The U.S. defense strategy and posture have become insolvent. The tasks that the nation expects its military forces and other elements of national power to do internationally exceed the means that are available to accomplish those tasks. Sustained, coordinated efforts by the United States and its allies are necessary to deter and defeat modern threats, including Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and reconstituted forces and China’s economic takeoff and concomitant military modernization. This report offers ideas on how to address shortcomings in defense preparations.
- The nature of warfare has evolved since the Cold War, and it has become increasingly clear that the U.S. defense strategy and posture are insolvent.
- The U.S. defense strategy has been predicated on U.S. military forces that were superior in all domains to those of any adversary. This superiority is gone. The United States and its allies no longer have a virtual monopoly on the technologies and capabilities that made them so dominant against adversarial forces.
- U.S. and allied forces do not require superiority to defeat aggression by even their most powerful foes. The United States, acting in concert with key allies and partners, can restore credible postures of deterrence against major aggression without having to regain overmatch in any operational domain against China or Russia.
- Russia’s brutal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine has awakened North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to the risk of a wider war in the Euro-Atlantic area. This realization has motivated allies to make significant increases in defense spending and preparedness, but much more must be done over the next few years to deter and defend the region against further aggression by Russia’s reconstituted military forces.
- Taiwan has embraced the rhetoric of asymmetric warfare, but its budget reflects a preference for legacy systems. As a result, there is a gap between the United States’ and Taiwan’s goals for the direction of Taiwan’s defense program.
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