funding just at the
the geopolitical crucial moments when individual programs
and strategic begin to show promise. Only upgrades of
advantages of such currently existing systems like the Patriot
weapons are so missile – originally designed primarily for
apparent and so air defense against jet fighters, not missile
readily acquired. defense – have proceeded generally on
The Clinton course.
diplomacy, threats Most damaging of all was the decision
and pleadings did in 1993 to terminate the “Brilliant Pebbles”
nothing to prevent project. This legacy of the original Reagan-
first India and era “Star Wars” effort had matured to the
shortly thereafter point where it was becoming feasible to
Pakistan from develop a space-based interceptor capable of
To increase their demonstrating destroying ballistic missiles in the early or
their nuclear middle portion of their flight – far preferable
capabilities. Nor than attempting to hit individual warheads
ground-based have formal surrounded by clusters of decoys on their
interceptors like the international final course toward their targets. But since a
Army’s Theater agreements such space-based system would violate the ABM
High-Altitude Area as the 1987 Treaty, the administration killed the
Defense System Missile “Brilliant Pebbles” program, choosing
must be networked Technology instead to proceed with a ground-based
to space-based Control Regime interceptor and radar system – one that will
systems. done much to stem be costly without being especially effective.
proliferation, even when backed by U.S. While there is an argument to be made
sanctions; in the final analysis, the for “terminal” ground-based interceptors as
administration has preferred to subordinate an element in a larger architecture of missile
its nonproliferation policy to larger regional defenses, it deserves the lowest rather than
and country-specific goals. Thus, President the first priority. The first element in any
Clinton lamented in June 1998 that he found missile defense network should be a galaxy
sanctions legislation so inflexible that he of surveillance satellites with sensors
was forced to “fudge” the intelligence capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles
evidence on China’s transfer of ballistic immediately upon launch. Once a missile is
missiles to Pakistan to avoid the legal tracked and targeted, this information needs

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

to be instantly disseminated through a modified Scuds did during the Gulf War.
world-wide command-and-control system, And finally, point defenses, even when they
including direct links to interceptors. To successfully intercept an incoming missile,
address the special problems of theater- may not offset the effects against weapons
range ballistic missiles, theater-level of mass destruction.
defenses should be layered as well. In
addition to space-based systems, these Thus the requirement for upper-tier,
theater systems should include both land- theater-wide defenses like the Army’s
and sea-based interceptors, to allow for Theater High Altitude Area Defense
deployment to trouble spots to reinforce (THAAD) and the Navy Theater-Wide
theater systems already in place or to cover systems. Though housed in a Patriot-like
gaps where no defenses exist. In addition, launcher, THAAD is an entirely new system
they should be “two-tiered,” providing designed to intercept medium-range ballistic
close-in “point defense” of valuable targets missiles earlier in their flight, in the so-
and forces as well as upper-level, “theater- called “mid-course.” The Navy Theater-
wide” coverage. Wide system is based upon the Aegis
system, with an upgraded radar and higher-
Current programs could provide the velocity – though intentionally slowed down
necessary density for a layered approach to to meet administration concerns over
theater missile defense, although funding for violating the ABM Treaty – version of the
each component has been inadequate, Standard missile. The THAAD system has
especially for enjoyed recent test success, but development
the upper-tier, The Clinton of the Navy Theater-Wide system has been
sea based Administration’s hampered by lack of funds. Similarly, a
effort, known adherence to the fifth component of a theater-wide network
as the Navy of ballistic missile defenses, the Air Force’s
Theater-Wide 1972 ABM airborne laser project, has suffered from
program. Treaty has insufficient funding. This system, which
Point defense frustrated mounts a high energy laser in a 747 aircraft,
is to be is designed to intercept theater ballistic
provided by
development of missiles in their earliest, or “boost” phase,
the Patriot useful ballistic when they are most vulnerable.
Advanced missile defenses.
Capability, To maximize their effectiveness, these
Level 3, or PAC-3 version of the Patriot air theater-level interceptors should receive
defense missile and by the Navy Area continuous targeting information directly
Defense system, likewise an upgrade of the from a global constellation of satellites
current Standard air defense missile and the carrying infrared sensors capable of
Aegis radar system. Both systems are on the detecting ballistic missile launches as they
verge of being deployed. happen. The low-earth-orbit tier of the
Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS Low),
These lower-tier defenses, though they now under development by the Air Force,
will be capable of providing protection will provide continuous observations of
against the basic Scuds and Scud variants ballistic missiles in the boost, midcourse and
that comprise the arsenals of most American reentry phases of attack. Current missile
adversaries today, are less effective against tracking radars can see objects only above
longer-range, higher-velocity missiles that the horizon and must be placed in friendly
several states have under development. territory; consequently, they are most
Moreover, they will be less effective against effective only in the later phases of a
missiles with more complex warheads or ballistic missile’s flight. SBIRS Low,
those that break apart, as many Iraqi 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 inter- and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North
ception and multiplying the effectiveness of Korea who most wish to develop deterrent
theater-range interceptors by cueing their capabilities. Projecting conventional
radars with targeting data. It will also military forces or simply asserting political
provide precise launch-point information, influence abroad, particularly in times of
allowing theater forces a better chance to crisis, will be far more complex and
destroy hostile launchers before more constrained when the American homeland or
missiles can be fired. There is also a SBIRS the territory of our allies is subject to attack
High project, but both SBIRS programs by otherwise weak rogue regimes capable of
have suffered budget cuts that are to delay cobbling together a miniscule ballistic
their deployments by two years. missile force. Building an effective, robust,
layered, global system of missile defenses is
But to be most effective, this array a prerequisite for maintaining American
global reconnaissance and targeting preeminence.
satellites should be linked to a global
network of space-based interceptors (or
space-based lasers). In fact, it is misleading
Space and Cyberspace
to think of such a system as a “national”
missile defense system, for it would be a No system of missile defenses can be
vital element in theater defenses, protecting fully effective without placing sensors and
U.S. allies or expeditionary forces abroad weapons in space. Although this would
from longer-range theater weapons. This is appear to be creating a potential new theater
why the Bush Administration’s missile of warfare, in fact space has been militarized
defense architecture, which is almost for the better part of four decades. Weather,
identical to the network described above, communications, navigation and
was called Global Protection Against reconnaissance satellites are increasingly
Limited Strikes (GPALS). By contrast, the essential elements in American military
Clinton Administration’s plan to develop power. Indeed, U.S. armed forces are
limited national missile defenses based upon uniquely dependent upon space. As the
Minuteman III missiles fitted with a so- 1996 Joint Strategy Review, a precursor to
called “exoatmospheric kill vehicle” is the the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review,
most technologically challenging, most concluded, “Space is already inextricably
expensive, and least effective form of long- linked to military operations on land, on the
range ballistic missile defense. Indeed, the sea, and in the air.” The report of the
Clinton Administration’s differentiation National Defense Panel agreed:
between theater and national missile defense “Unrestricted use of space has become a
systems is yet another legacy of the ABM major strategic interest of the United
Treaty, one that does not fit the current States.”
strategic circumstances. Moreover, by
differentiating between national and theater Given the advantages U.S. armed forces
defenses, current plans drive a wedge enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of
between the United States and its allies, and space, it is shortsighted to expect potential
risk “decoupling.” Conversely, American adversaries to refrain from attempting to
interests will diverge from those of our allies offset to disable or offset U.S. space
if theater defenses can protect our friends capabilities. And with the proliferation of
and forces abroad, but the American people space know-how and related technology
at home remain threatened. around the world, our adversaries will
inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same
In the post-Cold War era, America and space advantages in the future. Moreover,
its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have “space commerce” is a growing part of the
become the primary objects of deterrence global economy. In 1996, commercial

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

launches exceeded military launches in the space medium, and an ability to deny others
United States, and commercial revenues the use of space” – must be an essential
exceeded government expenditures on element of our military strategy. If America
space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial cannot maintain that control, its ability to
companies across more than 50 countries are conduct global military operations will be
developing, building, and operating space severely complicated, far more costly, and
systems. potentially fatally compromised.

