“Rebuilding America’s Defenses” – A Summary of the PNAC
Blueprint of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) Plan for U.S. Global Hegemony – Comparable to Hitler’s publication of Mein Kampf, ignored until the war was over.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses–Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (Sep 2000) Download Full pdf. HERE
July 2003 – When the Bush administration started lobbying for war with Iraq, they used as rationale a definition of preemption (generally meaning anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack) that was broadened to allow for the waging of a preventive war in which force may be used even without evidence of an imminent attack. They also were able to convince much of the American public that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks of 9/11, despite the fact that no evidence of a link has been uncovered. Consequently, many people supported the war on the basis of 1) a policy that has no legal basis in international law and 2) a totally unfounded claim of Iraqi guilt.
What most people do not know, however, is that certain high ranking officials in the Bush administration have been working for regime change in Iraq for the past decade, long before terrorism became an important issue for our country. In 1997 they formed an organization called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). They have sought the establishment of a much stronger U.S. presence throughout the Mideast and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein has been their number one target for regime change. Members of this group drafted and successfully passed through Congress the Iraqi Liberation Act, giving legal sanctions for an invasion of the country, and funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to Hussein opposition groups called the Iraqi National Congress and The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
The PNAC philosophy was formed in response to the ending of Cold War hostilities with Russia and the emergence of America as the world’s only preeminent superpower. Claiming that this is a “strategic moment” that should not be squandered, members of PNAC say that America should use its position to advance its power and interests into all areas of the globe. They believe the time is ripe for establishing democracies in regimes considered hostile to U.S. interests and are not hesitant to advise the use of military means to achieve those ends.
PNAC members on the Bush team include Vice-President Dick Cheney and his top national security assistant, I. Lewis Libby; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton; and former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle. Other PNAC members exerting influence on U.S. policy are the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq Randy Scheunemann, Republican Party leader Bruce Jackson and current PNAC chairman William Kristol, conservative writer for the Weekly Standard. Jeb Bush, the president’s brother and governor of Florida, is also a member.
Their campaign to overthrow Hussein was unsuccessful during the Clinton presidency and early days of Bush’s term, but on 9/11 they found the event they needed to push for the overthrow of Hussein. Within 24 hours both Wolfowitz and Cheney were calling for an invasion of Iraq, even before anyone knew who had been responsible for the attacks.
Individuals who now belong to PNAC have been influencing White House policy since the Reagan era, calling for coups in Central America and claiming that a nuclear war with Russia could be “winnable.” Richard Perle is one of their most prominent spokesmen. He and Michael Ledeen (of the American Enterprise Institute), who is currently lobbying for war with Syria and Iran, have adopted a stance that they call “total war” — the ability to wage multiple simultaneous wars around the globe to achieve American ends. Recently Perle commented on America’s war on terrorism: “No stages,” he said, “This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now.”
Members of PNAC are so self-assured they are advancing America’s best interests that they publish policy papers specifically outlining their plans, plans that many fear may be laying the groundwork for a third world war. Their ideas are peculiarly atavistic, considering the friendly ties that have been forged between most of the major nations during the past ten years.
Their central policy document is entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses (RAD),” published on their website at http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf. It outlines a plan for American hegemony in the coming years, pinpointing “problem areas” of the world and suggesting regime change of unfavorable governments so that eventually the whole world will be unified under the banner of American democracy.
Already we are seeing evidence of PNAC influence on U.S. policy. For instance, the concept of “Homeland Defense” comes straight from “RAD.” Iran, Iraq and North Korea, nations that George Bush calls the “Axis of Evil”, are listed together in “RAD” several times as possible military threats to the U.S. There is a suggestion that military spending be increased to 3.8 percent of the GDP, exactly the amount (over and above present expenses for the Iraqi campaign) Bush has proposed for next year’s budget. Its basic statement of policy bespeaks and advocates the very essence of the idea of preemptive engagement.
Bush’s National Security Strategy of September 20, 2002, adopted PNAC ideas and emphasized a broadened definition of preemption. Since we are already hearing accusations against regimes in Iran and Syria, will they be slated next for invasion?
The document is written with all of the single-mindedness, unilateralism and inattention to international ramifications (with either friend or foe) that the Bush administration displayed in its current build-up for war with Iraq. There is even assertion of the necessity of American political leadership overriding that of the U.N. (p. 11), a policy that was sadly played out when the U.S. invaded Iraq without the approval of either the U.N. or the international community.
