SECDEF & CJCS

…And it is an interesting read, informing the potential rationale behind some recent decisions, such as the Navy stepping away from the DDG-1000:

Future Challenges Risk
An underlying assumption in our understanding of the strategic environment is that the predominant near-term challenges to the United States will come from state and non-state actors using irregular and catastrophic capabilities. Although our advanced space and cyber-space assets give us unparalleled advantages on the traditional battlefield, they also entail vulnerabilities.

China is developing technologies to disrupt our traditional advantages. Examples include development of anti-satellite capabilities and cyber warfare. Other actors, particularly non-state actors, are developing asymmetric tactics, techniques, and procedures that seek to avoid situations where our advantages come into play.

The Department will invest in hedging against the loss or disruption of our traditional advantages, not only through developing mitigation strategies, but also by developing alternative or parallel means to the same end. This diversification parallelism is distinct from acquiring overmatch capabilities (whereby we have much more than an adversary of a similar capability). It will involve pursuing multiple routes to similar effects while ensuring that such capabilities are applicable across multiple mission areas. (emphasis added – SJS) – National Defense Strategy – June 2008

Source Document here.

There’s more in the way of extracts below the fold…

Key points:

1.  Objectives:

  • * Defend the Homeland

* Win the Long War:

“For the foreseeable future, winning the Long War against violent extremist movements will be the central objective of the U.S.”

* Promote Security

“The best way to achieve security is to prevent war when possible and to encourage peaceful change within the international system.”

“We must be prepared to deal with sudden disruptions, to help prevent them from escalating or endangering international security, and to find ways to bring them swiftly to a conclusion.”

“China continues to modernize and develop military capabilities primarily focused on a Taiwan Strait conflict, but which could have application in other contingencies. The Department will respond to China’s expanding military power, and to the uncertainties over how it might be used, through shaping and hedging.  This approach tailors investment of substantial, but not infinite, resources in ways that favor key enduring U.S. strategic advantages. At the same time, we will continue to improve and refine our capabilities to respond to China if necessary.”

* Deter Conflict

“We must tailor deterrence to fit particular actors, situations, and forms of warfare.  The same developments that add to the complexity of the challenge also offer us a greater variety of capabilities and methods to deter or dissuade adversaries.”

“For this reason, deterrence must remain grounded in demonstrated military capabilities that can respond to a broad array of challenges to international security. . . . Missile defenses not only deter an attack, but can defend against such an attack should deterrence fail. (note plural form — missile defenses…)

* Win Our Nation’s Wars

“Although improving the U.S. Armed Forces’ proficiency in irregular warfare is the Defense Department’s top priority, the United States does not have the luxury of preparing exclusively for such challenges.”

“Rogue states will remain a threat to U.S. regional interests. Iran and North Korea continue to exert coercive pressure in their respective regions, where each seek to challenge or reduce U.S. influence. Responding to and, as necessary, defeating these, and potentially other, rogue states will remain a major challenge. We must maintain the capabilities required to defeat state adversaries, including those armed with nuclear weapons.”

2.  Prevent Adversaries from Acquiring or Using WMD:

“We combine non-proliferation efforts to deny these weapons and their components to our adversaries, active efforts to defend against and defeat WMD and missile threats before they are unleashed, and improved protection to mitigate the consequences of WMD use.” (emphasis added)

3. Strengthen and Expand Alliances and Partnerships:

“We should not limit ourselves to the relationships of the past. We must broaden our ideas to include partnerships for new situations or circumstances, calling on moderate voices in troubled regions and unexpected partners. In some cases, we may develop arrangements limited to specific objectives or goals, or even of limited duration.”

4.  Secure US strategic Access and retain freedom of action

“For more than sixty years, the United States has secured the global commons for the benefit of all. Global prosperity is contingent on the free flow of ideas, goods, and services.” (almost reads like a direct lift out of the MS)

“The United States will continue to foster access to and flow of energy resources vital to the world economy.”

5. A new “Jointness”

“We as a nation must strengthen not only our military capabilities, but also reinvigorate other important elements of national power and develop the capability to integrate, tailor, and apply these tools as needed. We must tap the full strength of America and its people.”

“Our forces have stepped up to the task of long-term reconstruction, development and governance.  The U.S. Armed Forces will need to institutionalize and retain these capabilities, but this is no replacement for civilian involvement and expertise.”

“Greater civilian participation is necessary both to make military operations successful and to relieve stress on the men and women of the armed forces.”

“We also need capabilities to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Strategic communications within the Department and across government is a good example.  Although the United States invented modern public relations, we are unable to communicate to the world effectively who we are and what we stand for as a society and culture, about freedom and democracy, and about our goals and aspirations.” (interesting that they chose this section for the strategic communications…)

6.  DoD Capabilities and Means:

“The Department will continue to emphasize the areas identified in the 2006 QDR, specifically improvements in capabilities for defeating terrorist networks, defending the homeland in depth, shaping the choices of countries at strategic crossroads, and preventing adversaries’ acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction. Although these capabilities are not sufficient to address all the missions of the Department, they require particular attention.”

7.  Managing Risk:

Operational Risk: “U.S. predominance in traditional warfare is not unchallenged, but is sustainable for the medium term given current trends. The 2006 QDR focused on non-traditional or irregular challenges. We will continue to focus our investments on building capabilities to address these other challenges, while examining areas where we can assume greater risk.”

Future Challenges Risk: “The Department will invest in hedging against the loss or disruption of our traditional advantages, not only through developing mitigation strategies, but also by developing alternative or parallel means to the same end. This diversification parallelism is distinct from acquiring overmatch capabilities (whereby we have much more than an adversary of a similar capability). It will involve pursuing multiple routes to similar effects while ensuring that such capabilities are applicable across multiple mission areas.”  (emphasis added – and thus seals the end-of-the-line for more F-22 production and provides insight into Navy dropping DDG-1000).

Force Management Risk: (nothing really new)

Institutional Risk: Since 2001, the Department has created new commands (integrating Space and Strategic Commands, establishing Northern and Africa Commands) and new governance structures. DoD is already a complex organization. We must guard against increasing organizational complexity leading to redundancy, gaps, or overly bureaucratic decision-making processes.