Many of these commercial space

systems have direct military applications,
including information from global
positioning system constellations and better-
than-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 near-
real time, the disposition of all As exemplified by the Global
forces….In fact, national military Positioning Satellite above, space
forces, paramilitary units, terrorists,
and any other potential adversaries will
has become a new ‘international
share the high ground of space with the commons’ where commercial and
United States and its allies. security interests are intertwined.
Adversaries may also share the same
commercial satellite services for The complexity of space control will
communications, imagery, and
navigation….The space “playing field”
only grow as commercial activity increases.
is leveling rapidly, so U.S. forces will American and other allied investments in
be increasingly vulnerable. Though space systems will create a requirement to
adversaries will benefit greatly from secure and protect these space assets; they
space, losing the use of space may be are already an important measure of
more devastating to the United States. American power. Yet it will not merely be
It would be intolerable for U.S. enough to protect friendly commercial uses be deprived of capabilities in of space. As Space Command also
space. recognizes, the United States must also have
the capability to deny America's adversaries
In short, the unequivocal supremacy in the use of commercial space platforms for
space enjoyed by the United States today military purposes in times of crises and
will be increasingly at risk. As Colin Gray conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become
and John Sheldon have written, “Space the new “international commons,” where
control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an commercial and security interests are
optional extra.” For U.S. armed forces to intertwined and related. Just as Alfred
continue to assert military preeminence, Thayer Mahan wrote about “sea-power” at
control of space – defined by Space the beginning of the 20th century in this
Command as “the ability to assure access to sense, American strategists will be forced to
space, freedom of operations within the regard “space-power” in the 21st.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

To ensure America's control of space in coherent policy and program for achieving
the near term, the minimum requirements this goal.
are to develop a robust capability to
transport systems to space, carry on Ends and Means of Space Control
operations once there, and service and
recover space systems as needed. As
As with defense spending more broadly,
outlined by Space Command, carrying out
the state of U.S. “space forces” – the
this program would include a mix of re-
systems required to ensure continued access
useable and expendable launch vehicles and
and eventual control of space – has
vehicles that can operate within space,
deteriorated over the past decade, and few
including “space tugs to deploy,
new initiatives or programs are on the
reconstitute, replenish, refurbish, augment,
immediate horizon. The U.S. approach to
and sustain" space systems. But, over the
space has been one of dilatory drift. As
longer term,
Gen. Richard Myers, commander-in-chief of
maintaining In the future, it SPACECOM, put it, “Our Cold War-era
control of
space will
will be necessary capabilities have atrophied,” even though
to unite the those capabilities are still important today.
And while Space Command has a clear
require the current vision of what must be done in space, it
application SPACECOM speaks equally clearly about “the question of
of force both
in space and
vision for control resources.” As the command succinctly
of space to the notes its long-range plan: “When we match
from space,
the reality of space dependence against
including but institutional resource trends, we find a problem.”
not limited responsibilities
to anti-
and interests of a But in addition to the problem of lack of
resources, there is an institutional problem.
defenses and separate military Indeed, some of the difficulties in
defensive service. maintaining U.S. military space supremacy
result from the bureaucratic “black hole”
capable of protecting U.S. and allied
that prevents the SPACECOM vision from
satellites; space control cannot be sustained
gaining the support required to carry it out.
in any other fashion, with conventional land,
For one, U.S. military space planning
sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare.
remains linked to the ups and downs of the
This eventuality is already recognized by
National Aeronautics and Space
official U.S. national space policy, which
Administration. America’s difficulties in
states that the “Department of Defense shall
reducing the cost of space launches –
maintain a capability to execute the mission
perhaps the single biggest hurdle to
areas of space support, force enhancement,
improving U.S. space capabilities overall –
space control and force application.”
result in part from the requirements and
(Emphasis added.)
dominance of NASA programs over the past
several decades, most notably the space
In sum, the ability to preserve American
shuttle program. Secondly, within the
military preeminence in the future will rest
national security bureaucracy, the majority
in increasing measure on the ability to
of space investment decisions are made by
operate in space militarily; both the
the National Reconnaissance Office and the
requirements for effective global missile
Air Force, neither of which considers
defenses and projecting global conventional
military operations outside the earth's
military power demand it. Unfortunately,
atmosphere as a primary mission. And there
neither the Clinton Administration nor past
is no question that in an era of tightened
U.S. defense reviews have established a

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

budgets, investments in space-control commerce, politics and power. Any nation

capabilities have suffered for lack of wishing to assert itself globally must take
institutional support and have been squeezed account of this other new “global
out by these organization’s other priorities. commons.”
Although, under the Goldwater-Nichols
reforms of the mid-1980s, the unified The Internet is also playing an
commanders – of which SPACECOM is one increasingly important role in warfare and
– have a greater say in Pentagon human political conflict. From the early use
programming and budgeting, these powers of the Internet by Zapatista insurgents in
remain secondary to the traditional “raise- Mexico to the war in Kosovo, communi-
and-train” powers of the separate services. cation by computer has added a new
dimension to warfare. Moreover, the use of
Therefore, over the long haul, it will be the Internet to spread computer viruses
necessary to unite the essential elements of reveals how easy it can be to disrupt the
the current SPACECOM vision to the normal functioning of commercial and even
resource-allocation and institution-building military computer networks. Any nation
responsibilities of a military service. In which cannot assure the free and secure
addition, it is almost certain that the conduct access of its citizens to these systems will
of warfare in outer space will differ as much sacrifice an element of its sovereignty and
from traditional air warfare as air warfare its power.
has from warfare at sea or on land; space
warfare will demand new organizations, Although many concepts of “cyber-war”
operational strategies, doctrines and training have elements of science fiction about them,
schemes. Thus, the argument to replace and the role of the Defense Department in
U.S. Space Command with U.S. Space establishing “control,” or even what
Forces – a separate service under the “security” on the Internet means, requires a
Defense Department – is compelling. While consideration of a host of legal, moral and
it is conceivable that, as military space political issues, there nonetheless will
capabilities develop, a transitory “Space remain an imperative to be able to deny
Corps” under the Department of the Air America and its allies' enemies the ability to
Force might make sense, it ought to be disrupt or paralyze either the military's or
regarded as an intermediary step, analogous the commercial sector's computer networks.
to the World War II-era Army Air Corps, Conversely, an offensive capability could
not to the Marine Corps, which remains a offer America's military and political leaders
part of the Navy Department. If space an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary
control is an essential element for in a decisive manner.
maintaining American military preeminence
in the decades to come, then it will be Taken together, the prospects for space
imperative to reorganize the Department of war or “cyberspace war” represent the truly
Defense to ensure that its institutional revolutionary potential inherent in the notion
structure reflects new military realities. of military transformation. These future
forms of warfare are technologically
Cyberpace, or ‘Net-War’ 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
If outer space represents an emerging
the exercise of its power they must be sure
medium of warfare, then “cyberspace,” and
that these potential future forms of warfare
in particular the Internet hold similar
favor America just as today’s air, land and
promise and threat. And as with space,
sea warfare reflect United States military
access to and use of cyberspace and the
Internet are emerging elements in global

