Research Report


Steven Metz
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2000
Pages: 135
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-v)

    The latter half of 2000 and the first 6 months of 2001 are likely to represent a seminal time in the evolution of U.S. military strategy. The combination of a congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a change of presidents, and shifts in the global security environment will force or allow American strategists to rethink some of the basic elements of U.S. strategy and decide if any changes need to be made. It is vital that the defense transformation process be strategy driven rather than dictated by budgets or technology alone. In other words, the first step in assessing the status...

  2. (pp. 1-3)

    The United States is as safe as any nation in recent memory yet remains obsessed with its security. Just as the nouveau riche are more aware than “old money” that wealth can dissipate as easily as it comes, America, as a late entrant to the cast of great powers, worries that the nation’s influence will crumble and some yet-unnamed opponent will steal a march. Psychologically the United States is an insecure superpower. Rather than savoring predominance, American defense analysts and political leaders increasingly contend that the United States is approaching a point of danger or crisis for its military. Senator...

  3. (pp. 5-37)

    Containment, of course, was the bedrock strategic concept during the Cold War. This reflected the defensive perspective on military force that dominated strategic American thinking. Except for occasional spasms of aggression, military power was not used for territorial expansion outside what Americans considered their “natural” boundaries. During the Cold War, the primary task of the U.S. military was to prevent the expansion of communism by force. The main threats were conventional, armor-heavy Warsaw Pact forces in Europe, communist insurgents in other areas, Soviet nuclear forces, the Soviet Navy, and—ironically—the lingering isolationist tendency of the American people and their...

  4. (pp. 39-94)

    The 2001 QDR could easily turn into a series of debates about specific acquisition programs or force structure numbers. Hopefully it will not but will focus instead on core strategic issues. In particular, four issues should be central to the debate: the method and speed of transformation, force shaping methodologies, strategic focus, and the synchronization of defense budgets and the strategy.

    Transformation is an intrinsic element of the American national character. After all, the United States was born by transforming the English political and social order into something new. Constant tinkering and improvement are natural. Americans change jobs, houses, cars...

  5. (pp. 95-100)

    Three types of relationships form the building blocks of American national security strategy. Relationships of affinity bind the United States and other states and organizations that share its core values: belief in open government, rule by law, human rights, the market system, and the desirability of creating stable systems for regional security. Some relationships of affinity are long-standing such as those with Canada, Great Britain, and Australia; others are medium term like the relationships with Israel, Germany, and Japan; and some are newer, connecting the United States and states that have recently undergone democratic transitions. Relationships of necessity are more...