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New Directions in US Military Strategy

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Journal article

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The past two years have witnessed extraordinary flux in the international security environment. We have transitioned rapidly from an intense superpower rivalry marked by bloc-to-bloc confrontation to a constructive partnership between former adversaries in search of enduring peace and stability. The United States has responded to this dramatic turn of events by crafting a new national defense strategy to cope with evolving challenges to our nations vital interests for the remainder of this decade. The product of this endeavor constitutes the first fundamental change in American strategy since the flexible response doctrine was enunciated in the early 1960s. In October 1991 I joined military leaders from 37 other nations at the second Vienna Military Doctrine Seminar sponsored by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe CSCE. For nearly a week, we engaged in straightforward discussions about our respective military policies, force structures, and training activities in a concerted effort to reduce tensions and enhance stability in Europe. My purpose was to present Americas new strategic vision, the concepts that underlie it, and its particular application to Europe. This article encapsulates the views thus presented. During the initial Doctrine Seminar in January 1990, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, spoke of an unbounded American faith in democracy, individual freedom, and the rule of law of the unique role of the American military in protecting and defending the Constitution, the rights it guarantees, and the institutions it establishes and of how we respond to the will of the people as expressed through their elected political leaders in Congress and the White House. Those lofty ideals still hold true today. Our armed forces continue to serve as the nations sentinels. They encompass Americans from every walk of life and are imbued with a firm commitment to democracy, freedom, and justice.

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

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