The authors of the document note that the United States found itself in a difficult situation with rapidly changing security conditions. The Pentagon is forced to adjust its position due to changes in the world. The situation in the world is becoming less predictable and more threatening, both for the United States itself and for its allies. The current situation contributes to the emergence of various extremism, as well as increased competition of states in various fields. According to experts of the US Department of Defense, the United States needs to use all available opportunities to protect its interests and citizens of the country.
Simultaneously with the international situation, the financial aspect of US defense is changing. Starting in 2012, the Pentagon must reduce its spending on 487 billions of dollars over ten years. In accordance with the current Budget Control Act of 2011, each year the Pentagon must cut its budget by 50 billion. The Defense Ministry managed to achieve some relief, but budget sequestration may continue in the 2016 fiscal year. Thus, in the foreseeable future, the Pentagon will have to operate under conditions of constant funding cuts, which, however, should not affect the country's defense potential.
In connection with similar difficulties in the new Four-Year Defense Policy Review, a number of measures are proposed aimed at preserving and increasing defense capability in the face of declining funding and complicating the international situation. CHOOP-2014 has three major initiatives. The first of these implies the use of the 2012 Strategic Defense Guide as the basis for a new defense strategy aimed at protecting the country and preserving its leading roles. The second initiative is a series of steps that the Pentagon should take to achieve new goals. Finally, CHOOP demonstrates the intentions of the military department to preserve and improve the capabilities of the armed forces, despite all the difficulties of a financial and other nature.
The use of Strategic Defense Guidance on 2012 of the Year implies an increase in the presence of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, Europe, the Middle East and Africa are considered important regions in which stability needs to be maintained. In general, the updated defense strategy is based on three main areas: the protection of the United States, including assistance to civilian authorities in the event of natural disasters or attacks; ensuring global security to maintain stability in certain regions and support allies; the transfer of forces to the desired region in order to fulfill the assigned combat missions.
These fundamentals of the strategy imply the use of all kinds of troops, as well as complement each other. For example, strategic nuclear forces can deter a likely adversary from attacking not only the United States, but also their allies. The preservation of stability in different regions of the planet should have a beneficial effect on the development of the allied states and the United States itself. Similarly, the situation may be with the transfer of troops. By helping foreign allies, the US military reduces the likelihood that some threats will approach the US.
Currently, the Pentagon is working on new solutions that will most effectively perform its tasks. Interdepartmental and international cooperation aimed at creating new ideas, strategies, weapons and equipment is considered one of the main tools for developing the necessary solutions. For example, new ideas are being developed for military presence in important regions. For these purposes, in particular, it is proposed to deploy additional naval forces of rapid deployment in the necessary areas. At the same time, the proposed solutions should ensure maximum return with minimum costs.
The forward-based system of various units should contain deterrent potential adversaries, as well as facilitate the fight against terrorism. In addition, it is necessary to ensure the rapid transfer of sufficient forces to fight the enemy in case the deterrence turned out to be ineffective. The authors CHOOP-2014 note that conducting an operation in one region should not affect the combat capability of troops in others. The armed forces must be ready not only to repel an attack in one region, but also to continue containment in others.
To preserve and enhance the defense capability, the Pentagon will have to find a new balance of power in several key areas. This balance will help to ensure high capabilities of the armed forces in various conditions and in various conflicts.
The US Department of Defense should find the optimal balance of forces for conducting combat operations in various conditions and with different opponents. The armed forces must be ready to engage in battle with small, weakly trained armed groups, as well as with large states, including weapon mass destruction. In the near future, the armed forces should focus on preparing for conflicts of varying intensity, giving equal attention to all scenarios. At the same time, it is recommended to maintain the existing experience gained during the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Despite existing restrictions, the US military must be prepared to engage in opposition with a well-armed and equipped army. To this end, the development of advanced systems and weapons should be continued. Currently, the United States has a great advantage over other countries in outer space and cyberspace. Preserving technological superiority over the likely adversary is one of the most important tasks of the future.
