It is clear that threats are growing and forces need to grow to meet them. Any further cuts are over and forces will increase assuming budget deals avoid sequestration. This report reviews force structure for each military service and identifies three themes about the forces this year.
The United States has never grappled with the degree of civil-military dysfunction that many other nations have faced. The threat of a military coup has never been a significant concern. Yet civil-military friction is intrinsic in the compromise between the nation’s republican nature, which insists on civilian control and military subordination, and the existence of a standing federal military force.
This reflection examines the relationship between Special Forces and general forces. Special Forces operate quickly and with great secrecy. Unlike general forces, the element of secrecy keeps Special Forces out of public debate. Recognizing the strength of Special Forces, how should we wage war with transparency?
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.