Rebuilding America’s Defenses
I believe that “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our planet. Since the document is over 80 pages long I have created a summary of its major ideas in order to make it more accessible.
Subject areas are arranged under 4 categories: A. Pax Americana — outlining the rationale for global empire, B. Securing Global Hegemony — pinpointing regions that are considered trouble spots for U.S. policy, C. Rebuilding the Military — plans for expansion of U.S. military might, and D. Future Wars of Pax Americana — the “RAD” vision of complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.
As much as possible I have used direct quotations followed by page numbers so that the reader can consult the original. My personal comments are in italics.
A. Pax Americana
“It is not a choice between preeminence today and preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership is not something exercised at our leisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core national security interests are directly threatened; then it is already too late. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain American military preeminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership, and to preserve the American peace” (p. 76).
The building of Pax Americana has become possible, claims “RAD,” because the fall of the Soviet Union has given the U.S. status as the world’s singular superpower. It must now work hard not only to maintain that position, but to spread its influence into geographic areas that are ideologically opposed to our influence. Decrying reductions in defense spending during the Clinton years “RAD” propounds the theory that the only way to preserve peace in the coming era will be to increase military forces for the purpose of waging multiple wars to subdue countries which may stand in the way of U.S. global preeminence.
Their flaws in logic are obvious to people of conscience, namely, 1) a combative posture on our part will not secure peace, but will rather engender fear throughout the world and begin anew the arms race, only this time with far more contenders, and 2) democracy, by its very definition, cannot be imposed by force.
Following is the preamble to the document:
“As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
“[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
“Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership” (from the Project’s Statement of Principles).”
Four Vital Missions
PNAC members believe that there are four vital missions “demanded by U. S. global leadership,” but claim that “current American armed forces are ill-prepared to execute” these missions.
- “Homeland Defense. America must defend its homeland. During the Cold War, nuclear deterrence was the key element in homeland defense; it remains essential. But the new century has brought with it new challenges. While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new and current missions for U.S. armed forces, this must have priority.
- “Large Wars. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to unanticipated contingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces. This resembles the ‘two-war’ standard that has been the basis of U.S. force planning over the past decade. Yet this standard needs to be updated to account for new realities and potential new conflicts.
- “Constabulary Duties. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. A decade’s experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today’s most frequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations.
- “Transform U.S. Armed Forces. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the so-called ‘revolution in military affairs,’ sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies into military systems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a share of force structure and defense budgets” (p. 6).
“In conclusion, it should be clear that these four essential missions for maintaining American military preeminence are quite separate and distinct from one another – none should be considered a ‘lesser included case’ of another, even though they are closely related and may, in some cases, require similar sorts of forces. Conversely, the failure to provide sufficient forces to execute these four missions must result in problems for American strategy. The failure to build missile defenses will put America and her allies at grave risk and compromise the exercise of American power abroad. Conventional forces that are insufficient to fight multiple theater wars simultaneously cannot protect American global interests and allies. Neglect or withdrawal from constabulary missions will increase the likelihood of larger wars breaking out and encourage petty tyrants to defy American interests and ideals. And the failure to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges will ensure that the current Pax Americana comes to an early end” (p. 13).
On Usurping the Power of the UN
“Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional ‘peacekeeping’ missions. For one, they demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations, as the failure of the UN mission in the Balkans and the relative success of NATO operations there attests.
“Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality; the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these missions demand forces basically configured for combat. While they also demand personnel with special language, logistics and other support skills, the first order of business in missions such as in the Balkans is to establish security, stability and order. American troops, in particular, must be regarded as part of an overwhelmingly powerful force” (p. 11).
On Preserving American Preeminence
“Since today’s peace is the unique product of American preeminence, a failure to preserve that preeminence allows others an opportunity to shape the world in ways antithetical to American interests and principles. The price of American preeminence is that, just as it was actively obtained, it must be actively maintained” (p. 73).
“The fourth element in American force posture – and certainly the one which holds the key to any longer-term hopes to extend the current Pax Americana – is the mission to transform U.S. military forces to meet new geopolitical and technological challenges” (p. 11).
