"The Cold War offered military planners considerable strategic clarity the threat was known, and the problem was generating a force structure of sufficient size and sophistication to counter it. Today's military threats are varied and, for the most part, well below the level that even a shrinking U.S. force can handle comfortably. Threats ten to twenty years out, however, must be taken seriously because of the long time required to complete a major systems acquisition; to develop, test, and institutionalize new doctrine; and to accomplish the organizational innovations necessary to use both effectively. Future threats may be divided into four categories: peers, bullies, terrorism, and chaos. The threat environment twenty years hence is unlikely to be of one type. Nevertheless, framing the choices facing planners shows what the U.S. armed forces might look like if one or another type of threat were to become the predominant focus of the Defense Department."
Strategic Forum No. 35
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