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Alternative National Military Strategies for the United States

Authored by Dr. Conrad C. Crane.

December 2000

26 Pages

Brief Synopsis

The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) will have to address all the relevant issues about the future course of American national security strategy and provide useful recommendations to the new administration as it develops a new security strategy.

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and the Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies convened a conference on "Alternative Military Strategies for the United States" to highlight the key issues that will have to be analyzed by the QDR and the new administration's security planning. This report summarizes the presentations from a distinguished group of panelists that included many prominent American commentators on national security issues.

The report closes with an analysis of the most important issues that must be resolved to produce a viable national security strategy for the new millennium. This strategy will require some combination of new mission priorities, additional force structure, and Department of Defense economizing. This report provides a useful overview of the various positions in those areas, and is a good starting point for those trying to grasp the intricacies of future QDR debates.


The U.S. Army War College and the Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies, along with its National Security Studies Program, cosponsored a conference in Washington, DC on September 21, 2000, to examine the issues that will shape future American defense policy. Discussion panels were structured to identify the questions, issues, and schisms likely to shape the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. Among the 160 attendees registered for the conference were representatives from the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) offices for all the Services and the Joint Staff, as well as defense experts from other government agencies, private industry, and academia.

The conference was divided into four panels. The first session discussed what the focus should be for U.S. defense planners for the next 10 to 20 years. The second looked at the issues involved in transforming the military and Department of Defense (DoD) for that future. The third panel debated how the near-term U.S. defense budget should be allocated for force structure, manpower, and modernization. The last analyzed what the next National Military Strategy should be. This report summarizes the presentations of the main speakers and highlights the myriad issues they illuminated about formulating a future American national security strategy.

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