In the future, it is planned to revise the balance of power and revise the presence of troops abroad. The greatest attention is invited to the Asia-Pacific region. So, one of the main tasks in this region is to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK is developing new weapons systems, including medium-range missiles, which require special attention to this region. In addition, South-East Asia and Oceania require some attention, which also has some problems.
The United States has permanent interests in the Middle East. In this regard, the military department intends to maintain a strong military presence in the region, primarily in the Persian Gulf. Such a presence will allow for timely response to various threats, as well as deterrence of potential aggressors. An equally important issue is cooperation with European states, aimed at jointly ensuring stability in the region.
The armed conflicts of recent years, in which the US military participated, have led to some changes in the structure of the armed forces. In this connection, and also because of the sequestration of the military budget, it is necessary to reorganize the existing possibilities in order to increase the combat readiness and potential of the troops. The current presidential budget project for 2015 has a number of measures that should have a beneficial effect on the balance of power. Despite the reduction in the number of armed forces, their continuous modernization will allow them to maintain and increase their defense capability.
In connection with the upcoming cuts in funding and modernization of the armed forces, the compilers of the Four-Year Review of Defense Policy have proposed several ideas regarding the structure and number of troops.
The key point of the updated strategy is the preservation of the air forces that can quickly begin to perform tasks in any area of the planet. Improving the combat effectiveness of the Air Force is associated with the modernization of existing equipment and the creation of a new one. In order to free up resources and finances for improving and updating the fleet, it is proposed to reduce or seriously reduce the costs of less important projects. Under the reduction may fall aviation systems not designed to perform multiple tasks. Priority projects are multi-purpose equipment. Plans for fiscal 2016 may require additional reductions. If since 2016 the military budget will be reduced again, the Pentagon will have to decommission another 80 aircraft of different classes, as well as look for additional ways to save.
The preservation of high-level ground forces is associated with some problems. It is proposed to reorganize the army, national guard and reserve. The permanent composition of the ground forces should be reduced from the current 570 thousand people to 440-450 thousand. The National Guard is proposed to reduce from 358 thousand to 335 thousand, and the number of reservists should be reduced by 10 thousand people and brought to 195 thousand. If budget cuts continue in 2016, the number of ground forces will have to be reduced again. The existing plan provides for the reduction of the personnel of the ground forces to 420 thousand soldiers and officers, the National Guard to 315 thousand, and the reserve to 185 thousand people.
Maintaining the capabilities of the naval forces is one of the most difficult tasks in the face of reduced funding. The US Department of Defense intends to reduce the cost of purchasing new ships and the withdrawal of existing reserves. However, modernization fleet should continue, although its pace may decline. So, under the LCS program, it is planned to build only 32 ships. Further purchases of such equipment are not yet considered. New reductions in the military budget may affect the number of carrier strike groups. To save on costs, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) aircraft carrier can be put into reserve and stay there until the scheduled repair and restart of the reactors. Thus, even after the delivery of the newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald F. Ford (CVN-78), the U.S. Navy will for some time have 10 carrier strike groups, rather than 11 as before.
Downsizing will not get around the Marine Corps. While maintaining a favorable financial environment, it is planned to reduce the number of KMP personnel to 182 thousand people. Depending on the military budget for the 2016 fiscal year, the number of marines may be further reduced to 175 thousands.
At 2015 fiscal year, some additional steps are planned to increase the defense capability of the US military by creating and improving promising systems. In order to accomplish the assigned tasks, it is proposed to continue developing systems for working in cyberspace, strengthen existing missile defense systems, modernize nuclear deterrence tools, etc.
Developing a missile defense system, the US Department of Defense intends to deploy a second early warning and tracking radar in Japan. In addition, the number of ground-based interceptor missiles will be increased. It is intended to make targeted investments in new detection and interception systems. The issue of locating additional antimissiles in the United States is also being studied.
