Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts A Smaller Military To Fight the War on Terror

A Smaller Military To Fight the War on Terror


The defense budget can be reduced and the U.S. military downsized because (1) the nation-state threat environment is markedly different than it was during the Cold War, and (2) a large military is not necessary to combat the terrorist threat. In fact, the Islamist terrorist threat is relatively undeterred by the U.S. military presence abroad, and U.S. forces abroad, particularly those deployed in Muslim countries, may do more to exacerbate than to diminish the threat. The arduous task of dismantling and degrading the terrorist network will largely be the task of unprecedented international intelligence and law enforcement cooperation, not the application of large-scale military force. To the extent the military is involved in the war on terror, it will be special forces in discrete operations against specific targets rather than large-scale military operations.

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