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Challenges of the Global Security Environment

U.S. economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia, creating a mix of evolving challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.”

This is the guiding document for the U.S. Department of Defense that shifts the nation’s military toward the Asia-Pacific region.

sustaining-u-s-global-leadershipPrimary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces

  • Counter Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
  • Deter and Defeat Aggression
  • Project Power Despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges
  • Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Operate Effectively in Cyberspace and Space
  • Maintain a Safe, Secure, and Effective Nuclear Deterrent
  • Defend the Homeland and Provide Support to Civil Authorities
  • Provide a Stabilizing Presence
  • Conduct Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations
  • Conduct Humanitarian, Disaster Relief, and Other Operations

Toward the Joint Force of 2020

  1. Given that we cannot predict how the strategic environment will evolve with absolute certainty, we will maintain a broad portfolio of military capabilities that, in the aggregate, offer versatility across the range of missions described above.
  2. We have sought to differentiate between those investments that should be made today and those that can be deferred.
  3. We are determined to maintain a ready and capable force, even as we reduce our overall capacity. We will resist the temptation to sacrifice readiness in order to retain force structure, and will in fact rebuild readiness in areas that, by necessity, were deemphasized over the past decade.
  4. The Department must continue to reduce the “cost of doing business.”
  5. It will be necessary to examine how this strategy will influence existing campaign and contingency plans so that more limited resources may be better tuned to their requirements.
  6. The Department will need to examine the mix of Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) elements best suited to the strategy.
  7. As we transition out of Iraq and draw down in Afghanistan, we will take extra measures to retain and build on key advancements in networked warfare in which joint forces have finally become truly interdependent.
  8. In adjusting our strategy and attendant force size, the Department will make every effort to maintain an adequate industrial base and our investment in science and technology.


The balance between available resources and our security needs has never been more delicate. Force and program decisions made by the Department of Defense will be made in accordance with the strategic approach described in this document, which is designed to ensure our Armed Forces can meet the demands of the U.S. National Security Strategy at acceptable risk.


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