The main way of development of military space systems is the use of relatively simple and inexpensive devices with sufficient characteristics. It is intended to create multi-level complexes that are resistant to enemy attacks.
The Air Force and Navy must receive new equipment, built using the latest developments in various fields. In addition, Pentagon experts propose to begin purchases of new guided high-precision armament for aviation of the air force and naval forces.
Systems of reconnaissance, observation and reconnaissance are supposed to be created taking into account use both in difficult situations and in favorable conditions. Such systems must be adapted to perform their functions during global or local operations.
The number of special forces should be increased and brought to 67,7 thousand people. Such a number of troops will allow to conduct various counter-terrorism operations in different parts of the world at the same time, to help the allied countries, as well as to provide support to other combat arms.
The US Department of Defense has found a way to reduce its spending on 5 billion dollars over the next five years and on 10 billion by the end of the decade. To this end, it is proposed that 20% reduce the budgets of the main Pentagon departments, as well as reduce the number of organizations subordinate to it. The military department is already conducting cuts in civilian personnel and contractors. In addition, work is underway to improve the financial management of the ministry, aimed at improving control over financial reporting.
According to estimates of the compilers of the Four-Year Defense Policy Review, the Pentagon has an excess amount of infrastructure, and staff reduction will lead to its additional increase. In this regard, it is proposed to carry out the elimination of unnecessary infrastructure in the framework of the procedure of reorganization and closure of bases. Earlier, the US military offered to conduct two stages of such a procedure, but Congress refused. Now the elimination of unnecessary objects is proposed to do in the 2017 year.
CHOOP-2014 reveals some features of plans for working with personnel. The Pentagon intends to preserve the existing attitude towards the military, namely, to continue to take care of soldiers and officers both during service and after firing, as well as to provide them with the most modern weapons and equipment. In addition, reforms aimed at ensuring equal rights for servicemen will continue. Every effort is being made to ensure that soldiers and officers can fully serve, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Collaboration continues with the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs in providing assistance to those leaving the armed forces.
Over the past ten years, incomes and benefits for military personnel have steadily increased, but because of current cuts, the Pentagon cannot continue to carry out the same increase in allowances. In this regard, a number of measures are proposed that will reduce the expenses of the military department, but leave the personnel income at an acceptable level. Over the next five years, it is proposed to limit annual increases in the incomes of military personnel, slow down the growth of non-taxable housing allowances, simplify and change health insurance programs, reduce food subsidies and take some other measures. For the first five years, all these actions will help save about 12 billions of dollars.
The authors of the Four-Year Defense Policy Review note the importance of slowing the growth of personnel remuneration. If Congress does not approve these plans, the Pentagon will have to save on other expenses. Under the reduction may fall purchases of weapons and equipment, as well as other expenses directly related to increasing the combat capability of the armed forces.
The level of funding proposed by the presidential budget project for the 2015 fiscal year will allow the US armed forces to carry out the tasks assigned to them, but the decision of some of them will be associated with certain risks. In the future, these risks may increase, which will contribute to the possible resumption of budget cuts. Further budget cuts may lead to the fact that the Pentagon will not be able to maintain the size and structure of the armed forces at the required level.
A further reduction in the military budget is guaranteed to lead to serious consequences and will hit the defenses of the United States. If the budget is reduced within ten years, the armed forces will be unbalanced and not numerous enough. All this will lead to a significant increase in risks associated with the performance of combat missions. A reduction in combat capability can affect not only the potential in armed conflicts, but also the confidence of partner countries and their own people. Thus, insufficient funding can have very serious consequences in several areas at once.
The new Four-Year Defense Policy Review offers a series of measures that will optimize defense spending while insuring the military against possible negative consequences. CHOOP-2014 was compiled in accordance with the presidential draft budget for the 2015 fiscal year. Such a combination of the two documents will allow the military department to gradually implement all the proposed measures to upgrade the armed forces and at the same time reduce costs. However, the final decision on certain issues remains with the US Congress.