DEFENSE AND NATIONAL SECURITY
The defense of the United States, its allies and our interests around the world is the paramount duty of our government. Unless the sovereign diligently pursues its responsibility, all of the rights we enjoy under the Constitution will be lost.
America has never sought to create an empire built on the shattered freedom of others. To the contrary, we have always been a force for good seeking only peaceful economic relations with others.
Because America is the only global superpower, it is our burden to defend our own freedoms and enable our allies to defend their own. Simply put, if we don’t no one else will because no one else can. This does not mean America should be the world’s policeman. To the contrary, it means that the exercise of American power must be limited to times and places where our interests are threatened.
From the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the communist empire was the source of the only significant threat. But today there are many sources of a variety of threats. We cannot afford to ignore any of them even while we are fully engaged against others.
To perform its principal task, our government must not only analyze the evolving threat continuously, it must continue to develop the technologies that will meet the anticipated threat and invest in the methods and means by which we can continue our ability to change the course of events anywhere the need arises.
Despite the cost of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, defense spending as a share of the national economy and the Federal budget is at their lowest levels since the end of the Second World War. At the close of President Obama’s first four years in office, the most rapid growth in the budget is not defense spending but interest on the national debt, while means-tested welfare spending will have exceeded the Department of Defense budget. And at less than 5 percent of GDP, Obama is pushing for defense cuts that will reach Clinton administration levels of 3 percent of GDP.
Nevertheless, both here and in the NATO nations, governments are looking for yet another “peace dividend” to take from defense and use for social spending and to relieve budget stress. But the “guns vs. butter” debate is a false one. Instead, we should be debating how defense policy and investment can best be managed. It’s not a question of how much defense we can afford, but rather how much, and what type do we need?
- Revised Defense Policy Development: During the Reagan administration, the “defense guidance” mechanism was established to determine Pentagon budgets. It was in three stages. First, the best intelligence was used to analyze and determine the threats we had to answer. Second, an analysis of the Pentagon “tool box” was accomplished to determine if we had the right assets to meet the threats. Third, the Pentagon’s budget was derived from the first two elements to determine what had to be developed and what had to be bought, retired and otherwise acquired to ensure our national defense. This processs should be restored.
- Nuclear Deterrence: The advent of nuclear weapons and intercontinental delivery systems fundamentally altered the security environment. Now, the threat has proliferated among too many nations and – eventually – will likely include state-sponsored terrorist groups. The United States must possess robust, modernized offensive and defensive systems to protect the American people from devastating attacks that could cause unprecedented casualties. A secure arsenal of nuclear missiles at the ready is a necessary but not sufficient basis for deterrence. The possibility that deterrence will fail – and that some nations, such as Iran, may not be susceptible of deterrence - requires that the U.S. homeland and our forces abroad be protected from missile attack. A steady research, development and deployment program to keep the country’s strategic strike and missile defense systems endowed with the best available technology is the cornerstone of homeland security and deterrance to protect our allies.
- Conventional Warfare: Though we are engaged in unconventional warfare in Afghanistan and elsewhere, we cannot believe that we will never have to fight another conventional conflict. Nation-states are the focus of international politics because they have the resources to support ambitious agendas that can change the balance of power in key regions or even globally. Countering rising peer competitors such as China, rogue states looking for regional dominance (and who also present a proliferation threat), and state-sponsors of terrorism will require high-end capabilities.
The line between conventional and unconventional warfare has blurred with the advent of new battlefields such as cyberspace. Nations such as Georgia have already suffered massive cyber attacks from Russia, demonstrating the need for American government, infrastructure and military systems to be protected. Moreover, the capability for offensive cyber war, now in its infancy, must be developed and built in a manner that equates our capabilities in other fields of conventional war.
The last U.S. ground soldier to be killed by enemy aircraft died in 1953. Air supremacy has been taken for granted ever since, but it is now in doubt. Both the Air Force and the Navy are projecting massive near-term shortfalls in the number of fighters needed to perform the services’ missions. America must continue to invest in future generations of fighter aircraft to guarantee control of the skies so dominant that most adversaries will not even attempt to contest it. And for those who do make that attempt, American pilots must have the skills and technology needed to defeat their challenge.
