Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom

By Walter Hahn; H. Joachim Maitre | Go to book overview

11
The U.S. Defense- Industrial Base

Gen. Alfred G. Hansen, USAF (Ret.)

Historically, the United States has heavily relied on its industrial base to meet the demands of major military conflicts and provide the nation with an intrinsic advantage in the prosecution of war. The tradition is that of a hemispheric power that, protected by the moats of two oceans, has enjoyed both time and relative safety in mobilizing its robust industrial resources for the challenge of conflict.

World War II stands out in that tradition. Even after the punishing blows delivered on U.S. military power at Pearl Harbor, once U.S. industry was mobilized and geared to war-production priorities, the military leadership could look to a virtually endless conveyor belt of materiel to sustain whatever strategies and campaigns are selected.

The experiences of the Vietnam War reinforced this traditional reliance on industrial capacity to rise to the challenge of conflict. It also provided the notion of a "shortcut" offered by the high-technology era: the concept of capitalizing on American qualitative superiority in the high-tech arena by fashioning weapons systems that could "out-trump" a numerically superior military opponent. In this way, surge production in response to an emergency could be fine tuned and selectively concentrated in certain sectors of what had emerged as a full-fledged defense industry, without unduly disrupting the society's pursuit of both guns and butter. Essentially the same approach prevailed during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

It would seem that the overwhelming victory in the Gulf War validated the "limited surge" mobilization strategy as a continuing safeguard for the future. That lesson, however, is deceptive. In point of fact, in the Gulf War the United

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Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: In Search of an American "Defense Insurance Policy" 1
  • Notes 11
  • 2: Risks and Uncertainties in a Changing World 13
  • Note 31
  • 3: Army Forces for the Future 33
  • 4: Naval Forces for the Future 55
  • 5: Tactical Air Forces for the Future 71
  • 6: Marine Forces for the Future 93
  • Notes 109
  • 7: Strategic Forces for the Future 111
  • Notes 122
  • 8: Coping with Global Missile Proliferation 123
  • 9: The Pivotal Elements: Airlift and Sealift 141
  • 10: The Need for Forward Prepositioning 159
  • 11: The U.S. Defense- Industrial Base 173
  • Notes 184
  • 12: Conclusion: How the Challenges and Dangers of the Post-Containment Era Can Be Mastered 185
  • Notes 189
  • Index 191
  • About the Editors and Contributors 197
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