Strategy for a Long Peace
Committee on the Budget
Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.
for Strategic and Budgetary Assesments
Chairman and members of the committee, it is a great honor to appear before you
today to discuss two of the most important and interrelated issues that confront
any Congress: “What portion of
our limited resources should be dedicated to our national defense?” and “How
can we insure that these resources are being spent wisely—that is, in such a
way as to minimize the overall risk to our national security?”
face a challenge that is arguably unprecedented in the nation’s history:
the need to transform our armed forces into a very different kind of
military from that which exists today, while at the same time sustaining the
military’s ability to play a very active role in supporting US near-term
efforts to preserve global stability.
the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has enjoyed a period of
military dominance that, with the exception of the brief period at the end of
World War II, is unsurpassed in our country’s history. This has given America
an opportunity presented to few countries in the course of recorded history: the
opportunity to lead the way in creating the conditions for a long peace. But
periods of extended military dominance are rare in history, and the current
period will likely prove no exception.
can the US military’s current advantages be sustained by a business-as-usual
approach to defense planning. CSBA’s A Strategy for a Long Peace would not
seek a Pax Americana. Instead, it calls upon the US military to transform itself
to maintain a significant margin of superiority over any potential rival, while
leveraging key alliance relationships to extend our current military advantage
and, by extension, global stability.
FUTURE SECURITY ENVIRONMENT
planning today occurs in an atmosphere of relatively high uncertainty. Although
history shows that dominant powers have typically encountered challenges to
their position, it is not clear what state or group might pose such a challenge
to America’s security, when that challenge might occur, or the form it will
take. Several trends do, however, seem clear. One is that the sharp decline in
competition among the great powers that followed the Soviet Union’s collapse
has begun to reverse. Another trend concerns the rise of great regional powers
in East and South Asia. This, combined with the dissolution of the Soviet empire
and the promise of an increasingly integrated European Union (EU), makes it
likely that Asia will displace Europe as the focal point of greatest economic
(and military) potential—and of US security concerns.
are also experiencing the emergence of a global economy more highly dependent
upon access to information, space and fossil fuels. The free flow of commerce
increasingly depends not only on free access to the world’s seas, but also to
space and the electromagnetic spectrum. With the development of major oil and
natural gas resources in Central Asia, this remote area may grow in geopolitical
this is occurring at a time when America increasingly finds itself leading
coalitions of the willing, rather than relying on formal alliances, to conduct
peacekeeping and other contingency operations around the world. Yet, at the same
time, the United States will most likely find itself increasingly in need of
durable and reliable allies. This will stem from the geopolitical and economic
trends noted above. But it will also arise because an emerging military
revolution (or revolution in military affairs
will force the United States to divert increasing levels of resources to
defending its homeland, and because sustaining America’s military advantage
will require it to transform its military.
military revolution now under way promises to change conventional warfare on a
scale not seen since the period between the two world wars. Such transformations
of war typically displace, or even render obsolete, some formerly dominant
weapons and forces central to the previous military regime.
example, US power-projection operations will become more difficult to execute as
even second-rank military powers develop and deploy anti-access/area-denial
capabilities, putting fixed, forward bases (and perhaps maritime forces in the
littoral) at high risk for destruction. Meeting this challenge will require the
United States to transform both its power-projection forces and its global
along with reorienting its primary focus from Central Europe to East Asia, the
American military also will likely find itself confronting the challenges
presented by new forms of maritime blockade, maintaining US superiority in
space, the growing incidence of urban conflict, and addressing the rise of
modern information warfare, both as
a means of gaining advantage on the battlefield and of threatening a nation’s
economic infrastructure. To this must be added the need to cope with this
military revolution’s empowerment of small groups, to include irregular
forces, terrorist groups and transnational criminal organizations, with weapons
of mass destruction and disruption.
QDR: A FLAWED BLUEPRINT
the United States’ current defense program, as developed by the Defense
Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), does not provide the kind of
strategic blueprint needed to meet these emerging threats. While the need to
transform the US military has been voiced by the Secretary of Defense and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), thus far little has been accomplished toward this
end. To paraphrase an old admonition, “Transformation” is something that is
heard, but not seen.
if the US military is not transformed, it may lack the military capabilities
needed to sustain a long peace. At the same time, the US military must remain
capable of preserving stability all along its transformation path. This means
America must maintain sufficient military capability in the form of forces that
are ready to address today’s security requirements at an acceptable level of
risk must be accepted. America’s wealth, great as it is, is not unlimited.