Command of the seas has been a U.S. advantage that turns the oceans into a highway for America and a barrier to any adversary. The country needs a balanced fleet of aircraft carriers, surface warships, submarines, and amphibious units that can operate freely in every corner of the globe. President Ronald Reagan wanted a 600-ship Navy, but today the fleet has less than half that many warships in a world whose oceans are no smaller now than they were then. Naval combatants must be developed and built to meet the threats anticipated over the next decade and beyond.
Ground combat forces of the Army and Marine Corps have historically been the decisive element in defeating conventional enemies. And since the first Gulf War in 1991, Special Forces from all three branches have contributed enormously to our ability to defeat conventional and unconventional enemies. The strain on all ground forces caused by their near-continuous deployment since 2003 requires that their strength be restored. Moreover, the technologies available to ground forces, while far better than they were two decades ago, should be re-examined and rebuilt or replaced as the threat analysis indicates.
- Support for Allies: Strategic reality demands that the U.S. put more effort into building up the capacity of allies to defend themselves as well as fight alongside U.S. forces. Most of our allies, especially the NATO nations, have refused to invest adequately in their own defense and are now cutting back even more. Our diplomacy should take as a principal objective the reversal of this trend. America has a long history of providing friendly states with equipment, training, and other forms of security assistance on inexpensive terms, as well as developing institutional arrangements that form enduring ties with the U.S. military. Such an effort is more important than ever given the spread of terrorism and local threats, which are best met by those who know the situation firsthand.
Intervention by robust U.S. forces may be necessary to save a friendly government from collapse, overthrow a rogue regime, or stabilize a perilous situation. But in the long-run, and on a day-to-day basis, allies must provide for their own security. They must not, however, feel isolated or abandoned. The U.S. must convey both to friends and foes alike that it has the capability and will to support its allies should a major threat appear.
Another principal goal of American diplomacy should be to form new reliable partnerships – alliances, outside the UN framework -- with states that share compatible foreign policy and security interests. The Bush administration’s “Proliferation Security Initiative” or PSI, which succeeded in allying several dozen nations against the proliferation of nuclear and missile technology and weapons, should be a model for these efforts. The State and Defense departments should make the determination of the overall status of relations between the U.S. and a foreign government upon which the decision to give assistance is based.
- Defense Industrial Base: “The vitality of the industrial and technology base of the United States is a foundation of national security that provides the industrial and technological capabilities employed to meet national defense requirements, in peacetime and in time of national emergency.” This is the first Congressional finding in the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950. The DPA was the result of the hard lessons the country had learned from being repeatedly unprepared for the major wars of the 20th century. Its wisdom must remain at the core of the economic component of national security.
In addition to guaranteeing security of supply, it is also essential that the nation’s defense industrial capacity remains superior to that of potential adversaries. That must begin in the high schools and colleges where the study of engineering and science should be incented. The Defense Department’s “independent research and development” program – by which the government pays part of the cost of research intended to accelerate the development of new defense technologies – should be increased.
Production of major weapon systems and components should not be outsourced to overseas suppliers. Nevertheless, if foreign firms develop new technologies that would be advantageous to include in U.S. weapon systems, they should be required to license production in the United States.
On the other hand, when allies wish to enter into contracts under which U.S. companies would develop new weapon systems jointly with their industries, we should support those efforts by enabling U.S. companies to share technologies, which we would otherwise permit them to sell in the nations in question.
There should be a vigorous campaign to increase the sale of military equipment to allies to enhance interoperability of systems as well as to reduce costs with larger production runs. Licensing and financing should be streamlined to support the comparative advantage that some U.S. defense companies enjoy in some markets.
In contrast to allies, there should be tighter restrictions on the sale of dual use technology with military applications to potential rival powers.
- Integration of Defense, Diplomatic and Economic Policy: For America to succeed in the 21th Century, we can no longer allow our defense policy, diplomacy and economic policies to be independent of each other. Every president should undertake to integrate the three, combining the strengths of each in our national interests.