ends with "Numbers and dollars will be contained in the budget documents when they come out in early February. Reportedly, at the end of the administration’s FY 2019 internal budget process, the department received a large increase in expected fiscal 2019 funding and is still working through how it will allocate the money. So we’ll need to wait a few weeks to find out what happens to major programs like the F-35, how many ships the administration plans to buy, and how big the Army will be. Stay tuned."
and the question is where at that time 2018 Military money will be
... the article goes on below due to size limitThe long awaited National Defense Strategy (NDS) bluntly describes a US military that is losing its edge over potential competitors, and urges “increased and sustained investment” for “long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia”. It echoes many long-standing themes from the Republican national security establishment, but with a few dashes of classic Mattis perspectives added in. Those interested in specifics may be disappointed because the unclassified version is only a fraction the length of the classified version that went to the Congress, so there is no discussion of trade-offs, numbers or dollars.
Same Threats, Different Order
The NDS identifies five threats: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, terrorism. These are the same threats that
After 2014, with the Russian takeover of the Crimea and move into the Ukraine,
To win in this demanding environment, the document repeatedly argues for the need to “field a lethal, resilient, and rapidly adapting joint force.” (“Lethal”, a classic Mattis-ism appears a dozen times in the text.) To do this, it advocates modernization as the highest priority, investing in nuclear forces, space and cyberspace, missile defense and joint lethality.
Expanding force structure is distinctly a lower priority since all the investments cited are for modernization. However, the strategy does note that, “The size of our force matters.” This appears to be a late add by the White House and sounds more like National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster than Mattis.
Also interesting is the identification of three theaters of engagement: the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. This is consistent with what the Obama administration had been doing towards the end, as it was pulled back into Europe by Russian aggression and into the Middle East by ISIS. Although China is clearly the leading threat, there is nothing in the unclassified document about sending a preponderance of combat power to the Pacific. The classified document likely expresses more of a focus on China, but this strategy is clearly backing away from the Obama QDR 2014 notion of withdrawing from Europe and the Middle East in order to focus on the Pacific (“the rebalance”).
The strategy does make some mushy nods to other regions like South America and Africa, but these look like pro forma acknowledgments designed to reassure allies without making major force or policy commitments.
Two Major Conflicts?
A big change is the force sizing construct, the way the strategy calculates how many forces are needed and what kind. The two major conflict construct, which has been a constant in various configurations since the end of the Cold War, is replaced by a “1+” construct: “defeating aggression by a major power…[and] deterring aggression by [another] major power.” Thus, “defeat and deny” in
The strategy acknowledges that “during normal day-to-day operations, the Joint Force will sustainably compete in the three key regions”, but these crisis response missions do not appear to be a driver for force sizing; the strategy will “prioritize maintaining the capacity and capabilities for major combat”. To manage these day-to-day operations, the unclassified document has a confusing description of “Dynamic Force Employment” and a “Global Operating Model”, which senior officials say is clearer in the classified version. The intention is to adjust peacetime force deployments to levels that the force can sustain. This is attractive in theory but difficult to do in practice.
There is no discussion of stability operations or counterinsurgency except for one passing mention of “competition spanning the entire spectrum of conflict”. This is a huge change from the Bush years when the
Links And Gaps
Other elements show strong continuity with previous post-Cold War national security strategies. There is a lengthy “hymn to the allies”, extolling their value, the long-standing relationships, and the need for these connections in the future. There is also an extended discussion about the importance of the “resilient, but weakening, Post-WWII international order.”
The strategy calls for “a motivated and highly skilled civilian work force”, which contrasts with customary Republican skepticism about the government workforce. Indeed, much of the personnel rhetoric sounds like Defense Secretary Ash
Missing also is any discussion about sustaining the All Volunteer Force and the supporting establishment underneath the warfighters, which was so prominent in the