Moreover, while both political parties have essentially stated their willingness
to sustain defense budgets at their current level, neither has called for
providing any significant increases. Even more sobering, the current defense
program suffers from a plans-funding mismatch of some $120 billion over the next
six years, with even greater shortfalls thereafter. Furthermore, neither
political party appears ready to add the resources required to erase this
shortfall. Consequently, the current defense program cannot avoid substantial
trimming, even if transformation is not undertaken.
This would be bad news—if the current defense program offered the best way to address America’s security needs. But it does not. The current defense program focuses much of its efforts on creating and sustaining forces that are ready and capable of waging large-scale warfare in two separate theaters in overlapping time frames. This two-Major Theater War (MTW) posture that drives a good portion of US readiness and force structure requirements is an increasingly poor metric by which to gauge the effectiveness of our defense strategy and program. Today’s Iraqi threat is far smaller in scale than that posed in 1991. As for Iran and North Korea, the threats they pose are centered more around embryonic anti-access/area-denial capabilities than on attempts to create their version of a large Republican Guard-ike mechanized, heavy land force, or a poor-man’s version of the US Air Force. In short, the kind, or form, of the challenge presented by these rogue states is different from the threat posed by Iraq during the Gulf War.
even the Defense Department’s excessive emphasis on minimizing the near-term
risks to America’s security is being accomplished in a relatively ineffective
manner. The same can be said of forward-presence operations, the other major
generator of US near-term force requirements. The use of Cold War era metrics,
such as the number of carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups forward
deployed, still dominate—this, even though other, lower-cost, means of
providing effective forward presence are now available.Of perhaps greatest
concern, however, is that the current defense modernization program places far
too heavy an emphasis on sustaining an improved version of today’s
military—as opposed to a transformed military—as the best means for
maintaining US military advantages over the long term.
one concurs with the preceding diagnosis
of the emerging security environment, the following strategy offers one approach
for dealing with it effectively. It employs a range of means to support
transformation within projected resource constraints, while also incurring
minimal increased risk to near-term US security interests, and addressing the
substantial mismatch between the QDR defense program and the budgets projected
to sustain it.
Transforming the US military is at the core of a Strategy for a Long Peace. Transformation requires a broad approach, comprising six elements:
future warfare vision that will impart direction to transformation efforts. This
vision would focus the military on key emerging challenges, such as power
projection in an anti-access/area-denial environment, urban eviction and
control, space and information control, and homeland defense, and would
explicitly anticipate greater future reliance on extended-range power
projection, network-based forces, stealth, and unmanned systems.
of senior leaders based on their ability to effect transformational change. An
ability to lead transformation efforts should be a central criterion for
selection as JCS Chairman and Vice Chairman, and as Service chief or vice chief.
Robust funding for leap-ahead technologies and sustained experimentation. To create a portfolio of real transformation options, several billion dollars will need to be added to the science and technology (S&T) accounts over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). Among the technologies that should be aggressively pursued are those for distributed, micro-satellite constellations; space-based radars with moving target indicator capabilities; unmanned systems; next-generation stealth, including applications to air mobility aircraft, surface naval vessels and ground combat systems; hypersonics and directed-energy systems; and micro-proximity satellites for space control.
identify the proper mix of new systems incorporating the above characteristics,
and the number of legacy systems required to meet emerging challenges, an
ongoing series of Service and Joint transformation field exercises must be
conducted, oriented principally at the operational level of warfare. To this
end, a Joint National Anti-Access/Area-Denial Training Center should be zestablished,
along with a Joint Urban Warfare Training Center. The military services should
establish standing opposing forces at these centers, which can be brought
together under Joint Forces Command to form a Joint Opposing Force.
