4 capabilities essential for future national defense

A new report identifies four critical capabilities and assets that the Defense Department will need to counter the predominant threats to national security in the next decade.

A new report says that the four critical capabilities and assets that the Defense Department will need to counter the predominant threats to national security in next decade are special operations forces, cyberspace assets, long-range strike bombers and unmanned aircraft, and more submarines and unmanned undersea vehicles, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The findings are from a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) study that tackles the difficult task of imagining force structure if sequestration is not averted, the story said. Sequestration calls for $500 billion in defense cuts over the next decade.

CSBA assembled seven teams to find ways that the DOD might carry out reductions in training and maintenance in such a manner that it would not have an adverse influence on force readiness, the story said. Some of the teams suggested that the DOD should invest more heavily in modernization programs that would address future threats.

For the most part, the teams agreed with the new U.S. military strategy, which calls for a shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region. Yet several teams held that the Pentagon did not have the right mix of ships, aircraft and weapons platforms to implement the strategy, the story said.

The teams noted that many potential U.S. adversaries, such as China and Iran, are developing missiles and other weapons aimed at preventing U.S. strike aircraft and warships from operating against them at close range. To counter that threat, the United States needs systems that can operate at longer ranges.

To fund such systems, some teams recommended deep cuts in active duty ground forces, steep reductions in civilian defense personnel and reductions in readiness funding.