“America’s armed forces, it seemed, could either prepare for the future by retreating from its role as the essential defender of today’s global security order, or it could take care of current business but be unprepared for tomorrow’s threats and tomorrow’s battlefields” (p. i).
“Moreover, America stands at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world’s other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible. There are, however, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current situation and eager to change it, if they can, in directions that endanger the relatively peaceful, prosperous and free condition the world enjoys today. Up to now, they have been deterred from doing so by the capability and global presence of American military power. But, as that power declines, relatively and absolutely, the happy conditions that follow from it will be inevitably undermined” (p. i).
B. Securing Global Hegemony
“In a larger sense, the new president will choose whether today’s ‘unipolar moment,’ to use columnist Charles Krauthammer’s phrase for America’s current geopolitical preeminence, will be extended along with the peace and prosperity that it provides” (p. 4).
“RAD” takes the posture that only the U.S. should manipulate international relations and points out “trouble spots” that may cause future problems, like Iraq, Iran, Korea and all of East Asia. There is concern that several nations might come together to challenge U.S. interests. Consequently any nation that produces nuclear weapons or engages in significant arms build-up will be viewed as a potential threat.
“America’s global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace, relies upon the safety of the American homeland; the preservation of a favorable balance of power in Europe, the Middle East and surrounding energy-producing region, and East Asia; and the general stability of the international system of nation-states relative to terrorists, organized crime, and other ‘non-state actors.’ The relative importance of these elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, may rise and fall over time. Europe, for example, is now extraordinarily peaceful and stable, despite the turmoil in the Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to be entering a period with increased potential for instability and competition. In the Gulf, American power and presence has achieved relative external security for U.S. allies, but the longer-term prospects are murkier. Generally, American strategy for the coming decades should seek to consolidate the great victories won in the 20th century – which have made Germany and Japan into stable democracies, for example – maintain stability in the Middle East, while setting the conditions for 21st century successes, especially in East Asia.
“A retreat from any one of these requirements would call America’s status as the world’s leading power into question. As we have seen, even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility. The failure to define a coherent global security and military strategy during the post-Cold War period has invited challenges; states seeking to establish regional hegemony continue to probe for the limits of the American security perimeter” (p. 5).
Iraq and the Persian Gulf
“After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region” (p. 17).
“In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semi-permanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein” (p. 14).
“Although the no-fly-zone air operations over northern and southern Iraq have continued without pause for almost a decade, they remain an essential element in U.S. strategy and force posture in the Persian Gulf region. Ending these operations would hand Saddam Hussein an important victory, something any American leader would be loath to do. Likewise, withdrawing from the Balkans would place American leadership in Europe – indeed, the viability of NATO – in question. While none of these operations involves a mortal threat, they do engage U.S. national security interests directly, as well as engaging American moral interests” (p. 11).
“In Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, enduring U.S. security interests argue forcefully for an enduring American military presence” (p. 74).
“The Air Force presence in the Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military strategy, and the United States should consider it a de facto permanent presence, even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi, Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S. presence” (p. 35).
Axis of Evil
“It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies – as well as widespread technological and weapons proliferation – are creating a dynamic that may threaten America’s ability to exercise its dominant military power. Potential rivals such as China are anxious to exploit these transformational technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate” (p. 4).
“The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself. The blessings of the American peace, purchased at fearful cost and a century of effort, should not be so trivially squandered” (p. 75).
“Reflecting the gradual shift in the focus of American strategic concerns toward East Asia, a majority of the U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all carrier battle groups, should be concentrated in the Pacific. A new, permanent forward base should be established in Southeast Asia (p. 39).
“As stressed several times above, the United States should seek to establish – or reestablish – a more robust naval presence in Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term, semi-permanent home port in the region, perhaps in the Philippines, Australia, or both” (p. 44).
“In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements….Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect…..Southeast Asia region has long been an area of great interest to China, which clearly seeks to regain influence in the region. In recent years, China has gradually increased its presence and operations in the region.
“Raising U.S. military strength in East Asia is the key to coping with the rise of China to great-power status. For this to proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must retain their military preeminence and thereby reassure our regional allies. In Northeast Asia, the United States must maintain and tighten its ties with the Republic of Korea and Japan. In Southeast Asia, only the United States can reach out to regional powers like Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself….A heightened U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia would be a strong spur to regional security cooperation, providing the core around which a de facto coalition could jell” (pp. 18-19).
