Veterans for 911 Truth, Rebuilding

Strategy, Forces and Resources
For a New Century
A Report of
The Project for the New American Century
September 2000
Established in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a nonprofit,
educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.
The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project. William Kristol is chairman
of the Project, and Robert Kagan, Devon Gaffney Cross, Bruce P. Jackson and John R.
Bolton serve as directors. Gary Schmitt is executive director of the Project.
“As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the
world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in
the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does
the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of
past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a
new century favorable to American principles and interests?
“[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet
both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and
purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national
leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
“Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its
power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global
leadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. America
has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia,
and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite
challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th
century should have taught us that it is important to shape
circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they
become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us
to embrace the cause of American leadership.”
– From the Project’s founding Statement of Principles
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 293-4983 / Fax: (202) 293-4572
Strategy, Forces and Resources
For a New Century
Project Co-Chairmen
Principal Author

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
The Project for the New American
Century was established in the spring of
1997. From its inception, the Project has
been concerned with the decline in the
strength of America’s defenses, and in the
problems this would create for the exercise
of American leadership around the globe
and, ultimately, for the preservation of
Our concerns were reinforced by the
two congressionally-mandated defense
studies that appeared soon thereafter: the
Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review
(May 1997) and the report of the National
Defense Panel (December 1997). Both
studies assumed that U.S. defense budgets
would remain flat or continue to shrink. As
a result, the defense plans and
recommendations outlined in the two reports
were fashioned with such budget constraints
in mind. Broadly speaking, the QDR
stressed current military requirements at the
expense of future defense needs, while the
NDP’s report emphasized future needs by
underestimating today’s defense
Although the QDR and the report of the
NDP proposed different policies, they
shared one underlying feature: the gap
between resources and strategy should be
resolved not by increasing resources but by
shortchanging strategy. America’s armed
forces, it seemed, could either prepare for
the future by retreating from its role as the
essential defender of today’s global security
order, or it could take care of current
business but be unprepared for tomorrow’s
threats and tomorrow’s battlefields.
Either alternative seemed to us
shortsighted. The United States is the
world’s only superpower, combining
preeminent military power, global
technological leadership, and the world’s
largest economy. Moreover, America stands
at the head of a system of alliances which
includes the world’s other leading
democratic powers. At present the United
States faces no global rival. America’s
grand strategy should aim to preserve and
extend this advantageous position as far into
the future as possible. There are, however,
potentially powerful states dissatisfied with
the current situation and eager to change it,
if they can, in directions that endanger the
relatively peaceful, prosperous and free
condition the world enjoys today. Up to
now, they have been deterred from doing so
by the capability and global presence of
American military power. But, as that
power declines, relatively and absolutely,
the happy conditions that follow from it will
be inevitably undermined.
Preserving the desirable strategic
situation in which the United States now
finds itself requires a globally preeminent
military capability both today and in the
future. But years of cuts in defense
spending have eroded the American
military’s combat readiness, and put in
jeopardy the Pentagon’s plans for
maintaining military superiority in the years
ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has
found itself undermanned, inadequately
equipped and trained, straining to handle
contingency operations, and ill-prepared to
adapt itself to the revolution in military
affairs. Without a well-conceived defense
policy and an appropriate increase in
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century
At present the
United States
faces no
global rival.
grand strategy
should aim to
preserve and
extend this
position as far
into the future
as possible.
defense spending, the United States has been
letting its ability to take full advantage of the
remarkable strategic opportunity at hand slip
With this in mind, we began a project in
the spring of 1998 to examine the country’s
defense plans and resource requirements.
We started from the premise that U.S.
military capabilities should be sufficient to
support an American grand strategy
committed to building upon this
unprecedented opportunity. We did not
accept pre-ordained constraints that
followed from assumptions about what the
country might or might not be willing to
expend on its defenses.
In broad terms, we saw the project as
building upon the defense strategy outlined
by the Cheney Defense Department in the
waning days of the Bush Administration.
The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted
in the early months
of 1992 provided a
blueprint for
maintaining U.S.
precluding the rise
of a great power
rival, and shaping
the international
security order in
line with American
principles and
interests. Leaked
before it had been
formally approved,
the document was
criticized as an
effort by “cold
warriors” to keep defense spending high and
cuts in forces small despite the collapse of
the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, it was
subsequently buried by the new
Although the experience of the past
eight years has modified our understanding
of particular military requirements for
carrying out such a strategy, the basic tenets
of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound.
And what Secretary Cheney said at the time
in response to the DPG’s critics remains true
today: “We can either sustain the [armed]
forces we require and remain in a position to
help shape things for the better, or we can
throw that advantage away. [But] that
would only hasten the day when we face
greater threats, at higher costs and further
risk to American lives.”
The project proceeded by holding a
series of seminars. We asked outstanding
defense specialists to write papers to explore
a variety of topics: the future missions and
requirements of the individual military
services, the role of the reserves, nuclear
strategic doctrine and missile defenses, the
defense budget and prospects for military
modernization, the state (training and
readiness) of today’s forces, the revolution
in military affairs, and defense-planning for
theater wars, small wars and constabulary
operations. The papers were circulated to a
group of participants, chosen for their
experience and judgment in defense affairs.
(The list of participants may be found at the
end of this report.) Each paper then became
the basis for discussion and debate. Our
goal was to use the papers to assist
deliberation, to generate and test ideas, and
to assist us in developing our final report.
While each paper took as its starting point a
shared strategic point of view, we made no
attempt to dictate the views or direction of
the individual papers. We wanted as full
and as diverse a discussion as possible.
Our report borrows heavily from those
deliberations. But we did not ask seminar
participants to “sign-off” on the final report.
We wanted frank discussions and we sought
to avoid the pitfalls of trying to produce a
consensual but bland product. We wanted to
try to define and describe a defense strategy
that is honest, thoughtful, bold, internally
consistent and clear. And we wanted to
spark a serious and informed discussion, the
essential first step for reaching sound
conclusions and for gaining public support.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

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