of the organizational slack necessary for innovation and institutional reform of
the Department of Defense (DoD), the armed forces and the defense industrial
base. Freeing up human resources for transformation will require a critical
review of current approaches to overseas presence, existing war plans and higher
military education. Measures to increase competition in the defense technology
and industrial base, increase incentives for independent research and
development (IR&D), and bolster the profitability of new systems development
are also needed. As transformation progresses, institutional change will likely
be required of DoD and the armed forces, which could range from the creation of
a new Service, to new career paths and institutions of higher learning.
procurement strategy in the near- to mid-term that emphasizes limited production
runs of a wide range of new systems and service-life extensions and upgrades of
existing systems. Until uncertainty is resolved concerning which new systems
will be needed for future operations, and the technological flux likely to be
associated with these systems has been substantially reduced, DoD’s
procurement strategy should emphasize limited production runs of a wide range of
systems. Where force structure concerns mandate expansion in fleet size or
recapitalization, service-life extensions (e.g., Los Angeles-class attack
submarines) and upgrades to existing systems (e.g., F-16 Block 60s) should be
pursued to the maximum extent feasible.
strategies to eliminate capabilities that are a poor fit with the emerging
strategic environment and to free up resources to support transformation.
Transformation requires a divestment strategy, irrespective of the size of the
defense top line. Divestment will be required to finance transformation, to
retire or forego capabilities that are a poor fit with the emerging strategic
environment and to swap legacy capabilities for transformational ones.
NEAR-TERM SECURITY REQUIREMENTS
range of initiatives can be undertaken to enable the US military to meet
near-term security requirements, within existing and projected budget
constraints, while incurring little increase in risk and also enabling
transformation. These initiatives include:
the Two-War Posture. Greater reliance should be placed on South Korea to provide
ground forces for its defense. Similarly, if and when the Europeans field a
rapid reaction force, they should be encouraged to make it available for a
Persian Gulf contingency.
Forward Presence. The Navy should make use of the growing strike capability of
its submarine forces and surface combatants to create innovative
forward-presence force packages, to include the use of Surface Action Groups (SAGs)
and cruise missile submarines (SSGNs).
the four Trident ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) scheduled to come out of
the nuclear deterrent force should be converted to SSGN conventional strike
platforms. Air Expeditionary Forces should be used to gap maritime forces, as
appropriate. Those NATO allies with sizeable maritime forces should be
encouraged to take on a greater role in conducting maritime forward-presence
operations in the Mediterranean Sea, enabling US maritime forces to reorient
themselves more toward the Persian Gulf, South Asia and East Asia. These
initiatives will reduce the stress on carrier battle groups and amphibious ready
groups, while enabling the transformation of US maritime forces.
Peacekeeping. The Army should orient a significant part of its force
structure—six so-called interim brigades—to peacekeeping operations, along
with a like number of National Guard brigades, in recognition that such
operations are likely to represent an enduring requirement. Efforts also should
be made to support the peacekeeping forces fielded by America’s allies—such
as Australia and Canada—which play an important role in policing democracy’s
Strategy for a Long Peace provides increased funding on a per troop basis over
that which is currently projected to ensure that US forces maintain themselves
at acceptable levels of readiness.
SERVICE TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVES
Strategy for a Long Peace emphasizes developing forces that can best meet the
types of emerging challenges noted above. This means forces that can strike with
precision from extended range; incorporate stealth into their design; emphasize
mobility vice armor for defense; form part of a robust, comprehensive command,
control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture; are capable of defending themselves against
a range of electronic and information attacks; avoid reliance on large,
vulnerable fixed bases for insertion or sustainment; and avoid overly
concentrating combat power in a few platforms.
Army should proceed with its current transformation effort, but it should be
modified to better address emerging threats, as well as existing requirements.
