NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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It is an endearing but unfortunate American characteristic to conclude a war by saying, Its over, weve won, lets bring our troops home. We paid a bitter price for such shortsightedness in 1941 and again in 1950. Yet surely the prospects for peace in 1919 and 1945 looked as promising as they do today. We were lucky that the Cold War of the last 40 years did not result in a cataclysmic hot war that civilization could not have survived. American will, strength, and sacrifice produced our third strategic victory of the 20th century. It would be an unforgivable delusion, however, to behave as though we are not ineluctably entering an age of universal and endless peace and harmony. In short term we can certainly afford to reduce our defense expenditures as the immediate threat to our security recedes. We cannot, however, allow ourselves, over the long term, to become weak and risk being unprepared for the unseen danger that may lie hidden in the future, as we have done twice in the past. The immediate challenge to national security planners is to preserve the minimum force structure essential to maintaining strategic deterrence and supporting U.S. political and economic objectives abroad for the foreseeable future Even in the absence of a major threat to global security, U.S. conventional military capabilities must still be sufficiently robust and credible to deter regional adventurism in areas crucial to the national interest. While our military planners reduce the size of our armed forces they must also with an eye on long-term contingencies, craft both research and development, and procurement strategies. These strategies should be designed to allow the United States to maintain its technological battlefield superiority, on the one hand, and a mobilization capability sufficient to deter or deal with the reemergence of a regional or even a global threat on the other.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics