With regard to strategic defense, in Chapter 8 General Piotrowski has endorsed the reconfigured version of SDI known as Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). Given the proliferation of ballistic missiles, this defensive component of both strategic and tactical forces makes more sense than ever.
A dominant theme among many of the contributors was the importance of airlift and sealift. These components are at the very heart of power projection, and the Gulf War experience suggests a need to expand and improve them, as outlined in Chapter 9 by General Cassidy and Admiral Herberger. Forward pre- positioning also proved critical in the Gulf War, especially in the early stages of Desert Shield. In Chapter 10, General Went makes a persuasive case for maintaining a "triad of strategic mobility," which includes airlift, sealift, and pre-positioning.
Under all of these elements of force structure lies the foundation of the U.S. industrial base, the future of which is uncertain. As General Hansen suggests in Chapter 11, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense should devote more attention to industrial preparedness planning and the health of the defense industries.
These are the essential elements of a comprehensive approach to insuring U.S. national security. While the predictable Soviet threat has disappeared, there are many potential threats out there in what continues to be a dangerous, unpredictable world. In the frenzy to cut the U.S. force, it should be remembered that the vaunted Cold War structure, which many today believe is bloated, was taxed by the Gulf War. Reshaping that structure into a slimmer but adequate force can be done, but it must be done judiciously.
In the end, the proposals made by our contributors represent an insurance policy we can readily afford, if we invest prudently by paying the premiums over time.