Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Competing Visions for the U.S. Military

Competing Visions for the U.S. Military

The U.S. military today is at a crossroads. Although it is peerless and unchallenged abroad, its future course is fiercely debated. Competing visions for its evolution vie for influence, driven by different views of long-term threats to the national interest.

Traditionalists focus on conventional nation-state threats and seek to preserve the U.S. military’s ability to apply overwhelming power against such enemies. Others, more concerned about the increase in asymmetric threats posed by failing states and terrorist groups possibly armed with WMD, argue that the military needs to evolve into a more rapid, lightweight, and flexible force, with greater capabilities to promote societal changes after a rogue regime is defeated. Straddling both camps, proponents of a revolution in military affairs (RMA) advocate making the integration of information technology and precision weaponry a top priority.

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