In This Review

Defense Planning for the Late 1990s: Beyond the Desert Storm Framework
Defense Planning for the Late 1990s: Beyond the Desert Storm Framework
By Michael O'Hanlon
Brookings, 1995, 150 pp

Throughout the 1980s, a fixture of the debate about the American defense budget was the regular appearance of a slender Brookings Institution volume, written by William W. Kaufmann, guaranteed to annoy the Defense Department. In precise prose, with ample graphs, charts, and tables, it laid out an alternative defense budget usually substantially smaller than that proposed by the administration and just different enough (usually advocating more spending on something decidedly non-exotic, like maritime prepositioning) to avoid the charge of mindless economizing. Michael O'Hanlon has taken over this task and approached it in much the same way, making the case for a defense program smaller yet than the Clinton administration's Bottom-Up Review, which, he correctly points out, is unaffordable. His alternative budget would cut back on some new programs (the air force's f-22 fighter, for example) and reduce the services not to Desert Storm equivalents but comparable to what was initially dispatched to Saudi Arabia in 1990, the rationale being a new, Brookings-hatched concept of "cooperative security." As is often the case, however, critics of a Cold War approach to the defense budget are offering less something new than something simply less. In the analytic measures used, the basic force units considered, and the strategic rationale accepted, surprisingly little has changed.