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Security Transformation

Edited by Dr. Steven Metz.

December 2003

Brief Synopsis

For the past 5 years, the United States has sought to transform its defense capabilities to reflect ongoing changes in technology, management techniques, the American political and economic landscapes, and the global security environment. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 and the ensuing Global War on Terrorism provided stark and tragic reminders of the need for such an adjustment. With American military forces engaged around the world in both combat and stabilization operations, the need for rigorous and critical analysis of security transformation has never been greater. Toward this end, The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), and the Eisenhower National Security Series co-sponsored a conference on security transformation on November 14-15, 2003, which brought together top thinkers to assess this topic.

Key Insights

• The Global War on Terrorism and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are diverting resources and energy from security transformation. The ultimate effect of this is unclear.
• Experts do not agree on the amount of budgetary support that will be available for security transformation over the long term.
• The human capital to sustain security transformation exists, but may become more expensive and harder to maintain.
• While the United States has been successful at transforming to attain battlefield success against conventional enemies and for defense management, there is a great need for a second generation of transformation focused on stabilization operations, intelligence, and homeland security.
• Making America’s security transformation compatible with key allies remains an unresolved problem.
• The “strategic pause” that gave birth to security transformation is over; now the United States must find a way to transform while “under fire.”

Access Full Report [PDF]: Security Transformation

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