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Transforming U.S. transformation have been opposed and seen

their programs terminated by the services.
Conventional Forces Neither does the current process of “joint
experimentation” seem likely to speed the
Much has been written in recent years process of change. In sum, the transfor-
about the need to transform the conventional mation of the bulk of U.S. armed forces has
armed forces of the United States to take been stalled. Until the process of transfor-
advantage of the “revolution in military mation is treated as an enduring mission –
affairs,” the process of transformation within worthy of a constant allocation of dollars
the Defense Department has yet to bear and forces – it will remain stillborn.
serious fruit. The two visions of
transformation promulgated by the Joint There are some very good reasons why
Chiefs of Staff – Joint Vision 2010 and the this is so. In an era of insufficient defense
just-released Joint Vision 2020 – have been resources, it has been necessary to fund or
broad statements of principles and of staff any efforts at transformation by short-
commitment to transformation, but very changing other, more immediate, require-
little change can be seen in the acquisition of ments. Consequently, the attempt to deal
new weapons systems. Indeed, new ideas with the longer-term risks that a failure to
like the so-called “arsenal ship” which might transform U.S. armed forces will create has
actually have accelerated the process of

N o R &D , N o R M A ?
Declining R&D Funding Stymies Transformation

($ Billions, constant 2001)

Budget Authority














Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

threatened to raise the risks those forces face of operation, and organization to the armed
today; this is an unpleasant dilemma for a services.
force straining to meet the burdens of its
current missions. Activity today tends to This two-stage process is likely to take
drive out innovation for tomorrow. Second, several decades. Yet, although the precise
the lack of an immediate military competitor shape and direction of the transformation of
contributes to a sense of complacency about U.S. armed forces remains a matter for
the extent and duration of American military rigorous experimentation and analysis (and
dominance. Third, and perhaps most telling, will be discussed in more detail below in the
the process of transformation has yet to be section on the armed services), it is possible
linked to the strategic tasks necessary to to foresee the general characteristics of the
maintain American military dominance. current revolution in military affairs.
This is in part a problem for transformation Broadly speaking, these cover several
enthusiasts, who are better at forecasting principal areas of capabilities:
technological developments than aligning
those technological developments with the • Improved situational awareness and
requirements for American preeminence. sharing of information,
Thus consideration of the so-called “anti- • Range and endurance of platforms
access problem” – the observation that the and weapons,
proliferation of long-range, precision-strike • Precision and miniaturization,
capabilities will complicate the projection of • Speed and stealth,
U.S. military power and forces – has • Automation and simulation.
proceeded without much discussion of the
strategic effects on U.S. allies and American These characteristics will be combined
credibility of increased reliance on weapons in various ways to produce new military
and forces based in the United States rather capabilities. New classes of sensors –
than operating from forward locations. commercial and military; on land, on and
There may be many solutions to the anti- under sea, in the air and in space – will be
access problem, but only a few that will tend linked together in dense networks that can
to maintain rather than dilute American be rapidly configured and reconfigured to
geopolitical leadership. provide future commanders with an
unprecedented understanding of the
Further, transformation advocates tend battlefield. Communications networks will
to focus on the nature of revolutionary new be equally if not more ubiquitous and dense,
capabilities rather than how to achieve the capable of carrying vast amounts of
necessary transformation: thus the National information securely to provide widely
Defense Panel called for a strategy of dispersed and diverse units with a common
transformation without formulating a picture of the battlefield. Conversely,
strategy for transformation. There has been stealth techniques will be applied more
little discussion of exactly how to change broadly, creating “hider-finder” games of
today’s force into tomorrow’s force, while cat-and-mouse between sophisticated
maintaining U.S. military preeminence military forces. The proliferation of ballistic
along the way. Therefore, it will be and cruise missiles and long-range
necessary to undertake a two-stage process unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make
of transition – whereby today’s “legacy” it much easier to project military power
forces are modified and selectively around the globe. Munitions themselves
modernized with new systems readily will become increasingly accurate, while
available – and true transformation – when new methods of attack – electronic, “non-
the results of vigorous experimentation lethal,” biological – will be more widely
introduce radically new weapons, concepts available. Low-cost, long-endurance UAVs,

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

and even unattended “missiles in a box” will ligence, command and control, and long-
allow not only for long-range power projec- range precision strikes. Indeed, these capa-
tion but for sustained power projection. bilities are sufficient to allow the armed
Simulation technologies will vastly improve services to begin an “interim,” short- to
military training and mission planning. medium-term process of transformation
right away, creating new force designs and
Although it may take several decades operational concepts – designs and concepts
for the process of transformation to unfold, different than those contemplated by the
in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and current defense program – to maximize the
sea will be vastly different than it is today, capabilities that already exist. But these
and “combat” likely will take place in new must be viewed as merely a way-station
dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and toward a more thoroughgoing transfor-
perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare mation.
may no longer be fought by pilots manning
tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of The individual services also need to be
opposing fighters, but a regime dominated given greater bureaucratic and legal standing
by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On if they are to achieve these goals. Though a
land, the clash of massive, combined-arms full discussion of this issue is outside the
armored forces may be replaced by the purview of this study, the reduced impor-
dashes of much lighter, stealthier and tance of the civilian secretaries of the mili-
information-intensive forces, augmented by tary departments and the service chiefs of
fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in staff is increasingly inappropriate to the
soldiers’ pockets. Control of the sea could demands of a
be largely determined not by fleets of Until the process rapidly
surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but of transformation changing tech-
from land- and space-based systems, forcing nological,
navies to maneuver and fight underwater. is treated as an strategic and
Space itself will become a theater of war, as enduring military geopolitical
nations gain access to space capabilities and mission – worthy landscape.
come to rely on them; further, the distinction The central-
between military and commercial space
of a constant ization of
systems – combatants and noncombatants – allocation of power under
will become blurred. Information systems dollars and forces the Office of
will become an important focus of attack, – it will remain the Secretary
particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to of Defense and
short-circuit sophisticated American forces. stillborn. chairman of
And advanced forms of biological warfare the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Joint Staff, and
that can “target” specific genotypes may the increased role of the theater comman-
transform biological warfare from the realm ders-in-chief, products of Cold-War-era
of terror to a politically useful tool. defense reforms and especially the Gold-
water-Nichols Act of 1986, have created a
This is merely a glimpse of the possi- process of defense decision-making that
bilities inherent in the process of transfor- often elevates immediate concerns above
mation, not a precise prediction. Whatever long-term needs. In an era of uncertainty
the shape and direction of this revolution in and transformation, it is more important to
military affairs, the implications for con- foster competing points of view about the
tinued American military preeminence will how to apply new technologies to enduring
be profound. As argued above, there are missions.
many reasons to believe that U.S. forces
already possess nascent revolutionary capa- This is especially debilitating to the
bilities, particularly in the realms of intel- process of transformation, which has

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

become infected with a “lowest common Yet the United States would be unwise
denominator” approach. “Jointness” to accept the larger proposition that the
remains an important dimension of U.S. strategic value of land power has been
military power and it will be necessary to eroded to the point where the nation no
consider the joint role of the weapons, longer needs to maintain large ground
concepts of operations and organizations forces. As long as wars and other military
created through the process of transfor- operations derive their logic from political
mation. The capability for seamless and purposes, land power will remain the truly
decisive joint operations is an important decisive form of military power. Indeed, it
aspect of warfare. Yet, the process of is ironic that, as post-Cold-War military
transformation will be better served by operations have become more sophisticated
fostering a spirit of service competition and and more reliant on air power and long-
experimentation. At this early stage of range strikes, they have become less
transformation, it is unclear which politically decisive. American military
technologies will prove most effective; preeminence will continue to rest in
better to undertake a variety of competing significant part on the ability to maintain
experiments, even though some may prove sufficient land forces to achieve political
to be dead-ends. To achieve this goal, goals such as removing a dangerous and
service institutions and prerogatives must be hostile regime when necessary. Thus,
strengthened to restore a better balance future Army forces – and land forces more
within the Department of Defense. The broadly – must devise ways to survive and
essential first step is to rebuild service maneuver in a radically changed
secretariats to attract highly talented people technological environment. The Army must
who enjoy the political trust of the become more tactically agile, more
administration they serve. A parallel second operationally mobile, and more strategically
step is to reinvigorate the service staffs and deployable. It must increasingly rely on
to select energetic service chiefs of staff. At other services to concentrate firepower when
a time of rapid change, American military required, while concentrating on its “core
preeminence is more likely to be sustained competencies” of maneuver, situational
through a vigorous competition for missions awareness, and political decisiveness. In
and resources than through a bureaucracy – particular the process of Army transfor-
and a conception of “jointness” – defined at mation should:
the very height of the Cold War.
• Move ahead with experiments to
st create new kinds of independent units
Toward a 21 Century Army
using systems now entering final
There is very little question that the development and early procurement –
development of new technologies increas- such as the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft
ingly will make massed, mechanized armies and the HIMARS light-weight rocket
vulnerable in high-intensity wars against artillery system – capable of longer-
sophisticated forces. The difficulty of range operations and self-
moving large formations in open terrain, deployments. Once mature, such
even at night – suggested during the battle of units would replace forward-based
Khafji during the Gulf War – has diminished heavy forces.
the role of tank armies in the face of the kind
of firepower and precision that American air • Experiment vigorously to understand
power can bring to bear. This is an undeni- the long-term implications of the
able change in the nature of advanced land revolution in military affairs for land
warfare, a change that will alter the size, forces. In particular, the Army
structure and nature of the U.S. 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 maximize current capabilities and introduce

capabilities. selected new systems, and understanding the
challenges and opportunities of information-
As argued above, the two-stage process intensive operations, it must begin to seek
of transforming the U.S. armed forces is answers to fundamental questions about fu-
sufficiently important to consider it a sep- ture land forces. These questions include is-
arate mission for the military services and sues of strategic deployability, how to ma-
for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The need for neuver on increasingly transparent battle-
both the near-term and long-term transfor- fields and how to operate in urban environ-
mation requires that a separate organization ments, to name but a few. If the first phase
within these institutions act as the advocate of transformation requires the better part of
and agent of revolutionary change. For the the next decade to complete, the Army must
U.S. Army, the appropriate home for the then be ready to begin to implement more
transformation process is the Training and far-reaching changes. Moreover, the
Doctrine Command. The service needs to technologies, operational concepts and
establish a permanent unit under its Com- organizations must be relatively mature –
bined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, they can not merely exist as briefing charts
Kansas to oversee the process of research, or laboratory concepts. As the first phase of
development and experi-mentation required transformation winds down, initial field
to transform today’s Army into the Army of experiments for this second and more
the future. profound phase of change must begin.

With the need to field the independent, While the exact scope and nature of
combined-arms units described above, this such change is a matter for experimentation,
“transformation laboratory” must be estab- Army studies already suggest that it will be
lished as rapidly as possible. Although dramatic. Consider just the potential
many of the weapons systems already exist changes that might effect the infantryman.
or are readily available, the introduction of Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated,
new systems such as an armored gun sys- climate-controlled, powered fighting suits,
tem, wheeled personnel carrier such as the laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon-
Light Armored Vehicle or the HIMARS like “active” camouflage. “Skin-patch”
rocket artillery system in sufficient numbers pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus
will take several years. Further, the process concentration and enhance endurance and
of “digitization” – the proliferation of infor- strength. A display mounted on a soldier’s
mation and communications in tactical units helmet permits a comprehensive view of the
– must be accelerated. Finally, the Army battlefield – in effect to look around corners
needs to increase its investment in selected and over hills – and allows the soldier to
new systems such as UAVs and the Coman- access the entire combat information and
che scout helicopter to field them more intelligence system while filtering incoming
rapidly. These will need to be integrated data to prevent overload. Individual
into a coherent organization and doctrinal weapons are more lethal, and a soldier’s
concept. The process of near-term experi- ability to call for highly precise and reliable
mentation needs to be sharply focused on indirect fires – not only from Army systems
meeting the Army’s near- and mid-term but those of other services – allows each
needs, and to produce the new kinds of units individual to have great influence over huge
needed. spaces. Under the “Land Warrior” program,
some Army experts envision a “squad” of
Yet this initial process of transformation seven soldiers able to dominate an area the
must be just the first step toward a more size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in
radical reconfiguring of the Army. Even 1863, some 165,000 men fought.
while the Army is fielding new units that