“The prospect is that East Asia will become an increasingly important region, marked by the rise of Chinese power….A similar rationale argues in favor of retaining substantial forces in Japan. In recent years, the stationing of large forces in Okinawa has become increasingly controversial in Japanese domestic politics, and while efforts to accommodate local sensibilities are warranted, it is essential to retain the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa represent. If the United States is to remain the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia, and to hold together a de facto alliance whose other main pillars are Korea and Japan maintaining forward-based U.S. forces is essential” (p. 18).
“As discussed above, the focus of American security strategy for the coming century is likely to shift to East Asia. This reflects the success of American strategy in the 20th century, and particularly the success of the NATO alliance through the Cold War, which has created what appears to be a generally stable and enduring peace in Europe. The pressing new problem of European security – instability in Southeastern Europe – will be best addressed by the continued stability operations in the Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces supported by land-based air forces. Likewise, the new opportunity for greater European stability offered by further NATO expansion will make demands first of all on ground and land-based air forces. As the American security perimeter in Europe is removed eastward, this pattern will endure, although naval forces will play an important role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, and will continue to support U.S. and NATO operations ashore” (pp. 43-44).
“The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more generally, present the major hurdle toward the creation of a Europe ‘whole and free’ from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay in bringing security and stability to southeastern Europe has not only prevented the consolidation of the victory in the Cold War, it has created a zone of violence and conflict and introduced uncertainty about America’s role in Europe” (pp. 15-16).
“Despite the shifting focus of conflict in Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces in northern and central Europe remains. The region is stable, but a continued American presence helps to assure the major European powers, especially Germany, that the United States retains its longstanding security interest in the continent. This is especially important in light of the nascent European moves toward an independent defense ‘identity’ and policy; it is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs” (p. 16).
“Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces generally operate on a regular cycle of deployments to European waters, they rely on a network of permanent bases in the region, especially in the Mediterranean. These should be retained, and consideration given to establishing a more robust presence in the Black Sea” (p. 17).
Several statements advocating the possible necessity of removing hostile regimes can be found in the document.
“American military preeminence will continue to rest in significant part on the ability to maintain sufficient land forces to achieve political goals such as removing a dangerous and
hostile regime when necessary” (p. 61).
“The need to respond with decisive force in the event of a major theater war in Europe, the Persian Gulf or East Asia will remain the principal factor in determining Army force structure for U.S.-based units. However one judges the likelihood of such wars occurring, it is essential to retain sufficient capabilities to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion, including the possibility of a decisive victory that results in long-term political or regime change” (p. 25).
“America’s adversaries will continue to resist the building of the American peace; when they see an opportunity as Saddam Hussein did in 1990, they will employ their most powerful armed forces to win on the battle-field what they could not win in peaceful competition; and American armed forces will remain the core of efforts to deter, defeat, or remove from power regional aggressors” (p. 10).
C. Rebuilding the Military
“If an American peace is to be maintained, and expanded, it must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence” (p. 4).
One stated objective of “RAD” is “to outline the large, ‘full-spectrum’ forces that are necessary to conduct the varied tasks demanded by a strategy of American preeminence for today and tomorrow” (p. 5). Much of the document is an elucidation of those missions and includes specific recommendations about weaponry, deployment patterns, increased personnel and defense spending.
“In sum, the 1990s have been a ‘decade of defense neglect’. This leaves the next president of the United States with an enormous challenge: he must increase military spending to preserve American geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back from the security commitments that are the measure of America’s position as the world’s sole superpower and the final guarantee of security, democratic freedoms and individual political rights” (p. 4).
“Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future. But years of cuts in defense spending have eroded the American military’s combat readiness, and put in jeopardy the Pentagon’s plans for maintaining military superiority in the years ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has found itself undermanned, inadequately equipped and trained, straining to handle contingency operations, and ill-prepared to adapt itself to the revolution in military affairs” (p. i).
The four core missions of PNAC referred to below were outlined in section A. Pax Americana.
“To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations.
In Particular, the United States Must:
MAINTAIN NUCLEAR STRATEGIC SUPERIORITY, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.
