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The Joint Challenge -- and Opportunity

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Journal article

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The purpose of this essay is to highlight selected recent events and trends indicating a watershed in the international environment, to suggest an approach the Department of Defense and the services should adopt at this critical juncture to prepare most effectively for the future, and to identify several key areas needing DoD and service analysis. Our civilian and military leaders must follow up the thoroughly professional combined operations conducted in the Gulf with an equally professional approach to the future. They must be supported in this effort by the Congress, in whose hands rests the power to aid or subvert much of what must be done. It is clear that both domestic and world events are conspiring to force some critical and far-reaching decisions regarding the size, shape, and capabilities of our armed forces. Reduction in size and cost is inevitable. Effectiveness for the future is the issue. In addition to recent combat lessons, the dominant factors that Pentagon and unifiedspecified command planners must consider involve the drastically changing relationships, capabilities, and internal dynamics of our potential adversaries. Analysis of Desert Storm results in a few broad issue areas that bear directly on how we shape out future defense. Among these broad areas of concern, we should note the critical role of the United Nations in ensuring the legitimacy and the long-range value of the decisive reaction to Iraqs aggression. Another area of concern is that of strategic lift. There was an obvious shortfall of immediately responsive U.S. air and sea lift to move the forces and supporting logistics to the theater as rapidly as desired. Finally, we will need to study further the nations dependence on a reserve call-up to deploy, employ, and sustain a force of any size. There is an equally critical need to review the existing active-reserve structure, which was designed to fight a NATO-Warsaw Pact war.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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