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

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 precision-
guided 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,
The Army’s Even radical as the importance of East Asia grows in U.S.
‘Land concepts such as those military strategy, the requirements for range
Warrior’ con-sidered under the and endurance may outweigh traditional
experiments “Land Warrior” project measures of aircraft performance. In sum,
will greatly do not involve out- although the U.S. Air Force is enjoying a
increase the landish technologies or moment of technological and tactical
value of flights of science supremacy, it is uncertain that the service is
dismounted fiction. Many already positioning itself well for a transformed
exist today, and many future.
follow developments in
civilian medical, communications, infor- In particular, the Air Force’s emphasis
mation science and other fields of research. on traditional, tactical air operations is
While initiating the process of transfor- handicapping the nation’s ability to maintain
mation in the near term, and while fielding and extend its dominance in space. Over the
new kinds of units to meet current missions, past decade, the Air Force has intermittently
the Army must simultaneously invest and styled itself as a “space and air force,” and
experiment vigorously to create the systems, has prepared a number of useful long-range
soldiers, units and concepts to maintain studies that underscore the centrality of
American preeminence in land combat for space control in future military operations.
the longer-term future. Yet the service’s pattern of investments has
belied such an understanding of the future;
Global Strikes from Air and Space as described above, the Air Force has
ploughed every available dollar into the F-
The rapidly growing ability of the U.S. 22 program. While the F-22 is a superb
Air Force to conduct precision strikes, over fighter and perhaps a workable strike
increasingly greater range, marks a aircraft, its value under a transformed
significant change in the nature of high- paradigm of high-technology warfare may
technology warfare. From the Gulf War exceed its cost – had not the majority of the
through the air war for Kosovo, the F-22 program already been paid for, the
sophistication of Air Force precision decision to proceed with the project today
bombing has continued to grow. Yet, 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 the F-22, the Air Force will remain primarily
Fighter program would be more expensive capable of sophisticated theater-strike
still and would forestall any major warfare. Yet to truly transform itself for the
transformation efforts. Therefore, the Air coming century, the Air Force must
Force should: accelerate its efforts to create the new
systems – and, to repeat, the space-based
• Complete its planned F-22 systems – that are necessary to shift the
procurement while terminating its scope of air operations from the theater level
participation in the JSF program and to the global level. While mounting large-
upgrading the capabilities of existing scale and sustained air campaigns will
tactical aircraft, especially by continue to rely heavily upon in-theater
purchasing additional precision assets, a greater balance must be placed on
munitions and developing new ones long-range systems.
and increasing numbers of support
aircraft to allow for longer-range The Navy Returns ‘To the Sea’
operations and greater survivability;
Since the end of the Cold War, the Navy
• Increase efforts to develop long-range has made a dramatic break with past
and high-endurance unmanned aerial doctrine, which emphasized the need to
vehicles, not merely for establish control of the sea. But with
reconnaissance but for strike and American control of the “international
even air-combat missions; commons” without serious challenge – for
the moment – the Navy now preaches the
• Pursue the development of large- gospel of power projection ashore and
bodied stealthy aircraft for a variety operations in littoral waters. In a series of
of roles, including lift, refueling, and posture statements and white papers
other support missions as well as beginning with “…From the Sea” in 1992
strike missions. and leading to 1998’s “Forward…from the
Sea: Anytime, Anywhere,” the Navy, in
• Target significant new investments cooperation with the Marine Corps,
toward creating capabilities for embraced this view of close-in operations; to
operating in space, including quote the original “From the Sea:”
inexpensive launch vehicles, new
satellites and transatmospheric Our ability to command the seas in
vehicles, in preparation for a decision areas where we anticipate future
as to whether space warfare is operations allows us to resize our Naval
sufficiently different from combat Forces and to concentrate more on
within earth’s atmosphere so as to capabilities required in the complex
require a separate “space service.” operating environment of the “littoral”
or coastlines of the earth….This
strategic direction, derived from the
Such a transformation would in fact
National Security Strategy, represents a
better realize the Air Force’s stated goal of fundamental shift away from open-
becoming a service with true global reach ocean warfighting on the sea—toward
and global strike capabilities. At the joint operations conducted from the sea.
moment, today’s Air Force gives a glimpse
of such capabilities, and does a remarkable The “From the Sea” series also has
job of employing essentially tactical systems made the case for American military
in a world-wide fashion. And, for the period presence around the world and equated this
of transition mandated by these legacy forward presence specifically with naval
systems and by the limitations inherent in presence. Following the lead of the

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy and anti-ship missiles, and other weapons that
Marine Corps argue that “shaping and will complicate the operations of U.S. fleets
responding require presence – maintaining in restricted, littoral waters. The Chinese
forward-deployed, combat-ready naval navy has just recently taken delivery of the
forces. Being ‘on-scene’ matters! It is and first of several planned Sovremenny class
will remain a distinctly naval contribution to destroyers, purchased along with supersonic,
peacetime engagement….The inherent anti-ship cruise missiles from Russia, greatly
flexibility of naval forces allows a minor improving China’s ability to attack U.S.
crisis or conflict to be resolved quickly be Navy ships.
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 China’s acquisition of modern Russian
its strategy of peacetime engagement. destroyers and supersonic anti-ship
Their power reassures allies and deters cruise missiles will complicate U.S.
would-be aggressors….The combined
capabilities of a carrier battle group surface fleet operations.
and an amphibious ready group offer
air, sea, and land power that can be In addition, America’s adversaries will
applied across the full spectrum of gradually acquire the ability to target surface
conflict. fleets, not only in littoral waters but perhaps
on the open oceans. Regional powers have
Thus, while the Navy admitted that the increasing access to commercial satellites
strategic realities of the post-Soviet era that not only can provide them with
called for a reordering of sea service mission detection and militarily useful targeting
priorities and a resizing of the fleet, it has information, but provide also important
yet to consider that the new era also requires elements of the command, control and
a reorientation of its pattern of operations communication capabilities that would be
and a reshaping of the fleet. Moreover, over needed. As Fages put it, “Of concern in the
the longer term, the Navy’s ability to operate 21st century is the potential that the
in littoral waters is going to be increasingly combination of space-based reconnaissance,
difficult, as the Navy itself realizes. As Rear long-range precision strike weapons and
Adm. Malcolm Fages, director of the Navy’s robust command and control networks could
submarine warfare division, told the Senate make non-stealthy platforms increasingly
Armed Services Committee, “A variety of vulnerable to attack near the world’s
independent studies reviewing key trends in littorals.”
future naval warfare have concluded that
21st century littoral warfare could be marked To preserve and enhance the ability to
by the use of asymmetrical means to counter project naval power ashore and to conduct
a U.S. Navy whose doctrine and force strike operations – as well as assume a large
structure projects…power ashore from the role in the network of ballistic missile
littorals.” Already potential adversaries defense systems – the Navy must accelerate
from China to Iran are investing in quiet the process of near-term transformation. It
diesel submarines, tactical ballistic missiles, must also addressing the longer-term
cruise and other shore- and sea-launched 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 Navy should continue to shift away from
waves in the future as it does today. Navy carrier-centered operations to “networks” of
transformation should be a two-phase varied kinds of surface ships, perhaps
process: leading to fleets composed of stealthy
surface ships and submerged vessels.
• Near-term Navy transformation
should accelerate the construction of The focus of the Navy’s near-term
planned generations of 21st century transformation efforts should be on
surface combatants with increased enhancing its ability to conduct strike
stealth characteristics, improved and operations and improving its contributions
varied missiles and long-range guns to joint operations on land by patrolling
for strikes ashore. Efforts to littoral waters. The Navy’s initiatives to
implement “network-centric” warfare wring the most out of its current vessels
under the cooperative engagement through the better gathering and distribution
concept should be accelerated. The of information – what the Navy calls
Navy should begin to structure itself “network-centric” warfare as opposed to
for its emerging role in missile “platform-centric” warfare – should be
defenses, determining, for example, accelerated. In addition to improving
whether current surface combatant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
vessels and a traditional rotational capabilities and command and control
deployment scheme are apropos for networks, the Navy should, as described
this mission. above, acquire larger fleets of surface
combatants and submarines capable of
• In the longer term, the Navy must launching cruise missiles. Expanding the
determine whether its current focus Navy’s fleet of surface combatants primarily
on littoral operations can be sustained should provide an opportunity to speed up
under a transformed paradigm of research and development of the new classes
naval warfare and how to retain of destroyers and cruisers – and perhaps new
control of open-ocean areas in the frigates – while perhaps extending only
future. Experiments in operating modestly current destroyer programs.
varied fleets of UAVs should begin
now, perhaps employing a retired Moreover, the Navy should accelerate
current carrier. Consideration should efforts to develop other strike warfare
be directed toward other forms of munitions and weapons. In addition to
unmanned sea and air vehicles and procuring greater numbers of attack
toward an expanded role for submarines, the Navy should convert four of
submarines. its Trident ballistic missile submarines to
conventional strike platforms, much as the
The shifting pattern of naval operations Air Force has done with manned bombers.
and the changes in force structure outlined Further, the Navy should develop other
above also should show the way for a strike weaponry beyond current-generation
transformation of the Navy for the emerging Tomahawk cruise missiles. Adding the
environment for war at sea. In the imme- Joint Direct Attack Munition – applying
diate future, this means an improvement in Global-Positioning-System guidance to
naval strike capabilities for joint operations current “dumb” bombs – will improve the
in littoral waters and improved command precision-strike capabilities of current naval
and control capabilities. Yet the Navy must aircraft, but improving the range and
soon prepare for a renewed challenge on the accuracy of naval gunfire, or deploying a
open oceans, beginning now to develop version of the Army Tactical Missile System
ways to project power as the risk to surface at sea would also increase the Navy’s
ships rises substantially. In both cases, the

