Competition in the Indian Ocean | Council on Foreign Relations
Every day, our allies and partners join us in defending freedom, deterring war, and maintaining the rules which underwrite a free and open international order. By working together with allies and partners we amass the greatest possible strength for the long-term advancement of our interests, maintaining favorable balances of power that deter aggression and support the stability that generates economic growth.
When we pool resources and share responsibility for our common defense, our security burden becomes lighter. Our allies and partners provide complementary capabilities and forces along with unique perspectives, regional relationships, and information that improve our understanding of the environment and expand our options. We will strengthen and evolve our alliances and partnerships into an extended network capable of deterring or decisively acting to meet the shared challenges of our time. We will focus on three elements for achieving a capable alliance and partnership network:.
The current bureaucratic approach, centered on exacting thoroughness and minimizing risk above all else, is proving to be increasingly unresponsive. We must transition to a culture of performance where results and accountability matter. We will put in place a management system where leadership can harness opportunities and ensure effective stewardship of taxpayer resources.
We have a responsibility to gain full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense , thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people. Deliver performance at the speed of relevance.
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Success no longer goes to the country that develops a new technology first, but rather to the one that better integrates it and adapts its way of fighting. Current processes are not responsive to need; the Department is over-optimized for exceptional performance at the expense of providing timely decisions, policies, and capabilities to the warfighter. Our response will be to prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation, and frequent modular upgrades.
We must not accept cumbersome approval chains, wasteful applications of resources in uncompetitive space, or overly risk-averse thinking that impedes change. Delivering performance means we will shed outdated management practices and structures while integrating insights from business innovation. Organize for innovation. Department leaders will adapt their organizational structures to best support the Joint Force. If current structures hinder substantial increases in lethality or performance, it is expected that Service Secretaries and Agency heads will consolidate, eliminate, or restructure as needed.
Drive budget discipline and affordability to achieve solvency. Better management begins with effective financial stewardship. The Department will continue its plan to achieve full auditability of all its operations, improving its financial processes, systems, and tools to understand, manage, and improve cost. We will continue to leverage the scale of our operations to drive greater efficiency in procurement of materiel and services while pursuing opportunities to consolidate and streamline contracts in areas such as logistics, information technology, and support services.
We will also continue efforts to reduce management overhead and the size of headquarters staff. We will reduce or eliminate duplicative organizations and systems for managing human resources, finance, health services, travel, and supplies. The Department will also work to reduce excess property and infrastructure, providing Congress with options for a Base Realignment and Closure.
Streamline rapid, iterative approaches from development to fielding. A rapid, iterative approach to capability development will reduce costs, technological obsolescence, and acquisition risk. The Department will realign incentive and reporting structures to increase speed of delivery, enable design tradeoffs in the requirements process, expand the role of warfighters and intelligence analysis throughout the acquisitions process, and utilize non-traditional suppliers. Prototyping and experimentation should be used prior to defining requirements and commercial-off-the-shelf systems.
Platform electronics and software must be designed for routine replacement instead of static configurations that last more than a decade. This approach, a major departure from previous practices and culture, will allow the Department to more quickly respond to changes in the security environment and make it harder for competitors to offset our systems. Harness and protect the National Security Innovation Base. The Department's technological advantage depends on a healthy and secure national security innovation base that includes both traditional and non-traditional defense partners.
The Department, with the support of Congress, will provide the defense industry with sufficient predictability to inform their long-term investments in critical skills, infrastructure, and research and development. We will continue to streamline processes so that new entrants and small-scale vendors can provide cutting-edge technologies.
We will also cultivate international partnerships to leverage and protect partner investments in military capabilities. We must use creative approaches, make sustained investment, and be disciplined in execution to field a Joint Force fit for our time, one that can compete, deter, and win in this increasingly complex security environment. A dominant Joint Force will protect the security of our nation, increase U. While any strategy must be adaptive m execution, this summary outlines what we must do to pass intact to the younger generation the freedoms we currently enjoy.
But there is nothing new under the sun: while this strategy will require sustained investment by the American people, we recall past generations who made harsher sacrifices so that we might enjoy our way of life today. As it has for generations, free men and women in America's military will fight with skill and valor to protect us. To carry out any strategy, history teaches us that wisdom and resources most be sufficient.
