The United States faces a world full of instability and uncertainty -- a world in which threats to U.S. interests can emerge rapidly, often from unexpected quarters. At the same time, the resources at the military's disposal are declining. If we hope to master the challenges that lie ahead for U.S. foreign and security policy, we must be at the very least well-informed about the shape that the security environment may take in the next few years.
This report represents an effort by the National Defense University to meet this demand for information about the evolving global environment in which Washington must make security policy decisions. It offers a comprehensive overview of this environment, focusing on specific trends, U.S. interests, and issues of concern to those who frame U.S. security policy. We hope that it will prove to be of interest not only to policy makers, but also to all readers with an interest in security policy.
The Strategic Assessment 1995 applies the research expertise of the National Defense University's interdisciplinary research arm, the Institute for National Strategic Studies, to the task of defining and analyzing the emerging global milieu. Offering such analyses, in both general and more specialized areas of interest to the national security community, is one part of NDU's educational mission. That mission, as defined by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is to educate senior military and government officials on issues related to national strategy, security policy, resources management, and warfare in the information age. It is our hope that this report is both authoritative and informative, and that its influence will extend beyond the narrowly-defined national security establishment. We wish to thank all those who contributed to the success of this project, particularly the many analysts both inside and outside the military who wrote or reviewed chapters of the Assessment. We hope that this report will stimulate further thinking, discussion, and research on the issues treated in its pages among both policy makers and policy analysts.