Our New National Security Strategy: America Promises to Come Back

Our New National Security Strategy: America Promises to Come Back

Our New National Security Strategy: America Promises to Come Back

Our New National Security Strategy: America Promises to Come Back


This book is an analysis of President Bush's Regional Defense Strategy first unveiled in Aspen, Colorado, on August 2, 1990. This strategy involves a mix of active, reserve, and reconstitutable forces, and General Colin Powell's Base Force. The new regional defense strategy is based upon the 25 percent budget cut negotiated with Congress, a greatly depleted threat from the former Soviet Union, and a new international security environment that assumes two-year's warning of a European-centered global war.


Although details of the president's new national security strategy are still being debated, active duty and ready reserve forces are likely to decrease significantly from their Reagan-era highs. According to the initial report in the New York Times, the "bottom line" numbers discussed in June 1990 at the White House were Army, 12 active and 6 ready reserve divisions (formerly 18 active and 10 reserve) and 2 "cadre" or reconstitutable reserve divisions; Air Force, 25 active and reserve tactical air wings (formerly 36); Navy, 11-12 aircraft carriers (formerly 14); and Marine Corps, 150,000 personnel (formerly 196,000).

Subsequent reports in the media and the recommended force levels delivered to the Congress by the administration are slightly higher and reflect budgetary negotiations that parallel the developing new national security strategy. Force levels discussed in the March 1992 reports include the following additions and changes: a Navy of 452 ships (down from 545), including 12 deployable aircraft carriers and 1 devoted to training, 13 carrier air wings, 150 surface combatants, with no battleships; and 80 nuclear-powered attack submarines; a 3 Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Marine Corps of 159,000 personnel with simultaneous amphibious lift for the assault echelons of 2.5 Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs), 53 amphibious ships, 15 active and 11 reserve Air Force wings, and 212 strategic bombers (down from 268) including 20 B-2s, 95 B-52 Hs, and 97 B-1Bs.

Army divisions are apparently as follows: active component (AC) -- 2 armored, 6 mechanized, 2 light infantry, 1 air assault, 1 airborne; reserve

This chapter updates my article America Promises to Come Back:
The President's New National Security Strategy,
Security Studies 1 (Winter 1991): 173-234; and selected portions of my introductory chapter, The New National Security Strategy and Base Force, in Reconstituting National Defense:
The New U.S. National Security Strategy
,James J. Tritten and Paul N. Stockton, eds. (New York: Praeger, 1992).

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