WASHINGTON, November 3, 2015 —
The recent budget agreement between Congress and the White House for two-year Defense Department funding will help strike a balance between needs and resources, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said yesterday at the 3rd annual Defense One Summit here.
Work spoke to about 600 senior military, government and political leaders at the forum.
“We crave stability,” Work said, quoting Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“Trying to balance between demands and ends with constant resource uncertainty is keeping us from creating a coherent program that stands the test of time,” he said.
“We applaud what Congress has done, coming together in a bipartisan nature … with a budget deal that gives us clarity for two years,” Work said.
A Grand Strategy Era
The “Age of Everything” was the theme for the summit and is based on an era of grand strategy to ensure defense needs are met and resources balance, Work said.
“The first rule of strategy is all resources are scarce. You must make prioritization within your budget. That is exactly what Secretary Carter has charged us to do in this fiscal year and the Presidential Budget Review for [fiscal year 2017], which will be reflected by our budget submission in September,” he said.
In an overview, the deputy said between the end of the Cold War and 2001, the U.S. military’s “relative strength was enormous.”
Then, DoD global concerns were more regionalized and focused on potential “contingencies” such as a resurgence of Iraq, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and a North Korean invasion of South Korea, he said.
“But because we were way ahead in the application of conventional guided munitions and the networks that deployed them,” Work said, “we didn't really worry about how we could prevail against the three regional contingencies.”
Changing DoD Concerns
But between 2001 and 2015, the capacities and capabilities of America’s closest allies uniformly started to decline, while the capabilities and capacities of potential competitors began to rise dramatically, he said.
The department now faces concerns over “two great powers in the world,” Work said, referring to China and Russia, and said DoD would balance strategy with needs.
Today’s U.S.-coalition campaign against global terrorism is increasingly highlighted by fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, he said.
Meanwhile, other, more traditional, adversaries “are now gaining parity with us in guided munitions warfare, which [had] given us such an operational and tactical advantage for the past 25 years,” Work said.
DoD’s global concerns also now extend to pandemics, potentially destabilizing effects of climate change and possible cyberattacks on the homeland, Work said.
“All these problems are interconnected,” he added.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)