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

contribution to joint warfare in littoral but, given the service life of ships, well
regions. within the approaching planning horizons of
the U.S. Navy – the Navy’s focus may
However, improving the ability of return again to keeping command of the
current-generation ships and weapons to open oceans and sea lines of communi-
work together is important, but may not cation. Absent a rigorous program of
address the most fundamental nature of this experimentation to investigate the nature of
transformation. The Navy has already the revolution in military affairs as it applies
demonstrated the ability to operate to war at sea, the Navy might face a future
unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles Pearl Harbor – as unprepared for war in the
from submarines and is improving its post-carrier era as it was unprepared for war
abilities to communicate to submarines; as at the dawn of the carrier age.
long as submerged vessels remain relatively
stealthy, they may be able to operate where As Goes the Navy, So Goes the
surface vessels face high risks.
Marine Corps
Thus, the Navy should devote an
element of its force structure to a deeper Ironically for a service that is embracing
investigation of the revolution in military certain aspects of the revolution in military
affairs. Beyond immediate opportunities affairs, the long-term pattern of
such as conversion of Trident submarines, transformation poses the deepest questions
consideration should be given to employing for the Marine Corps. For if the
a deactivated survivability of surface vessels increasingly
carrier to better The Navy will be in doubt, the Marines’ means of
understand the should consider delivery must likewise come into question.
possibilities of Although the Corps is quite right to develop
using a de- faster, longer-range means of ship-to-shore
operating large
fleets of UAVs at activated operations in the V-22 and Advanced
sea. Likewise, carrier to better Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the potential
submerged vulnerability of Marine amphibious ships is
understand the almost certain to become the limiting factor
“missile pods,”
either perma-
possibilities and in future operations. While the utility of
nently deployed problems of Marine infantry in lower-intensity
or laid covertly operating large operations will remain high, the Marines’
by submarines in ability to con-tribute to high-technology
fleets of UAVs wars – at least when operating from the
times of crisis,
could increase at sea. ships that they rely on for everything from
strike capabilities without risking surface command and communications to logistics –
vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the may become marginalized. Also, the
Navy is moving toward “network-centric” relatively slow speeds of Marine ships limit
warfare, it should explore ways of their flexibility in times of crisis.
increasing the number of “nodes on the net.”
Over the next decade, the Marines’
For the moment, the U.S. Navy enjoys a efforts toward transformation ought to allow
level of global hegemony that surpasses that the Corps to lighten its structures and rely on
of the Royal Navy during its heyday. While other services, and especially the Navy, to
the ability to project naval power ashore is, provide much of its firepower. This will
as it has always been, an important permit the Marines to shed many of the
subsidiary mission for the Navy, it may not heavy systems acquired during the Cold
remain the service’s primary focus through War, to reduce its artillery (the Marines,
the coming decades. Over the longer term – 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 Thus, the long-term utility of the Marine
and more of a logistical burden) and Corps rests heavily on the prospects for true
eventually its fixed-wing aviation. Indeed, transformation. As with the Army, if the
many Marine F-18s and EA-6Bs spend the relationship between firepower and
bulk of their time on regular aircraft carrier maneuver and situational awareness cannot
rotations and in support of Air Force be redefined, then the relevance of land
operations. Likewise, the long-term future forces and naval infantry in future wars will
of the AV-8B Harrier is in doubt. The be sharply curtailed – and the ability of the
Marines operate a relatively small and United States to undertake politically
increasingly obsolescent fleet of Harriers; decisive operations will likewise be limited.
while service-life extension programs may The proliferation of technologies for
be possible, the Corps will soon approach delivering highly accurate fires over
the day where it must contemplate life increasingly great distances poses a great
without fixed-wing air support of its own, challenge for both the Army and the Marine
especially if the Joint Strike Fighter program Corps, but rather than attempting to compete
is terminated. Consequently, the Marine in the game of applying long-range fires,
Corps should consider development of a both services would be better off attempting
“gunship” version of the V-22 and pursue to complement the vastly improved strike
unmanned combat aerial vehicles, as well as capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and
accelerating its efforts to develop methods indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to
of joint-service fire support. future space capabilities as well.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century


What, then, is the price of continued defense spending – has created a severe
American geopolitical leadership and “defense deficit,” totaling tens of billions of
military preeminence? dollars annually.

A finely detailed answer is beyond the The Congress has been complicit in this
scope of this study. Too many of the force defense decline. In the first years of the
posture and service structure recommen- administration, Congress acquiesced in the
dations above involve factors that current sharp reductions made by the Clinton
defense planning has not accounted for. Administration from the amount projected in
Suffice it to say that an expanded American the final Bush defense plan. Since the
security perimeter, new technologies and Republicans won
weapons systems including robust missile control of Use of the post-
defenses, new kinds of organizations and Congress in 1994, Cold War
operating concepts, new bases and the like very slight “peace
will not come cheap. Nonetheless, this additions have
section will attempt to establish broad guide- been made to dividend” to
lines for a level of defense spending suf- administration balance the
ficient to maintain America military pre- defense requests, federal budget
eminence. In recent years, a variety of yet none has been
analyses of the mismatch between the able to turn around
has created a
Clinton Administration’s proposed defense the pattern of “defense
budgets and defense program have appeared. defense decline deficit” totaling
The estimates all agree that the Clinton until this year. tens of billions
program is underfunded; the differences lie Even these in-
in gauging the amount of the shortage and creases were
of dollars
range from about $26 billion annually to achieved by the annually.
$100 billion annually, with the higher use of accounting
numbers representing the more rigorous gimmicks that
analyses. allow the government to circumvent the
limitations of the 1997 balanced budget
Trends in Defense Spending agreement.

Through all the accounting gimmicks,

For the first time in 15 years, the 2001
defense spending has been almost perfectly
defense budget may reflect a modest real
flat – indeed, the totals have been less than
increase in U.S. defense spending. Both
$1 billion apart – for the past four years.
President Clinton’s defense budget request
The steepest declines in defense spending
and the figures contained in the congres-
were accomplished during the early years of
sional budget resolution would halt the slide
the Clinton Administration, when defense
in defense budgets. Yet the extended paying
spending levels fell from about $339 billion
of the “peace dividend” – and the creation of
in 1992 to $277 billion in 1996. The
today’s federal budget surplus, the product
cumulative effects of reduced defense
of increased tax revenues and reduced

