Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century

Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century


America’s strategy has become increasingly budget-driven in the face of ongoing cuts, culminating in the sequester. As a result, fewer funds are, and will be, available for critical operations, notably exercises and training with foreign forces that are the key both to strengthening alliances and partnerships and to deterring current and potential adversaries. That Washington continues to revise its defense strategy virtually on an annual basis has further undermined its credibility worldwide. Given its long-standing global interests, and uncertainty regarding when and where it might again have to commit forces to defend them, the United States must reinvigorate its efforts to streamline the Defense Department so as to maintain its global posture in the face of budget pressures. Measures to improve defense efficiency include reductions in the civilian and contractor work forces, overhaul of the military medical and retirement systems, and repeal of anachronistic laws that foster waste in defense acquisition.

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