Defense Transformation: To What, For What?   [open pdf - 392KB]

"The transformation of America's armed forces and defense establishment has been one of the key overarching objectives of President George W. Bush's administration. Measuring the value of high-technology weapons systems and their demonstrated effectiveness in the opening stages of both Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has increased the pace of defense transformation. But beyond enhancing the lethality of U.S. forces on the conventional battlefield, where is defense transformation headed? In this monograph, Colonel Kevin Reynolds asks the question, What form is transformation taking and what end(s) are the armed forces transforming to obtain? He argues that U.S. foreign and national security policies should drive the pace and direction of defense transformation, but finds that all too often the military's weapons systems preferences determine the shape and form of the armed services transformation and their future capability sets. Due to the lengthy Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) time to acquire technologically advanced weapons systems, up to and beyond 20 years in many instances, future administrations will inherit weapons systems and force structures that, although recently fielded, were imagined several administrations previously and whose capability to support current policy may now be limited. Colonel Reynolds concludes by arguing that the military should acquire a broad range of technologies now in order to present as yet unknown future political leaders with a broader range of military capabilities with which to pursue future U.S. policy preferences."

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