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Versatility and Balance: Maintaining a Full Spectrum Force for the 21st Century

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Strategic research project

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In May 1997, with the announcement of Joint Vision 2010, the United States military enthusiastically embraced the technological potential offered through future information and firepower systems. Adopting the premise that an information revolution is creating yet another revolution in military affairs RMA, the U.S. military developed its future warfighting vision around four operational concepts dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection and focused logistics. The centerpiece that enables the application of these operational concepts is an improved intelligence and command and control system which will assure information superiority. This paper provides an analysis of the U.S. militarys current approach to the integration of technology in regard to strategy and future military operations as recently articulated by the Quadrennial Defense Review QDR . It begins with a brief overview of technology and the evolution of war. Next, it describes the Joint Vision 2010 conceptual template and National Security Strategy which governs future military operations. The paper then analyzes the Quadrennial Defense Review along with alternative pathways. The papers principal conclusion is that the QDRs evolutionary approach to the integration of technology in future forces offers the best pathway as it promises to balance ongoing security demands with a focused modernization plan. In this regard, the paper recommends that our future military force structure should reflect balance and versatility. The paper ends with the conclusion that a technological over-reliance at the cost of force structure reductions limits our capacity to respond to the full spectrum challenges of the future and would undoubtedly call for a new global strategy.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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