Air and Space Power, Lead Turning, the Future

Abstract

To optimize security investment for the future, the Department of Defense (DoD) should adopt an approach that rewards the services for developing innovative methods to attain national security objectives with the least risk in both blood and treasure. To accomplish this, the DoD may have to re-visit its former practice of providing each service with relatively equal slices of the military budget. Under such an approach, the services are motivated to make incremental changes to the concepts and weapons of the previous war and have little reason to take risks to increase productivity of man and machine alike. What is needed—particularly in these times of increasingly complex national security challenges, rising costs, and shrinking budgets—is a plan for going forward that is centered on a shared vision of the variety of threat conditions we are likely to face, an honest evaluation of their significance, and a mature appraisal of what will be required to deal with them. We should dedicate ourselves to crafting an overall defense strategy that will allow us to shape the environment and act flexibly across the entire range of operations, and that will also provide a framework upon which to base our jointly focused resource and investment decisions.1

A “lead turn” is a flying maneuver that when executed results in an advantage over an opponent.

1In a recent publication entitled “A New Division of Labor: Meeting America’s Security Challenges Beyond Iraq,” Andy Hoehn, et al., suggest a number of changes in our DoD architecture based on the emerging security environment of the future. Their recommendations focus on “reallocating risk to produce needed capabilities,” and deserve serious attention by Defense and National leadership as they establish an appropriate defense strategy blueprint for the kind of security future we are likely to encounter.

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