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

spending over a decade or more have been shortfall is the question of what costs are not
even more severe. A recent study by the captured. All of these estimates measure the
Center for Strategic and International gap between current defense plans and
Studies, Avoiding the Defense Train Wreck programs and current budgets; they make no
in the New Millennium, compared the final allowance for the new missions and needs of
Bush defense plan, covering 1994 through the post-Cold War world. They do not
1999, with the defense plan of the Clinton capture the costs of deploying effective
Administration and found that a combina- missile defenses. They do not account for
tion of budget changes and internal the costs of constabulary missions. They do
Pentagon actions had resulted in a net not consider the costs of transformation.
reduction in defense spending of $162 Nor do they calculate the costs of the other
billion from the Bush plan to the Clinton recommendations of this report, such as
plan. Congressional budget increases and strengthening, reconfiguring, and reposition-
supplemental appropriations requests added ing today’s force.
back about $52 billion, but that spending for
the most part covered the cost of contin- In fact, the best way to measure defense
gency operations and other readiness spending over longer periods of time is as a
shortfalls – it did not buy back much of the portion of national wealth and federal
modernization that was deferred. Compared spending. By these metrics, defense budgets
to Bush-era budgets, the Clinton Admin- have continued to decline even as
istration reduced procurement spending an Americans have become more prosperous in
average of $40 billion annually. During the recent years. The defense budget now totals
period from 1993 to 2000, deferred pro- less than 3 percent of the gross domestic
curements – the infamous “procurement product – the lowest level of U.S. defense
bow wave” – more than doubled from spending since the Depression. Defense
previous levels to $426 billion, according to accounts for about 15 percent of federal
the report. spending – slightly more than interest on the
debt, and less than one third of the amount
The CSIS report is but the most recent spent on Social Security, Medicare and other
in a series of reports gauging the size of the entitlement programs, which account for 54
mismatch between current long-term percent of federal spending. As the annual
defense plans and budgets. The Congres- federal budget has moved from deficit to
sional Budget Office’s latest estimate of the surplus and more resources have become
annual mismatch is at least $90 billion. available, there has been no serious or
Even the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review sustained effort to recapitalize U.S. armed
itself allowed for a $12-to-15-billion annual forces.
funding shortfall; now the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, according to news reports, are As troublesome as the trends of the past
insisting on a $30-billion-per-year increase decade have been, as inadequate as current
in defense spending. In 1997 the Center for budgets are, the longer-term future is more
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments troubling still. If current spending levels are
calculated the annual shortfall at approxi- maintained, by some projections, the amount
mately $26 billion and has now increased its of the defense shortfall will be almost as
total to $50 billion; analyst Michael large as the defense budget itself by 2020 –
O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution pegs 2.3 percent compared to 2.4 percent of gross
that gap at $27 billion, at a minimum. domestic product. In particular, as modern-
ization spending slips farther and farther
Perhaps more important than the behind requirements, the procurement bow
question of which of these estimates best wave will reach tsunami proportions, says
calculates the amount of the current defense CSIS: “By continuing to kick the can down

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

Second World War

Trends in Defense Spending, 1940-2001





Korean War

Vietnam War
Reagan Buildup

Post-Cold War Drawdown

1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000

the road, the military departments will, in Budgets and the Strategy
effect, create a situation in which they
require $4.4 trillion in procurement dollars”
Of Retreat
from 2006 through 2020 to maintain the
Recent defense reviews, and the 1997
current force.
Quadrennial Defense Review and the
accompanying report of the National
After 2010 – seemingly a long way off
Defense Panel especially, have framed the
but well within traditional defense planning
dilemma facing the Pentagon and the nation
horizons – the outlook for increased military
as a whole as a question of risk. At current
spending under current plans becomes even
and planned spending levels, the United
more doubtful. In the coming decades, the
States can preserve current forces and
network of social entitlement programs,
capabilities to execute current missions and
particularly Social Security, will generate a
sacrifice modernization, innovation and
further squeeze on other federal spending
transformation, or it can reduce personnel
programs. If defense budgets remain at
strength and force structure further to pay
projected levels, America’s global military
for new weapons and forces. Despite the
preeminence will be impossible to maintain,
QDR’s rhetoric about shaping the current
as will the world order that is secured by
strategic environment, responding to crises
that preeminence.
and preparing now for an uncertain future,

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

the Clinton Administration’s defense plans require significant further cuts in the size of
continue to place a higher priority on im- U.S. armed forces. According to CSIS, a
mediate needs than on preparing for a more shift in resources that would up the rate of
challenging technological or geo-political modernized equipment to 76 percent – not a
future; as indicated in the force posture figure specified by the NDP but one not
section above, the QDR retains the two-war inconsistent with that general approach –
standard as the central feature of defense would require reducing the total strength of
planning and the sine qua non of America’s U.S. forces to just 1 million, again assuming
claim to be a global superpower. The 3 percent of GDP were devoted to defense
National Defense Panel, with its call for a spending. Thus, at current spending levels
“transformation strategy,” argued that the the Pentagon must choose between force
“priority must go to the future.” The two- structure and modernization.
war standard, in the panel’s assessment, “has
become a means of justifying current forces. When it is recalled that a projection of
This approach focuses resources on a low- defense spending levels at 3 percent of GDP
probability scenario, which consumes funds represents the most optimistic assumption
that could be used to reduce risk to our long- about current Pentagon plans, the horns of
term security.” this dilemma appear sharper still: at these
levels, U.S. forces soon will be too old or
Again, the CSIS study’s affordability too small. Following the administration’s
assessments suggest the trade-offs between “live for today” path will ensure that, in
manpower and force structure that must be some future high-intensity war, U.S. forces
made under current will lack the cutting-edge technologies that
If defense budget constraints. For they have come to rely on. Following the
example, CSIS esti- NDP’s “prepare for tomorrow” path, U.S.
spending mates that the cost of forces will lack the manpower needed to
remains at modernizing the conduct their current missions. From con-
current current 1.37 million- stabulary duties to the conduct of major
levels, U.S. man force would theater wars, the ability to defend current
require procurement U.S. security interests will be placed at
forces will spending of $164 growing risk.
soon be too billion per year. While
old or too we might not agree In a larger sense, these two approaches
with every aspect of the differ merely about the nature and timing of
small. methodology under- a strategy of American retreat. By commit-
lying this calculation, the larger point is ting forces to the Balkans, maintaining U.S.
clear: if defense spending remains at current presence in the Persian Gulf, and by respon-
levels, as current plans under the QDR ding to Chinese threats to Taiwan and send-
assume, the Pentagon would only be able to ing peacekeepers to East Timor, the Clinton
modernize a little more than half the force. Administration has, haltingly, incrementally
Under this scenario, U.S. armed forces and often fecklessly, taken some of the
would become increasingly obsolescent, necessary steps for strengthening the new
expensive to operate and outclassed on the American security perimeter. But by
battlefield. As the report concludes, “U.S. holding defense spending and military
military forces will lose their credibility both strength to their current levels, the
at home and abroad regarding their size, age, administration has compromised the nation’s
and technological capabilities for carrying ability to fight large-scale wars today and
out the national military strategy.” consumed the investments that ought to have
Conversely, adopting the National Defense been made to preserve American military
Panel approach of accepting greater risk preeminence tomorrow. The reckoning for
today while preparing for the future would

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 maintained. But as service chiefs and other
are unable to meet the demands placed upon senior military leaders readily admit, today’s
them. This may happen when they take on forces are barely adequate to maintain the
one mission too many – if, say, NATO’s rotation of units to the myriad peacekeeping
role in the Balkans expands, or U.S troops and other constabulary duties they face
enforce a demilitarized zone on the Golan while keeping adequate forces for a single
Heights – and a major theater war breaks major theater war in reserve.
out. Or, it may happen when two major
theater wars occur nearly simultaneously. An active-duty force reduced by another
Or it may happen when a new great power – 300,000 to 400,000 – almost another 30
a rising China – seeks to challenge percent cut from current levels and a total
American interests and allies in an important reduction of more than half from Cold-War
region. levels – to free up funds for modernization
and transformation would be clearly
By contrast, a strategy that sacrifices inadequate to the demands of today’s
force structure and current readiness for missions and national military strategy. If
future transformation will leave American the United States withdrew forces from the
armed forces unable to meet today’s Balkans, for example, it is unlikely that the
missions and commitments. Since today’s rest of NATO would be able to long pick up
peace is the unique product of American the slack; conversely, such a withdrawal
preeminence, a failure to preserve that would provoke a political crisis within
preeminence allows others an opportunity to NATO that would certainly result in the end
shape the world in ways antithetical to of American leadership within NATO; it
American interests and principles. The price might well spell the end of the alliance
of American preeminence is that, just as it itself. Likewise, terminating the no-fly-
was actively obtained, it must be actively zones 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 sensible forward-basing posture; long-term

