ON-Lion Letter

"It is my strong belief that the need for a well-crafted U.S. defense strategy has never been greater since the Cold War's end," Andrew F. Krepinevich said in testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in late October. 

Krepinevich is president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington, D.C.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CSBA.

"Today the United States confronts three revisionist powers in three different regions that have long been viewed by administrations of both parties as vital to our national security," Krepinevich continued.  "These powers are actively challenging the rules-based international system that has enabled a generation of relative peace and unparalleled prosperity.  The scale of the challenge posed by these powers far exceeds that of the minor powers and radical non-state groups that formed the basis for much of our defense planning over the past quarter century.  At the same time, the means available to address these challenges are diminishing.  Just as important, the form of the challenges presented by our existing and prospective adversaries is shifting, in some cases dramatically.

"This suggests that we will likely need to develop different ways of deterring our enemies, and of defeating them if deterrence fails," he said.  "Our military will require a significantly different force sizing construct, operational concepts and doctrine, and corresponding changes in our force structure and capabilities.  This effort should be informed by (and inform) the strategy we adopt.  Put another way, how our military deters, and how it fights depends on our security interests, the threat posed to those interests, the resources available to address those threats, and how we can best employ those resources. The 'how' is the province of strategy.

"[T]here is an understandable eagerness to have answers to many questions," Krepinevich concludes, "such as:  What kinds of capabilities do we need?  What kinds of forces? What is the proper division of labor between the military services, and between our military and those of our allies?  Where should our forces be positioned?

"But informed responses to questions like these cannot be arrived at without knowing our strategy, and developing one will require persistent effort by talented strategists, and sustained involvement by our senior political and military leaders.  There is no short cut."

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