The U.S. Military: Ready for the New World Order?

The U.S. Military: Ready for the New World Order?

The U.S. Military: Ready for the New World Order?

The U.S. Military: Ready for the New World Order?


Will current strategic planning give the United States the sort of military capabilities needed to counter threats likely in the future? Using first-hand experience at the Pentagon and an Army background, Lieutenant Colonel Peters outlines serious problems, offers fresh insights into the defense planning process, surveys the global security environment in this post-Cold War era, and makes suggestions for developing an optimal force structure for the year 2000. This risk and consequences assessment, alongside case studies of the Gulf War and other situations, shows the inner workings of the Defense Department and departs from recent literature on military reform.


With the Cold War concluded, President Bush's declaration of a new world order and domestic and international demands for peace dividends, what kind of military should the United States have? What capabilities should this force possess? Is the Defense Department likely to produce the forces the nation needs, and if not, why not?

To answer these questions, this study first examines the factors and influences that make changes and adjustments in the military likely and advisable. Next, it examines the Defense Department's process for strategic planning and force structuring, reaching judgments about its adequacy as a force design instrument. The final chapters offer an illustrative, suggested alternative approach to strategic planning and force design.

The study finds that the current strategic planning process is unlikely to produce the optimal future force structure for three reasons. First, a fissure has developed in the process that separates policy considerations from military-technical issues. Second, the defense establishment is a neocorporatist structure organizationally, which limits the breadth of choices it can consider in adjusting to new conditions and requirements. Finally, the President and Congress engage in bureaucratic politics, often bargaining with each other on military questions, since each has roughly equal constitutional powers over the military. The practice of bureaucratic politics often results in suboptimal decisions: acceptance of settlements neither party would have suggested.

The study concludes that, though the presidential-congressional struggle will likely continue, radical change could correct the other two . . .

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