At current budgetary levels modernization is a third priority behind rebuilding readiness and maintaining force structure. Additionally, any increase in budget will be unlikely to help resolve this challenge. This report reviews the army modernization challenge.
Even though there is almost no data to crunch from the Trump campaign, it’s time to examine what a Trump defense program might look like because he appears to be the presumptive Republican nominee. As one might expect, Trump has broken all the policy conventions in describing a defense program in the same way he has broken all the political rules to achieve his primary victories so far. He is causing huge discomfort in the Republican national security community.
In a major speech this week, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made specific proposals for national security. It may be that after months of expansive rhetoric about rebuilding America’s defenses and getting tough with foreign threats, candidates finally feel the need to be specific.
Here’s a thought experiment. What if Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders becomes president? What would a Sanders defense program look like? Yes, yes, a near win in Iowa does not a presidential nominee make. Even though he’ll probably win in his neighboring state of New Hampshire, there is a long slog to the convention. Then there is the matter of the general election. But it is worth looking at what he might mean for defense.
This inaugural report in the Defense Outlook Series looks back at what happened in 2015, specifically with respect to strategy and the security environment, the debate in Congress over the defense budget and force structure, and changes in the acquisition system, and looks ahead to what these developments may mean in 2016 and beyond.
This report details the plans for major acquisition programs over the next fifteen years and explores the complicating factors that may make the situation more problematic for policymakers. It analyzes a range of options to mitigate the bow wave, including increasing the budget, cutting additional force structure, and making trades among major acquisition programs.
All the Republicans support increased spending for defense and establishing a more robust defense posture. There’s lots of talk about rebuilding defenses, reversing budget cuts and having “the most powerful military on the planet” — but there are precious few specifics. Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina has been most specific about her proposals and gets a gold star for that.