The American defense establishment has come to think of itself as the victim of complex and demanding threats, political irresponsibility and public apathy. While true, such conditions are often the case in American history. “Don’t fight the problem” is a standard instruction in war games. The Department of Defense should adopt that approach with its budget and strategy: stop submitting budgets in excess of legislated limits and devise a strategy consistent with them. It should explore alternative ways to achieve policy objectives, develop a concrete means of assessing risk, and on that basis build greater support for its preferred strategy.