Review: Averting the Defense Train Wreck in the New Millennium (CSIS Report)

4 Star, Budget Process & Politics, Force Structure (Military), Military & Pentagon Power

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant on Numbers, Need Same Focus on WHAT We Buy,

August 30, 2000
Daniel Goure
The authors provide compelling evidence of a forthcoming “train wreck” in U.S. defensive capabilities, and make a compelling case for increasing the defense budget by $60-100B a year for a mixture of preserving readiness; acquiring mid-term capabilities needed to replace a 20-30 year old mobility, weapons, and communications base force; and implementing the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). This is a well-documented and heavily fact-laden book-the authors as individuals and the case they make in general terms-must be heeded by the next President and the next Congress.

Where the book does not go, and a companion book by the same authors would be of great value, is into the detail of

WHAT threat,

WHAT force structure.

They accept, for example, the Navy’s 304-ship Navy that keeps adding gigantic carriers and does nothing for littoral warfare or putting Marines within 24 hours of any country instead of 6 days.

Similarly, they accept Air Force emphasis on fewer and fewer bigger and more sophisticated platforms of dubious utility in a 21st Century environment that requires long loiter, ranges of several hundred nautical miles without refueling, full lift in hot humid weather, and survivability in the face of electromagnetic weapons in the hands of thugs.

This book demonstrates a clear mastery of defense economics, and it is an important contribution to the bottom line: our national defense is desperately underfunded, and this must be in the “top three” issues facing the 43rd President and the 107th Congress.

What we buy, and why, has not yet been answered to my satisfaction.

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