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U.S. Force Structure
Defining Trends
U.S. Security Interests
Key U.S. Security Policy Issues
The collapse of the Soviet Union has relieved the military of its most stressful mission: global competition with a peer military superpower. Coupled with pressure to reduce the federal budget deficit, this has led to a steady drop in the defense budget, with the concomitant reduction in the size and equipment purchases of the armed forces.

While the bipolar competition between Washington and Moscow is clearly no longer a relevant framework in which to plan a military force, there is no consensus on an alternative planning framework to take its place. The Defense Department's 1993 Bottom-up Review, commissioned by the Clinton administration's first Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, upon his arrival in that office, focused on the need to fight two major regional conflicts nearly simutaneously. But since the Review's completion, a number of events have occurred that are forcing a re-thinking of the force structure that emerged from it. Continued pressure on the defense budget and unanticipated expenses--such a increased demands for U.S. forces to engage in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations--have cast doubt upon the ability of DOD to afford the force called for in the Review.

Strategic Assessment 95 ContentsNext
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