Persian Gulf into question; the reaction security commitments should not be
would be the same in East Asia following a supported by the debilitating, short-term
withdrawal of U.S. forces or a lowering of rotation of units except as a last resort. In
American military presence. The conse- Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia,
quences sketched by the Quadrennial enduring U.S. security interests argue
Defense Review regarding a retreat from a forcefully for an enduring American military
two-war capability would inexorably come presence. Pentagon policy-makers must
to pass: allies and adversaries alike would adjust their plans to accommodate these
begin to hedge against American retreat and realities and to reduce the wear and tear on
discount American security guarantees. At service personnel. We have also argued that
current budget levels, a modernization or the services can begin now to create new,
transformation strategy is in danger of more flexible units and military
becoming a “no-war” strategy. While the organizations that may, over time, prove to
American peace might not come to a be smaller than current organizations, even
catastrophic end, it would quickly begin to for peacekeeping and constabulary
unravel; the result would be much the same operations.
in time.
Even as American military forces patrol
The Price of American an expanding security perimeter, we believe
it essential to retain sufficient forces based
Preeminence in the continental United States capable of
rapid reinforcement and, if needed, applying
As admitted above, calculating the exact massive combat power to stabilize a region
price of armed forces capable of maintaining in crisis or to bring a war to a successful
American military preeminence today and conclusion. There should be a strong
extending it into the future requires more strategic synergy between U.S. forces
detailed analysis than this broad study can overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units
provide. We have advocated a force posture operating abroad are an indication of
and service structure that diverges American geopolitical interests and
significantly both from current plans and leadership, provide significant military
alternatives advanced in other studies. We power to shape events and, in wartime,
believe it is necessary to increase slightly create the conditions for victory when
the personnel strength of U.S. forces – many reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the
of the missions associated with patrolling ability to deliver an unquestioned “knockout
the expanding American security perimeter punch” through the rapid introduction of
are manpower-intensive, and planning for stateside units will increase the shaping
major theater wars must include the ability power of forces operating overseas and the
for politically decisive campaigns including vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an
extended post-combat stability operations. enduring need for large-scale American
Also, this expanding perimeter argues forces.
strongly for new overseas bases and forward
operating locations to facilitate American But while arguing for improvements in
political and military operations around the today’s armed services and force posture,
world. we are unwilling to sacrifice the ability to
maintain preeminence in the longer term. If
At the same time, we have argued that the United States is to maintain its
established constabulary missions can be preeminence – and the military revolution
made less burdensome on soldiers, sailors, now underway is already an American-led
airmen and Marines and less burdensome on revolution – the Pentagon must begin in
overall U.S. force structure by a more earnest to transform U.S. military forces.

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

We have argued that this transformation precisely based upon known budget plans is
mission is yet another new mission, as unsound. Likewise, generating independent
compelling as the need to maintain cost analyses is beyond the scope of this
European stability in the Balkans, prepare report and would be based upon great
for large, theater wars or any other of political and technological uncertainties –
today’s missions. This is an effort that any detailed assumptions about the cost of
involves more than new weaponry or new overseas bases or revolutionary
technologies. It requires experimental units weaponry are bound to be highly speculative
free to invent new concepts of operation, absent rigorous net assessments and
new doctrines, new tactics. It will require program analysis. Nevertheless, we believe
years, even decades, to fully grasp and that, over time, the program we advocate
implement such changes, and will surely would require budgets roughly equal to
involve mistakes and inefficiencies. Yet the those necessary to fully fund the QDR force
maintenance of the American peace requires – a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of
that American forces be preeminent when gross domestic product. A sensible plan
they are called upon to face very different would add $15 billion to $20 billion to total
adversaries in the future. defense spending annually through the
Future Years Defense Program; this would
Finally, we have argued that we must result in a defense “topline” increase of $75
restore the foundation of American security billion to $100 billion over that period, a
and the basis for U.S. military operations small percentage of the $700 billion on-
abroad by improving our homeland budget surplus now projected for that same
defenses. The current American peace will period. We believe that the new president
be short-lived if should commit his administration to a plan
The program we the United to achieve that level of spending within four
advocate – one States becomes years.
vulnerable to
that would provide rogue powers In its simplest terms, our intent is to
America with with small, provide forces sufficient to meet today’s
forces to meet the inexpensive missions as effectively and efficiently as
strategic demands arsenals of possible, while readying U.S. armed forces
ballistic missiles for the likely new missions of the future.
of the world’s sole and nuclear Thus, the defense program described above
superpower – warheads or would preserve current force structure while
requires budget other weapons improving its readiness, better posturing it
of mass for its current missions, and making selected
levels to be destruction. We investments in modernization. At the same
increased to 3.5 to cannot allow time, we would shift the weight of defense
3.8 percent of the North Korea, recapitalization efforts to transforming U.S.
GDP. Iran, Iraq or forces for the decades to come. At four
similar states to cents on the dollar of America’s national
undermine American leadership, intimidate wealth, this is an affordable program.
American allies or threaten the American
homeland itself. The blessings of the It is also a wise program. Only such a
American peace, purchased at fearful cost force posture, service structure and level of
and a century of effort, should not be so defense spending will provide America and
trivially squandered. its leaders with a variety of forces to meet
the strategic demands of the world’s sole
Taken all in all, the force posture and superpower. Keeping the American peace
service structure we advocate differ enough requires the U.S. military to undertake a
from current plans that estimating its costs 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 when the mood strikes us or when our core
there can be no retreat from these missions national security interests are directly
without compromising American leadership threatened; then it is already too late.
and the benevolent order it secures. This is Rather, it is a choice whether or not to
the choice we face. It is not a choice maintain American military preeminence, to
between preeminence today and secure American geopolitical leadership,
preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership and to preserve the American peace.
is not something exercised at our leisure,


Roger Barnett Mark Lagon

U.S. Naval War College Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Alvin Bernstein James Lasswell

National Defense University GAMA Corporation

Stephen Cambone I. Lewis Libby

National Defense University Dechert Price & Rhoads

Eliot Cohen Robert Martinage

Nitze School of Advanced International Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Studies, Johns Hopkins University Assessment

Devon Gaffney Cross Phil Meilinger

Donors' Forum for International Affairs U.S. Naval War College

Thomas Donnelly Mackubin Owens

Project for the New American Century U.S. Naval War College

David Epstein Steve Rosen

Office of Secretary of Defense, Harvard University
Net Assessment
Gary Schmitt
David Fautua Project for the New American Century
Lt. Col., U.S. Army
Abram Shulsky
Dan Goure The RAND Corporation
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Michael Vickers
Donald Kagan Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Yale University Assessment

Fred Kagan Barry Watts

U. S. Military Academy at West Point Northrop Grumman Corporation

Robert Kagan Paul Wolfowitz

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Robert Killebrew
Col., USA (Ret.) Dov Zakheim
System Planning Corporation
William Kristol
The Weekly Standard

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.