September 18, 2000, New York City Although the Clinton administration and Congress have added about $125 billion to the five-year defense program, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and both the Democratic and Republican candidates have argued that more funds are needed. However, the debate has focused too much on the money and not enough on defense policy strategy. Thus, the Council on Foreign Relations has revised and reissued a report, Future Visions for U.S. Defense Policy, which presents and discusses three policy options, in addition to the current one, for U.S. defense.
-- The present level of funding, which the Council CPI labels "a prudent defense," allows the U.S. military to wage two major regional conflicts nearly simultaneously and to do some peacekeeping for about $300 billion per year.
-- The "enhanced defense" option, which would increase defense spending to $330 billion/year and assure the United States that it can execute the two-war strategy by improving U.S. military capabilities across the board and relying on allies for peacekeeping missions.
-- A "cooperative defense," which emphasizes building ad hoc international coalitions and focusing U.S. military forces on the real threats to U.S. interests "civil and ethnic violence" allowing a 15-20 percent budget cut.
-- An "innovative defense," which keeps spending at the current level but switches defense dollars to future technologies rather than maintaining the existing force structure and buying additional current-generation weapon systems.
The case for a national missile defense is made in the enhanced defense option, the case against it in cooperative defense. The publication will be the basis of a Campaign 2000 debate in Washington, D.C., at Georgetown University on September 25, 2000.
The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921 and based in New York, is a national nonpartisan membership organization and think tank dedicated to fostering America’s understanding of other nations through study and debate.
September 2000 / paper 0-87609-211-3 / 84 pp. / $10.00
Available through Brookings phone: 800-275-1447, fax: 202-797-6004, website: www.brookings.edu.
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