The Art of War in the Age of Peace: U.S. Military Posture for the Post-Cold War World

The Art of War in the Age of Peace: U.S. Military Posture for the Post-Cold War World

The Art of War in the Age of Peace: U.S. Military Posture for the Post-Cold War World

The Art of War in the Age of Peace: U.S. Military Posture for the Post-Cold War World

Synopsis

Through historical, political, and military analysis, O'Hanlon suggests that U.S. interests can be protected efficiently and effectively with a U.S. military reduced in size by roughly 40 to 50 percent in most types of major combat forces, and by 80 to 90 percent in nuclear forces. In the realm of conventional forces, these cuts would be about twice as deep as those planned by Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney; in the nuclear realm they would be much deeper than those approved by the Bush administration. By contrast, analysis suggests that U.S. capabilities should be largely held constant--or in some cases even expanded--in logistics, intelligence and communications, R&D, and special forces.

Excerpt

As the international security landscape changes even more rapidly than usual, confusion reigns in U.S. defense policy making. the country continues to wrestle with fundamental questions about its proper global role in a post-Cold War world. On one extreme of the current debate are those who continue to assert that demands for U.S. forces may go down only slightly in the future since, even as the European security environment improves, Third World theaters may become more dangerous and exert greater demands on U.S. forces. This argument had gained prominence even before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and has been bolstered by the United States-led response to that act of international aggression. It has led some conservatives (though not Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney or President George Bush) to argue that the Pentagon's planned 20 percent cuts in manpower would be excessive; more commonly, it has led many to portray the Pentagon's planned "base force" as an irreducible minimum for U.S. military force structure in the post-Cold War world. Advocates of such positions sometimes also argue that a politically unstable and disintegrating Commonwealth of Independent States could be highly dangerous to Western interests at some future point.

Those making this case are right to argue that Third World theaters may become more dangerous than Europe, especially as advanced weapons continue to spread around the globe. Indeed, many of these theaters have been much more conflict-ridden and unstable than Europe for decades. However, even though these theaters may become relatively more important than they were before, and relatively more important than Europe, there is little reason to believe they will become intrinsically more threatening to U.S. interests simply because the confrontation between nato and the Warsaw Pact has ended. Demands on U.S. projection forces for non-European theatres actually should decrease somewhat, since the great powers will no longer be prone to fight surrogate wars in the Third World. Whether or not many parts of the developing world will be . . .

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