This means earmarking one division (and associated National Guard units) to
conduct field exercises oriented on solving the anti-access challenge,
developing an advanced capability to conduct urban control and eviction
operations, and exploiting the potential of ground forces to see deep and engage
at extended ranges. Within this framework, the Army should proceed with its
Future Combat System (FCS), high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS)
lightweight missile launcher, and the Army tactical missile system (ATACMS)
Block IIA missile, and accelerate efforts to develop unmanned combat vehicles,
and other forms of robotics. The Service’s mobility requirements should be
supported through research and development (R&D) of an Advanced Technology
Transport (ATT), Quad-Tilt Rotor (QTR) transport, stealthy air transport for use
by special operations forces, and rapid, over-the-beach sealift. The Crusader
artillery system does not fit the transformation force characteristic profile
and should be terminated.
and Marine Corps Fleet Battle Exercises should be mainstreamed into ongoing
fleet training to explore the potential of new means and new forms of operation
to deal with anti-access/area-denial threats. To this end, the two Services
should accelerate their efforts to determine the utility of the Streetfighter
concept, Network-Centric Warfare, and Operational Maneuver From the Sea. The
Navy should develop and purchase a small number of Streetfighter combatants
andconvert four Trident SSBNs to SSGNs, while continuing to develop the CVX and
DD-21. New means of conducting strikes at extended ranges, to include the
advanced gun system (AGS) and unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), should be
accelerated. To maintain an adequate undersea warfare capability, Los Angeles-
Class submarines scheduled to be retired before the end of their useful lives
should be refueled and retained in the fleet. A Joint Mobile Offshore Base (JMOB)
prototype should be deployed to determine its utility as an alternative to
increasingly vulnerable fixed, forward bases.Reflecting the demands of an
anti-access/area-denial warfighting environment, the Marine Corps should proceed
with its MV-22 buy, but significantly reduce its purchase of the advanced
amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV). Similarly, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
should be cancelled, with any near-term shortfall in aircraft production gapped
by the F/A-18E/F (for the Navy and, perhaps, the Marine Corps) and F-16 Block 60
(for the Air Force). Alternate means of survivable strike support—to include
land- and sea-based missile forces and UCAVs—should receive increased
The Air Force should accelerate its efforts to insure that the US military will dominate any future military competition in space and along the electromagnetic spectrum. Both challenges promise to be daunting, given the difficulty in identifying where the greatest threats may emerge, and how they might manifest themselves. The Service also needs to emphasize efforts to deal with the anti-access/area-denial challenge. The Air Force should accelerate its efforts to develop extended-range, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and UCAVs.
support these efforts, Congress should consider restoring funding for the
Discoverer II prototype radar satellites. The Service’s long-range,
precision-strike systems will likely play an increasingly important role in
future operations. At present, the B-2 bomber is the Air Force’s only
long-range, stealthy, penetrating strike asset and, as such, an important hedge
against the growing vulnerability of forward-based aircraft. Service and Joint
exercises should accord high priority to assessing the B-2’s considerable
potential for addressing the anti-access challenge. If these exercises confirm
this potential, the B-2 production line should be restarted and significant
additional numbers of the aircraft procured. Unless the Air Force can
demonstrate that the F-22 is both critical and survivable in the emerging
anti-access/area-denial warfighting environment, its procurement should be
limited to fielding a silver-bullet force.
deploying an effective national missile defense system in the near term would be
highly desirable, it is not a currently available option. Funding should not be
siphoned away from national missile defense (NMD) research and development
efforts, and into the procurement and maintenance of a system of suspect
effectiveness. Rather, promising NMD options should be vigorously pursued with
an eye toward exploiting cutting-edge technologies in an effort to develop more
effective systems. Any eventual decision to deploy an NMD must account for the
potential reaction of other nuclear powers, especially China and Russia.
NMD deployment decision should be made within the context of a comprehensive
approach to homeland defense from a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack to
include defense against cruise missile attack and covert use of biological and
radiological weapons. Increased emphasis must also be given to bolstering the
nation’s defenses against attacks on the information infrastructure. To gain a
better understanding of missile defense operations and force structure
requirements, theater missile defenses—whose performance standards are
significantly lower than those for an NMD system—should be deployed as soon as
they become feasible.
The declining capabilities of the Russian nuclear forces, the associated reduced targeting requirements for US nuclear forces, and the growing potential of precision and electronic weapons to cover certain strategic targets once reserved for nuclear strikes suggest that significant funding could be shifted to support transformation initiatives by reducing our reliance on nuclear forces. Accordingly, the United States should take steps to pare its nuclear force levels to 2,500 warheads.
