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Engagement through Deployment: Shaping America's Future Military

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Journal article

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The collapse of Soviet-led communism changed the simple rules by which US security was planned during the Cold War. While the debate over the new rules proceeds, US forces are moving out of overseas bases and are demobilizing. The remaining forces are conducting temporary overseas deployments more frequently and to more places than ever before, mostly for what is now called operations other than war OOTW. These are the day-to-day military operations of regional deterrence, stability, and humanitarian assistance that have long been critical to US global access and influence. They will continue to be critical to the nations engagement in world affairs. The Defense Department Bottom-Up Review established the requirement to fight two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts as the primary basis for US military force structure planning. Current reductions are reshaping the military both to meet this mission and to meet stringent budget limits. It is becoming clear that these budget limits are too small to support a future force large enough to fight two wars, yet still modern and ready enough to win them. Without a compelling global threat, the spending is unlikely to increase. Americas military is faced with a mismatch between its requirements and its resources. The United States has not faced more than one major war at a time in 50 years, but over this same period its national interests and influence have depended on a robust capability to conduct multiple OOTW. The nations future military should be shaped to follow this same broad pattern joint operations both in global OOTW and in a single regional war. This article will characterize the nature of future joint operations and will describe the capabilities and shape of the military best-suited to conduct them.

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

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