REBUILDING AMERICA S DEFENSES - ?· Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources…

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Strategy, Forces and ResourcesFor a New Century

A Report ofThe 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 chairmanof 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 theworlds most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory inthe Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Doesthe United States have the vision to build upon the achievement ofpast decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape anew century favorable to American principles and interests?

[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meetboth present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly andpurposefully promotes American principles abroad; and nationalleadership that accepts the United States global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises itspower. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of globalleadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. Americahas a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia,and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invitechallenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th

century should have taught us that it is important to shapecircumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before theybecome dire. The history of the past century should have taught usto embrace the cause of American leadership.

From the Projects founding Statement of Principles

____PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY____1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20036

Telephone: (202) 293-4983 / Fax: (202) 293-4572


Strategy, Forces and ResourcesFor a New Century



REBUILDING AMERICAS DEFENSESStrategy, 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 Todays Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

IV. Rebuilding Todays Armed Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

V. Creating Tomorrows Dominant Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

VI. Defense Spending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Project Participants

Rebuilding Americas Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century



The Project for the New AmericanCentury was established in the spring of1997. From its inception, the Project hasbeen concerned with the decline in thestrength of Americas defenses, and in theproblems this would create for the exerciseof American leadership around the globeand, ultimately, for the preservation ofpeace.

Our concerns were reinforced by thetwo congressionally-mandated defensestudies that appeared soon thereafter: thePentagons Quadrennial Defense Review(May 1997) and the report of the NationalDefense Panel (December 1997). Bothstudies assumed that U.S. defense budgetswould remain flat or continue to shrink. Asa result, the defense plans andrecommendations outlined in the two reportswere fashioned with such budget constraintsin mind. Broadly speaking, the QDRstressed current military requirements at theexpense of future defense needs, while theNDPs report emphasized future needs byunderestimating todays defenseresponsibilities.

Although the QDR and the report of theNDP proposed different policies, theyshared one underlying feature: the gapbetween resources and strategy should beresolved not by increasing resources but byshortchanging strategy. Americas armedforces, it seemed, could either prepare forthe future by retreating from its role as theessential defender of todays global securityorder, or it could take care of currentbusiness but be unprepared for tomorrowsthreats and tomorrows battlefields.

Either alternative seemed to usshortsighted. The United States is theworlds only superpower, combiningpreeminent military power, globaltechnological leadership, and the worldslargest economy. Moreover, America standsat the head of a system of alliances whichincludes the worlds other leadingdemocratic powers. At present the UnitedStates faces no global rival. Americasgrand strategy should aim to preserve andextend this advantageous position as far intothe future as possible. There are, however,potentially powerful states dissatisfied withthe current situation and eager to change it,if they can, in directions that endanger therelatively peaceful, prosperous and freecondition the world enjoys today. Up tonow, they have been deterred from doing soby the capability and global presence ofAmerican military power. But, as thatpower declines, relatively and absolutely,the happy conditions that follow from it willbe inevitably undermined.

Preserving the desirable strategicsituation in which the United States nowfinds itself requires a globally preeminentmilitary capability both today and in thefuture. But years of cuts in defensespending have eroded the Americanmilitarys combat readiness, and put injeopardy the Pentagons plans formaintaining military superiority in the yearsahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military hasfound itself undermanned, inadequatelyequipped and trained, straining to handlecontingency operations, and ill-prepared toadapt itself to the revolution in militaryaffairs. Without a well-conceived defensepolicy and an appropriate increase in

Rebuilding Americas Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

defense spending, the United States has beenletting its ability to take full advantage of theremarkable strategic opportunity at hand slipaway.

With this in mind, we began a project inthe spring of 1998 to examine the countrysdefense plans and resource requirements.We started from the premise that U.S.military capabilities should be sufficient tosupport an American grand strategycommitted to building upon thisunprecedented opportunity. We did notaccept pre-ordained constraints thatfollowed from assumptions about what thecountry might or might not be willing toexpend on its defenses.

In broad terms, we saw the project asbuilding upon the defense strategy outlinedby the Cheney Defense Department in thewaning days of the Bush Administration.The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) draftedin the early monthsof 1992 provided ablueprint formaintaining U.S.preeminence,precluding the riseof a great powerrival, and shapingthe internationalsecurity order inline with Americanprinciples andinterests. Leakedbefore it had beenformally approved,the document wascriticized as aneffort by coldwarriors to keep defecuts in forces small dethe Soviet Union; not ssubsequently buried byadministration.

Although the expeeight years has modifieof particular military rcarrying out such a stra

of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound.And what Secretary Cheney said at the timein response to the DPGs critics remains truetoday: We can either sustain the [armed]forces we require and remain in a position tohelp shape things for the better, or we canthrow that advantage away. [But] thatwould only hasten the day when we facegreater threats, at higher costs and furtherrisk to American lives.

The project proceeded by holding aseries of seminars. We asked outstandingdefense specialists to write papers to explorea variety of topics: the future missions andrequirements of the individual militaryservices, the role of the reserves, nuclearstrategic doctrine and missile defenses, thedefense budget and prospects for militarymodernization, the state (training andreadiness) of todays forces, the revolutionin military affairs, and defense-planning fortheater wars, small wars and constabularyoperations. The papers were circulated to agroup of participants, chosen for theirexperience and judgment in defense affairs.(The list of participants may be found at theend of this report.) Each paper then becamethe basis for discussion and debate. Ourgoal was to use the papers to assistdeliberation, to generate and test ideas, andto assist us in developing our final report.While each paper took as its starting point ashared strategic point of view, we made noattempt to dictate the views or direction ofthe individual papers. We wanted as fulland as diverse a discussion as possible.

Our report borrows heavily from thosedeliberations. But we did not ask seminar

At present theUnited Statesfaces noglobal rival.Americasgrand strategyshould aim topreserve andextend thisadvantageousposition as farinto the futureas possible.


nse spending high andspite the collapse ofurprisingly, it was the new

rience of the pastd our understanding

equirements fortegy, the basic tenets

participants to sign-off on the final report.We wanted frank discussions and we soughtto avoid the pitfalls of trying to produce aconsensual but bland product. We wanted totry to define and describe a defen