"At the end of 2004, the world was witness to an event that no one could have foreseen. Even more startling than the shock of the Indian Ocean tsunami itself was the scale of its impact. But the very suddenness and speed with which the tsunami struck gave a glimpse of how valuable it is to posture our forces for uncertainty. Had the tsunami occurred in 1985, at the height of the Cold War, it is difficult to imagine that the United States could have surged the forces and logistical support needed to deliver food and water to the areas of the eastern Indian Ocean that were the hardest hit. It is even more difficult to imagine that the United States could have depended on an extensive network of partner nations to assist us in exercising our global responsibility to act. Only through the transformation of the U.S. military's capabilities and the growing flexibility of our overseas posture was the United States able to respond as quickly and effectively as it did during this crisis. The security environment at the start of the twenty-first century is perhaps the most uncertain it has been in our nation's history. This article focuses on the strategic realities that are driving the transformation of the American global defense posture to contend with that uncertainty, and the resultant changes the Department of Defense is working to bring about in our relationships and partnership capabilities around the world."
2006 Naval War College Review. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
Naval War College Review (Spring 2006), v. 59 no. 2, p. 12-28