×

A Balanced Strategy

Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age

U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a cabinet meeting, June 22, 2010. Larry Downing / Courtesy Reuters

The defining principle of the Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy is balance. The United States cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything. The Department of Defense must set priorities and consider inescapable tradeoffs and opportunity costs.

The strategy strives for balance in three areas: between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States' existing conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces, and between retaining those cultural traits that have made the U.S. armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done.

UNCONVENTIONAL THINKING

The United States' ability to deal with future threats will depend on its performance in current conflicts. To be blunt, to fail -- or to be seen to

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue