The Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense
University today issued its Strategic Assessment 1996: The Instruments of
U.S. Power. The annual Strategic Assessment identifies Washington's
instruments for influencing other governments, analyzing which will work best
in the post-Cold War era and what role the military plays. It was prepared by
a 20-member team of civilian and military fellows and is an independent
analysis rather than a statement of official U.S. government policy.
The main conclusions are:
· The Department of Defense and the military services are being assigned a
much wider array of tasks in the post-Cold War era and are developing a broader
range of national security instruments to manage international security affairs
and influence other governments.
· The U.S. government is adapting instruments to take advantage of new
opportunities at relatively low cost. Partnership for Peace, the use of
private voluntary organizations in Bosnia, intrusive UN inspections in Iraq,
and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization are all examples of
how the U.S. is doing more with less.
· Public pressure to balance the federal budget could push defense and
associated national security spending below the levels projected by either the
Administration or Congress. Fewer national security resources might limit the
United States' ability to continue to exert its influence and protect its
interests around the world.
Strategic Assessment 1996 also identified trends within various
instruments of U.S. power:
Classical Military Instruments. The U.S. armed forces today are far more
capable than any conceivable adversary. Nevertheless, they will face more
challenges to adapt forces that are both capable of fighting high intensity
conflict and dealing with a variety of regional missions which fall short of
full scale war.
Emerging Military Instruments. The U.S. is on the verge of forming a "system
of systems." This super-system will be capable of seeing all relevant enemy
assets on the battlefield, communicating this information almost instantly to
combat units, and striking at these targets with unprecedented lethality.
However, increased reliance on military and civilian information systems will
require measures to protect these systems from attack.
Limited Military Interventions. In some ways, the new environment is seeing a
return to the pre-Cold War experience. For instance, the use of limited air
strikes to force a government to change its behavior, such as the 1995 strikes
against Serbian forces in Bosnia, is the modern equivalent of gunboat
diplomacy, and the enforcement of sanctions bears considerable similarity to
the old practice of laying siege.
Defense Engagement in Peacetime. Defense engagement with foreign militaries
is increasingly focused on professional education and combined military
exercises. Military-to-military contacts and civilian defense dialogue has
broadened to virtually all parts of the world, with particular success in
Central and Eastern Europe through Partnership for Peace.
Peace Operations and Humanitarian Support. The success of complex peacekeeping
operations, Bosnia and implementation of the Dayton accords being an example,
will depend on shared responsibilities and better coordination among the U.S.
military, civilian agencies and private voluntary organizations.
Technological Base. Research at the cutting edge of technology is being done
more by the private sector and less by the DoD. Defense will increasingly need
to adapt commercial developments to military systems rather than driving
technology forward on its own.
Economic. Economic instruments are having reduced impact, in part because the
U.S. is not committing sufficient resources to make an instrument like foreign
aid more effective.
For more information about Strategic Assessment 1996, call its senior
editor, INSS Director Hans Binnendijk at (202) 287-9211, director of research,
Dr. Stuart Johnson, at (202) 287-9212, or the editor, Patrick Clawson, at (202)
287-9210, ext. 547. Copies are on sale to the public through the Government