RESTORE THE PERSONNEL STRENGTH of today’s force to roughly the levels anticipated in the ‘Base Force’ outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.
REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting permanently based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.
MODERNIZE CURRENT U.S. FORCES SELECTIVELY, proceeding with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey ’tilt-rotor’ aircraft for the Marine Corps.
CANCEL ‘ROADBLOCK’ PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.
DEVELOP AND DEPLOY GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.
CONTROL THE NEW ‘INTERNATIONAL COMMONS’ OF SPACE AND ‘CYBERSPACE,’ and pave the way for the creation of a new military service – U.S. Space Forces – with the mission of space control.
EXPLOIT THE ‘REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS’ to ensure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which
- maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies, and
- produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts.
INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually” (p. v).
“In general terms, it seems likely that the process of transformation will take several decades and that U.S. forces will continue to operate many, if not most, of today’s weapons systems for a decade or more. Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformation. The break-point will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs – tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come” (p. 13).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Army (see p. 23).
“American landpower remains the essential link in the chain that translates U.S. military supremacy into American geopolitical preeminence. Even as the means for delivering firepower on the battlefield shift – strike aircraft have realized all but the wildest dreams of air power enthusiasts, unmanned aerial vehicles promise to extend strike power in the near future, and the ability to conduct strikes from space appears on the not-too-distant horizon – the need for ground maneuvers to achieve decisive political results endures. Regimes are difficult to change based upon punishment alone. If land forces are to survive and retain their unique strategic purpose in a world where it is increasingly easy to deliver firepower precisely at long ranges, they must change as well, becoming more stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S. Army, and American land forces more generally, must increasingly complement the strike capabilities of the other services. Conversely, an American military force that lacks the ability to employ ground forces that can survive and maneuver rapidly on future battlefields will deprive U.S. political leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy” (p. 30).
Air Force — Toward a Global First-Strike Force
List of recommendations for modernizing the Air Force (See p. 31).
“Although air power remains the most flexible and responsive element of U.S. military power, the Air Force needs to be restructured, repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to assure continued ‘global reach, global power’” (p. 31).
“Because of its inherent mobility and flexibility, the Air Force will be the first U.S. military force to arrive in a theater during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force must retain its ability to deploy and sustain sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars and shape any conflict in its earliest stages. Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the Army, that remains the core of America’s ability to apply decisive military power when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the key component of American military preeminence” (p. 37).
“A gradual increase in Air Force spending back to a $110 billion to $115 billion level is required to increase service personnel strength; build new units, especially the composite wings required to perform the ‘air constabulary missions’ such as no-fly zones; add the support capabilities necessary to complement the fleet of tactical aircraft; reinvest in space capabilities and begin the process of transformation” (p. 37).
“The ability to have access to, operate in, and dominate the aerospace environment has become the key to military success in modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed, as will be discussed below, space dominance may become so essential to the preservation of American military preeminence that it may require a separate service. How well the Air Force rises to the many challenges it faces – even should it receive increased budgets – will go far toward determining whether U.S. military forces retain the combat edge they now enjoy” (pp. 38-39).
“A recent study done for the Air Force indicates that a worldwide network of forward operating bases….might cost $5 billion to $10 billion through 2010. The study speculates that some of the cost might be paid for by host nations anxious to cement ties with the United States, or, in Europe, be considered as common NATO assets and charged to the NATO common fund” (p. 20).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Navy (See pp. 39-40).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Marines (See pp. 47-48).
“The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S. Navy in a position of unchallenged supremacy on the high seas, a dominance surpassing that even of the British Navy in the 19th and early parts of the 20th century. With the remains of the Soviet fleet now largely rusting in port, the open oceans are America’s, and the lines of communication open from the coasts of the United States to Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet this very success calls the need for the current force structure into question. Further, the advance of precision-strike technology may mean that naval surface combatants, and especially the large-deck aircraft carriers that are the Navy’s capital ships, may not survive in the high-technology wars of the coming decades. Finally, the nature and pattern of Navy presence missions may be out of synch with emerging strategic realities. In sum, though it stands without peer today, the Navy faces major challenges to its traditional and, in the past, highly successful methods of operation” (p. 39).
