Andrew Krepinevich discusses the future of U.S. defense spending with Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose.
As Western defense budgets are declining, the price of projecting power is increasing and the range of interests requiring protection is expanding. To square this circle, the Pentagon needs to embrace a dramatic shift in its strategy. It should turn its focus away from repelling traditional cross-border invasions and pursuing regime change followed by stability operations -- and concentrate instead on assuring access to key regions and the global commons.
According to the recent IAEA report, Iran is closer to having nuclear weapons that was widely assumed. Once it does goes nuclear, Tehran will be almost impossible to stop. To prevent it, the Obama administration must use military force--and soon.
Iran's acquisition of a nuclear bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinkmanship, meaning that it could be difficult to deter Tehran from attacking the United States' interests or partners in the region.
Andrew Krepinevich's vision for the U.S. military underestimates Washington's existing commitments and capabilities, Thomas Donnelly and Philip Dur argue. Not so, replies Krepinevich, and now is no time to stay the course.
The military foundations of U.S. dominance are eroding. In response, Washington should pursue new sources of military advantage and a more modest grand strategy.
Because they lack a coherent strategy, U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to defeat the insurgency or improve security. Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents. And it will take at least a decade.