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first battles in retrospect

An excerpt from America's First Battles 1776-1965, examining how the first battles of U.S. wars resulted in great losses because of lack of preparedness. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki sent members of Congress this book to help persuade them on the need for remaking the U.S. Army for 21st century conflicts.

Transforming the Military

Here is Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's article in the May/June 2002 issue of Foreign Affairs which offers a strategic overview of the Bush administration's plans for revamping America's military readiness.

Statements of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

In September 2000 leaders of the U.S. military services were asked to testify before Congress on the issue of military readiness. They stated that combat readiness is in jeopardy unless the next president adds tens of billions of dollars to the defense budget, or, sets a less ambitious agenda for using the military in trouble spots around the world. Under questioning, they said they were confident U.S. troops could handle fighting two major wars at nearly the same time (2MTW), but there would be "high risk" that in the second of the two wars, the fight would be longer and more costly. (Click on their names to read their statements.)

ready for what?

Ret. Army General Wesley K. Clark, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander during the war in Kosovo, wrote this September 2000 Washington Post article in which he contends the real issue is not about military readiness but U.S. national purpose and strategy. What is needed, he says, is leadership and bipartisan consensus on the U.S. role in the world. That in turn will direct how U.S. troops will be used and how ready they'll be.

Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review( QDR)--May 1997

This report is the result of a Congressionally-mandated initiative to address U.S. national security challenges in the 21st century. It required the Pentagon to review defense programs and policies and establish a revised defense program through the year 2005. The resulting QDR report called for military transformation and a military strategy ready to fight two major wars (2MTW) at nearly the same time, as well as smaller scale contingencies. Subsequent Quadrennial Defense Reviews will happen at the beginning of each presidential term; the next QDR, to be finished in the fall of 2001, is already underway in the Pentagon. [A note: In July 2001 it was reported that the Pentagon, according to a classified document, is ready to abandon its 2-war strategy which has been in place since 1993.]

The National Defense Panel's Assessment of the May 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review

In 1996, Congress created the National Defense Panel (NDP) to conduct an independent assessment of the QDR and the Pentagon. Its report discussed concerns about new emerging "asymmetrical" threats such as terrorism, and called for Pentagon reform to deal with these threats.. Yet the NDP stopped short of calling for major strategic changes in defense policy.

U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century

This Commission--also called the Hart-Rudman Commission--was conceived by Newt Gingrich in 1998 to examine long-term national security policy in three phases: the first study was published in 1999 and examined the new global security environment over the next 25 years; the second study was published in the spring of 2000 and examined U.S. security interests and priorities, and questioned the need to continue to rely on a 2MTW policy. A third report on the structures and processes of the U.S. national security system will be completed in the spring of 2001. The Commission's web site offers reports already completed.

the army transformation

The U.S. Army offers a graph with explanation showing the three major paths of change which mark the Army's transformation over the coming decades.

Sources of Future Conflict

This RAND Institute research brief--part of RAND's Project Air Force--looks at the "alternative strategic worlds" that will affect the U.S. long range national security planning beyond 2008. This particular section gives an overview of the developing strategic environment in the world's key regions.

Is Military Readiness Overrated?

This Cato Institute article takes issue with those who focus on military readiness alone to explain past military defeats, and looks at other contributing factors.

Mission Too Far

A January 2000 ABC News feature offering a summary of the Task Force Hawk story, what went wrong, and why it became a rallying cry for the Army to remake itself. It also includes a video report on the struggle to transform the Army into a 21st century force plus related stories on the Apache attack helicopter.

After the Tank

This U.S. News September 2000 article examines the questions surrounding the Army's plans for a new generation of weapons and concerns about the impact on the tactics and force structure.

Ready or Not?

TIME Magazine's November 1999 overview of the Army's readiness crisis together with a summary of the Pentagon's two-war strategy that's at the heart of the readiness issue: who opposes the two-war scenario and what are its costs.

Center for Investigative Reporting

"The Future of War" is a co-production of FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting whose web site offers more on the Army's transformation plans including interviews with defense experts and a report on the proposed Crusader artillery system.

frontline's war in europe

FRONTLINE's February 2000 report on the U.S./NATO war in Kosovo presents the views of policymakers, military leaders and defense analysts on how the war was fought, what it achieved, and the pros and cons of using the military in humanitarian intervention.

frontline's give war a chance

FRONTLINE's May 1999 report examines how the Balkans crisis of the late 1990s revealed the gulf between what U.S. diplomats want and what the U.S. military is prepared to deliver.

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