“Thus, while naval presence, including carrier presence, in the western Pacific should be increased, the Navy should begin to conduct many of its presence missions with other kinds of battle groups based around cruisers, destroyers and other surface combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, the Navy needs to better understand the requirement to have substantial numbers of cruise-missile platforms at sea and in close proximity to regional hot spots, using carriers and naval aviation as reinforcing elements” (p. 46).
“The Navy’s force of attack submarines also should be expanded. It is unclear that the current and planned generations of attack submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic missile submarines) will be flexible enough to meet future demands. The Navy should reassess its submarine requirements not merely in light of current missions but with an expansive view of possible future missions as well” (p. 46).
“The Navy must begin to transition away from its heavy dependence on carrier operations….. Design and research on a future CVX carrier should continue, but should aim at a radical design change to accommodate an air wing based primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles” (p. 40).
“To offset the reduced role of carriers, the Navy should slightly increase its fleets of current-generation surface combatants and submarines for improved strike capabilities in littoral waters and to conduct an increasing proportion of naval presence missions with surface action groups. Additional investments in counter-mine warfare are needed, as well” (p. 40).
“In particular, the Marine Corps, like the Navy, must turn its focus on the requirements for operations in East Asia, including Southeast Asia. In many ways, this will be a ‘back to the future’ mission for the Corps, recalling the innovative thinking done during the period between the two world wars and which established the Marines’ expertise in amphibious landings and operations” (p. 47).
“As a supplement to forces stationed abroad under long-term basing arrangements, the United States should seek to establish a network of ‘deployment bases’ or ‘forward operating bases’ to increase the reach of current and future forces. Not only will such an approach improve the ability to project force to outlying regions, it will help circumvent the political, practical and financial constraints on expanding the network of American bases overseas” (p. 19).
“There should be a strong strategic synergy between U.S. forces overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units operating abroad are an indication of American geopolitical interests and leadership, provide significant military power to shape events and, in wartime, create the conditions for victory when reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the ability to deliver an unquestioned ‘knockout punch’ through the rapid introduction of stateside units will increase the shaping power of forces operating overseas and the vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an enduring need for large-scale American forces” (p. 74).
“Further, improvements should be made to existing air bases in new and potential NATO countries to allow for rapid deployments, contingency exercises, and extended initial operations in times of crisis. These preparations should include modernized air traffic control, fuel, and weapons storage facilities, and perhaps small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as well as sufficient ramp space to accommodate surges in operations. Improvements also should be made to existing facilities in England to allow forward operation of B-2 bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie rates if needed” (p. 34).
“The Air Force should be redeployed to reflect the shifts in international politics. Independent, expeditionary air wings containing a broad mix of aircraft, including electronic warfare, airborne command and control, and other support aircraft, should be based in Italy, Southeastern Europe, central and perhaps eastern Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia” (p. 31).
“…significant reductions in U.S. nuclear forces might well have unforeseen consequences that lessen rather than enhance the security of the United States and its allies” (p. 8).
“Over the past decade, efforts to design and build effective missile defenses have been ill-conceived and underfunded, and the Clinton Administration has proposed deep reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without sufficient analysis of the changing global nuclear balance of forces” (p. 6).
“Rather than maintain and improve America’s nuclear deterrent, the Clinton Administration has put its faith in new arms control measures, most notably by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty proposed a new multilateral regime, consisting of some 150 states, whose principal effect would be to constrain America’s unique role in providing the global nuclear umbrella that helps to keep states like Japan and South Korea from developing the weapons that are well within their scientific capability, while doing little to stem nuclear weapons proliferation. Although the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, the administration continues to abide by its basic strictures. And while it may make sense to continue the current moratorium on nuclear testing for the moment – since it would take a number of years to refurbish the neglected testing infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is an untenable situation. If the United States is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both effective and safe, it will need to test.” (pp. 7-8).
“…of all the elements of U.S. military force posture, perhaps none is more in need of reevaluation than America’s nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain a critical component of American military power but it is unclear whether the current U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the emerging post-Cold War world. Today’s strategic calculus encompasses more factors than just the balance of terror between the United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals – from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq – and a modernized and expanded Chinese nuclear force. Moreover, there is a question about the role nuclear weapons should play in deterring the use of other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological, with the U.S. having foresworn those weapons’ development and use. It addition, there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep under-ground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries” (p. 8).
