Julia Tylor for Defense One

Special Report: The State of Defense 2016

Defense One's annual year-ahead assessment of each military service finds a force ready to fight, but feeling the strain from all they are being asked to do -- still.

Can you feel the strain? The Army wants more troops. The Air Force wants more money and newer planes. The Navy wants more ships and is battling over what to do with the fleet it has. And the Marines — well the Corps isn’t sure what comes next, but they’re staying in the fight.

Spend big, fight small. Be ready to roll everywhere, but stay out of a big war anywhere. Destroy the Islamic State, check down Russia and China, prepare for nuclear war, buy long-range bombers, defend cyber networks and satellites, patrol the seas, and expand covert special ops missions to capture and kill Islamic State leaders. And while you’re at it, modernize the workforce, open up to women, honor commitments to families, and do a better job connecting with the American public.

The state of defense, from top to bottom, is everywhere. It’s a time of changes, to the force and its mission. But there is clear priority in 2016 at the Pentagon and in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. 

Go inside Defense One's annual State of Defense special report here.