If the United States is to preserve stability in key regions around the globe so as to sustain a long peace, it will find itself increasingly dependent upon allies for support. However, the emerging changes in the geopolitical and military-technical environments will lead America to seek different qualities in its relationships with its allies. A new division of labor will have to be arrived at that takes into account: ally durability and reliability; the new missions brought on by the military revolution (e.g., precision strike, space control, strategic information warfare, ballistic and cruise missile defense, power projection in the absence of fixed forward bases); and the likely shift in America’s principal security focus from Europe to Asia. To this end the United States should accord high priority to:
Exploring the potential to reduce emphasis on transferring advanced military capabilities to allies in lieu of providing such support on a temporary, or loan, basis. Candidate capabilities would include the US global C4ISR, missile defense and high-fidelity training architectures, as well as advanced precision-strike munitions (PGMs).
Supporting the efforts of selected allies to develop advanced military capabilities. For example, assistance might be provided to enable Australia, Israel, Japan, NATO Europe, and the Republic of Korea to develop their own anti-access forces, to include missile defense capabilities. Great Britain might be supported in its efforts to create power-projection forces that can operate effectively against anti-access forces and, along with Australia and Japan, to create forces to frustrate multi-dimensional (i.e., land-, space- and sea-based) blockades and threats to maritime commerce.
toward a new global basing architecture as a means of: hedging against the
likelihood that future alliance relationships will be less predictable than they
have been over the past 50 years; countering the growing risks involved with
traditional reliance on fixed, forward facilities; and recognizing that Asia,
rather than Europe, will more likely be the region where US security interests
are at greatest risk.
alliance relationships to meet these requirements will take years, perhaps a
decade or more, to accomplish. Yet the geopolitical and military revolutions
that will likely stress US alliance relationships and key regional military
balances are already well under way. Hence it is no exaggeration to say that a
strategic assessment of America’s alliance relationships should be undertaken
now, while the opportunity to shape the future is at its greatest.
AND MEANS: REALISTIC AND RESPONSIBLE DEFENSE
costs incurred by pursuing the transformation initiatives summarized above are
more than offset by the reductions in the QDR program’s planned buys of Cold
War legacy systems, along with modest reductions in force structure. However,
realistic planning demands that any strategy also account for the $120 billion
mismatch between the QDR defense program and projected defense budgets.
Strategy for a Long Peace addresses this problem in three ways. First, it hopes
that current efforts underway in the Defense Department to bring about greater
efficiencies bear fruit. If history is any guide, however, these initiatives
will realize only a small fraction of their anticipated savings. Second, this
strategy relies, over time, on America’s allies to shoulder a moderately
larger share of the responsibility for our common security. Third, it effects
reductions in the US military’s force structure but does so in such a way as
to incur little increase in near-term risk while offering the possibility of
greatly reduced long-term risk—i.e., a long peace.
short, there is no free lunch. There is no consensus on either side of the
political aisle for a significant increase in defense resources, and the
practice of raiding the procurement accounts to shore-up near-term readiness
needs to stop. Thus the Army reforms around an eight-division active force. The
National Guard is reduced by four divisions, but retains its entire force of
Enhanced Separate Brigades (ESBs).
Navy and Marine Corps go from twelve carriers and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs),
respectively, to ten, while the Corps also is reduced by one Marine
Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). The Air Force sacrifices some force structure as
well, moving from twenty tactical fighter wing equivalents to seventeen, within
its new Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) structure.
will argue that a smaller force structure means taking on some near-term risk,
and they are right. But pursuing the strategy outlined above would incur only a
slight increase in this risk. The alternative is to accept much greater risks to
America’s long-term security. Sustaining the current force structure ignores
the need to transform the military so that it will be able to meet the very
different—and far more formidable—kinds of security challenges America will
confront tomorrow. In the final analysis, strategy is about making
choices—about setting priorities for how limited resources are apportioned.
A Strategy for a Long Peace provides a far better, far more realistic,
and far more responsible point of departure than does the QDR for achieving the
overarching goal of any defense posture: to maximize the opportunity for
achieving the nation’s security objectives, the greatest of which is a peace
that preserves our vital interests in our time—and in our children’s time as
you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to present my thoughts on the strategic
challenges—and opportunities—we face in developing a realistic defense
program to meet our security needs, in both the near- and long-term future.