“But what should finally drive the size and character of our nuclear forces is not numerical parity with Russian capabilities but maintaining American strategic superiority – and, with that superiority, a capability to deter possible hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S. nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed of; rather, it will be an essential element in preserving American leadership in a more complex and chaotic world” (p. 8).
D. Future Wars of Pax Americana
“Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn” (p. 60).
“RAD” envisions a future in which the United States is in complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace of planet Earth. It finds objectionable the limitations imposed by the ABM treaty and urges a newer rendition of Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defense shield program. Three missions are seen as crucial.
- Global Missile Defenses — “A network against limited strikes, capable of protecting the United States, its allies and forward-deployed forces, must be constructed. This must be a layered system of land, sea, air and space-based components” (p. 51).
“The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites with sensors capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles immediately upon launch” (p. 52).
“At the same time, the administration’s devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has frustrated development of useful ballistic missile defenses. This is reflected in deep budget cuts – planned spending on missile defenses for the late 1990s has been more than halved, halting work on space-based interceptors, cutting funds for a national missile defense system by 80 percent and theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the administration has cut funding just at the crucial moments when individual programs begin to show promise. Only upgrades of currently existing systems like the Patriot missile – originally designed primarily for air defense against jet fighters, not missile defense – have proceeded generally on course.
“Most damaging of all was the decision in 1993 to terminate the ‘Brilliant Pebbles’ project. This legacy of the original Reagan-era ‘Star Wars’ effort had matured to the point where it was becoming feasible to develop a space-based interceptor capable of destroying ballistic missiles in the early or middle portion of their flight – far preferable than attempting to hit individual warheads surrounded by clusters of decoys on their final course toward their targets. But since a space-based system would violate the ABM Treaty, the administration killed the ‘Brilliant Pebbles’ program, choosing instead to proceed with a ground-based interceptor and radar system – one that will be costly without being especially effective” (p. 52).
- Control of Space — “RAD” advises instituting a new “Space Service” thereby escalating U.S. military preparedness “from the theatre level to the global level” in order to achieve worldwide dominance, both militarily and commercially.
“Yet to truly transform itself for the coming century, the Air Force must accelerate its efforts to create the new systems – and, to repeat, the space-based systems – that are necessary to shift the scope of air operations from the theater level to the global level” (p. 64).
“…control of space – defined by Space Command as ‘the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space’ – must be an essential element of our military strategy” (p. 55).
“Much as control of the high seas – and the protection of international commerce – defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new ‘international commons’ be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the ‘infosphere’ will find it difficult to exert global political leadership” (p. 51).
“The proliferation of technologies for delivering highly accurate fires over increasingly great distances poses a great challenge for both the Army and the Marine Corps, but rather than attempting to compete in the game of applying long-range fires, both services would be better off attempting to complement the vastly improved strike capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to future space capabilities as well” (p. 68).
“Target significant new investments toward creating capabilities for operating in space, including inexpensive launch vehicles, new satellites and transatmospheric vehicles, in preparation for a decision as to whether space warfare is sufficiently different from combat within earth’s atmosphere so as to require a separate ‘space service’. Such a transformation would in fact better realize the Air Force’s stated goal of becoming a service with true global reach and global strike capabilities” (p. 64).
“Given the advantages U.S. armed forces enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of space, it is shortsighted to expect potential adversaries to refrain from attempting to disable or offset U.S. space capabilities. And with the proliferation of space know-how and related technology around the world, our adversaries will inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same space advantages in the future. Moreover, ‘space commerce’ is a growing part of the global economy. In 1996, commercial United States, and commercial revenues exceeded government expenditures on space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial companies across more than 50 countries are developing, building, and operating space systems.
“The complexity of space control will only grow as commercial activity increases. American and other allied investments in space systems will create a requirement to secure and protect these space assets; they are already an important measure of American power. Yet it will not merely be enough to protect friendly commercial uses of space.
“As Space Command also recognizes, the United States must also have the capability to deny America’s adversaries the use of commercial space platforms for military purposes in times of crises and conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become the new ‘international commons’, where commercial and security interests are intertwined and related. Just as Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote about ‘sea-power’ at the beginning of the 20th century in this sense, American strategists will be forced to regard ‘space-power’ in the 21st” (pp. 54-55).
“In short, the unequivocal supremacy in space enjoyed by the United States today will be increasingly at risk” (p. 55).
