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Research Report

The Military We Need: The Defense Requirements of the Bush Doctrine

Thomas Donnelly
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2005
Pages: 100
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-6)

    The gap between America’s strategic reach and its military grasp has reached a point of crisis. It is the task of the second Bush administration to close this gap, but the work transcends party or political ideology. Indeed, it is inherent to the preservation of America’s position as global superpower and the great-power peace and broadening prosperity that has marked the post–Cold War era. It is a matter of securing the safety not only of Americans but also of America’s friends and allies around the world. And so what otherwise might be mistaken as a piece of bureaucratic busywork...

  2. (pp. 7-28)

    As the Cold War progressed, the American ability to think strategically seemed to atrophy. After the denouement of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara famously proclaimed that, in the nuclear age, strategy making had been reduced to crisis management. That statement not only captured the myopia of the Kennedy administration and many of its successors but also reflected their forgetfulness that their predecessors, and particularly the administration of Harry S Truman, had indeed made the strategy of containment almost from whole cloth in response to the aggressive Soviet policies of the late 1940s.

    The collapse of the Soviet...

  3. (pp. 29-41)

    The emerging U.S. military strategy suggests five core missions for U.S. armed forces: defending the American homeland; fighting the global war on terror and transforming the greater Middle East; limiting the geopolitical effects of growing Chinese military power; responding to unforeseen contingencies; and continuing the transformation of the armed services.

    Defense of the homeland has always been the prime directive for American strategy makers. Yet more than three years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, a useful meaning of “homeland defense” for the twenty-first century is still proving elusive for Pentagon planners. There is no question but that traditional...

  4. (pp. 42-50)

    The history of the United States is a case study in expansionism. From its origins as a diverse and often squabbling handful of English colonies in the western wilds of the British Empire to its current position of global hegemony, America has had a habit of looking outward to solve its security problems. The past century saw the expansion of our perimeter into air and space; the new century is pushing our interests into cyberspace. There is no immediate reason to expect American expansionism to end.

    Accompanying this expansion of the American security perimeter has been a growing network of...

  5. (pp. 51-80)

    The defense reviews of the post–Cold War era have had almost no measurable impact on the structures or programs of the U.S. armed services, other than to scale down the forces that previously existed. Moreover, the military’s obsession with technology has left the services increasingly ill suited for the missions they must actually execute. As the cost of effective firepower has diminished dramatically, the Pentagon has sought to buy more firepower rather than complement these amazingly effective capabilities with equally effective maneuver abilities. Even when the maneuver dimension of warfare has been considered, it has been almost solely through...

  6. (pp. 81-86)

    “No one had anticipated that the cost of Iraq would continue to grow like [this].”¹ Thus spake Dov Zakheim, until last year the Pentagon’s comptroller and an original member of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s brain trust, early in January when the press got its hands on the Pentagon’s “program budget decision” for the 2006 defense budget.² It would be hard to find a more succinct expression of the dilemma the Defense Department now faces and why the crisis described in the first sentence of this report is so deep and immediate. The strategies, the missions, the military posture, and armed services...