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I am confident this defense strategy is appropriate and worthy of the support of the American people. Defense objectives include: Defending the homeland from attack' ; Sustaining Joint Force military advantage s, both globally and in key regions Deterring adversaries from aggression against our vital interests; Enabling U. Build a More Lethal Force The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one.
Nuclear forces. The Department will modernize the nuclear triad—including nuclear command, control, and communications, and supporting infrastructure. Space and cyberspace as warfighting domains. The Department will prioritize investments in resilience, reconstitution, and operations to assure our space capabilities. We will also invest in cyber defense, resilience, and the continued integration of cyber capabilities into the full spectrum of military operations. Command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance C4ISR.
Investments will prioritize developing resilient, survivable, federated networks and information ecosystems from the tactical level up to strategic planning. Investments will also prioritize capabilities to gain and exploit information, deny competitors those same advantages, and enable us to provide attribution while defending against and holding accountable state or non-state actors during cyberattacks. Missile defense. Investments will focus on layered missile defenses and disruptive capabilities for both theater missile threats and North Korean ballistic missile threats.
Joint lethality in contested environments. The Joint Force must be able to strike diverse targets inside adversary air and missile defense networks to destroy mobile power-projection platforms. This will include capabilities to enhance close combat lethality in complex terrain. Forward force maneuver and posture resilience.
Investments will prioritize ground, air, sea, and space forces that can deploy, survive, operate, maneuver, and regenerate in all domains while under attack. Transitioning from large, centralized, unhardened infrastructure to smaller, dispersed, resilient, adaptive basing that include active and passive defenses will also be prioritized.
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Advanced autonomous systems. The Department will invest broadly in military application of autonomy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, including rapid application of commercial breakthroughs, to gain competitive military advantages. Resilient and agile logistics. Investments will prioritize prepositioned forward stocks and munitions, strategic mobility assets, partner and allied support, as well as non-commercially dependent distributed logistics and maintenance to ensure logistics sustainment while under persistent multi-domain attack.
Dynamic Force Employment. Dynamic Force Employment will prioritize maintaining the capacity and capabilities for major combat, while providing options for proactive and scalable employment of the Joint Force. A modernized Global Operating Model of combat-credible, flexible theater postures will enhance our ability to compete and provide freedom of maneuver during conflict, providing national decision-makers with better military options. Global Operating Model. The Global Operating Model describes how the Joint Force will be postured and employed to achieve its competition and wartime missions.
It comprises four layers: contact, blunt, surge, and homeland. These are, respectively, designed to help us compete more effectively below the level of armed conflict; delay, degrade, or deny adversary aggression; surge war-winning forces and manage conflict escalation; and defend the U. PME has stagnated, focused more on the accomplishment of mandatory credit at the expense of lethality and ingenuity. We will emphasize intellectual leadership and military professionalism in the art and science of warfighting, deepening our knowledge of history while embracing new technology and techniques to counter competitors.
PME is to be used as a strategic asset to build trust and interoperability across the Joint Forces and with allied and partner forces. Talent management. Developing leaders who are competent in national-level decision-making requires broad revision of talent management among the Armed Services, including fellowships, civilian education, and assignments that increase understanding of interagency decision-making processes, as well as alliances and coalitions. Civilian workforce expertise.
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A modern, agile, information-advantaged Department requires a motivated, diverse, and highly skilled civilian workforce. We will emphasize new skills and complement our current workforce with information experts, data scientists, computer programmers, and basic science researchers and engineers—to use information, not simply manage it.
The Department will also continue to explore streamlined, non-traditional pathways to bring critical skills into service, expanding access to outside expertise, and devising new public-private partnerships to work with small companies, start-ups, and universities. Strengthen Alliances and Attract New Partners Mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships are crucial to our strategy, providing a durable, asymmetric strategic advantage that no competitor or rival can match. Uphold a foundation of mutual respect, responsibility, priorities, and accountability.
Our alliances and coalitions are built on free will and shared responsibilities. We will uphold our commitments and we expect allies and partners to contribute an equitable share to our mutually beneficial collective security, including effective investment in modernizing their defense capabilities. We have shared responsibilities for resisting authoritarian trends, contesting radical ideologies, and serving as bulwarks against instability.
Expand regional consultative mechanisms and collaborative planning. We will develop new partnerships around shared interests to reinforce regional coalitions and security cooperation.