“As Colin Gray and John Sheldon have written, ‘Space control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an optional extra.’ For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space – defined by Space Command as ‘the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space’ – must be an essential element of our military strategy. If America cannot maintain that control, its ability to conduct global military operations will be severely complicated, far more costly, and potentially fatally compromised” (p. 55).
“But, over the longer term, maintaining control of space will inevitably require the application of force both in space and from space, including but not limited to anti-missile defenses and defensive systems capable of protecting U.S. and allied satellites; space control cannot be sustained in any other fashion, with conventional land, sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare. This eventuality is already recognized by official U.S. national space policy, which states that the ‘Department of Defense shall maintain a capability to execute the mission areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application.’ (Emphasis added.)” (p. 56).
- Control of Cyberspace — “Although many concepts of ‘cyber-war’ have elements of science fiction about them, and the role of the Defense Department in establishing ‘control,’ or even what ‘security’ on the Internet means, requires a consideration of a host of legal, moral and political issues, there nonetheless will remain an imperative to be able to deny America and its allies’ enemies the ability to disrupt or paralyze either the military’s or the commercial sector’s computer networks.
“Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America’s military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner. Taken together, the prospects for space war or ‘cyberspace war’ represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today’s air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance” (p. 57).
Strategy for Transforming Conventional Forces
Read below notions of how conventional warfare will be conducted in the future, including the use of microbes and “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes.”
“In exploiting the ‘revolution in military affairs,’ the Pentagon must be driven by the enduring missions for U.S. forces. This process will have two stages: transition, featuring a mix of current and new systems; and true transformation, featuring new systems, organizations and operational concepts. This process must take a competitive approach, with services and joint-service operations competing for new roles and missions. Any successful process of transformation must be linked to the services, which are the institutions within the Defense Department with the ability and the responsibility for linking budgets and resources to specific missions” (p. 51).
“Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and ‘combat’ likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, ‘cyber-space,’ and perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare may no longer be fought by pilots manning tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of opposing fighters, but a regime dominated by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On land, the clash of massive, combined-arms armored forces may be replaced by the dashes of much lighter, stealthier and information-intensive forces, augmented by fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in soldiers’ pockets. Control of the sea could be largely determined not by fleets of surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but from land- and space-based systems, forcing navies to maneuver and fight underwater. Space itself will become a theater of war, as nations gain access to space capabilities and come to rely on them; further, the distinction between military and commercial space systems – combatants and noncombatants – will become blurred. Information systems will become an important focus of attack, particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to short-circuit sophisticated American forces. And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool” (p. 60).
Changes in Naval Warfare: “Beyond immediate opportunities such as conversion of Trident submarines, consideration should be given to employing a deactivated carrier to better understand the possibilities of operating large fleets of UAVs at sea. Likewise, submerged ‘missile pods,’ either permanently deployed or laid covertly by submarines in times of crisis, could increase strike capabilities without risking surface vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the Navy is moving toward ‘network-centric’ warfare, it should explore ways of increasing the number of ‘nodes on the net’” (p. 67).
Army of the Future: “Consider just the potential changes that might effect the infantryman. Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon-like ‘active’ camouflage. ‘Skin-patch’ pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus concentration and enhance endurance and strength. A display mounted on a soldier’s helmet permits a comprehensive view of the battlefield – in effect to look around corners and over hills – and allows the soldier to access the entire combat information and intelligence system while filtering incoming data to prevent overload. Individual weapons are more lethal, and a soldier’s ability to call for highly precise and reliable indirect fires – not only from Army systems but those of other services – allows each individual to have great influence over huge spaces. Under the ‘Land Warrior’ program, some Army experts envision a ‘squad’ of seven soldiers able to dominate an area the size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in 1863, some 165,000 men fought” (p. 62).
- Articles and information exclusively about PNAC: http://pnac.info/
- “Global Eye-Dark Passage” by Chris Floyd, with a long list of links to articles about the PNAC: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2326.htm.
- “The Project for the New American Century” by William Rivers Pitt: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm
- “Blood Money” by William Rivers Pitt: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg12730.html
Bette Stockbauer is a writer, activist and conservationist who lives in central Texas. She has been working for issues related to peace and justice since the Vietnam era. You can contact her at email@example.com.
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