22 February 2020

The Takshashila PLA Insight

I. The Big Story: PLA, Equifax and Espionage

The US’s Department of Justice announced the indictment of four Chinese PLA service members in connection with the 2017 Equifax breach on February 10. The indictment alleged individuals of hacking data such as names, date of birth and social security numbers of nearly 150 million Americans, and driver’s license number of at least 10 million Americans. “This was one of the largest data breaches in history. It came to light in the summer of 2017, when Equifax announced the theft. The scale of the theft was staggering,” remarks the release.

The release states that the hackers broke into the Equifax network through a vulnerability in the company’s dispute resolution website. “Once in the network, hackers spent weeks conducting reconnaissance, uploading malicious software, and stealing login credentials, all to set the stage to steal vast amounts of data from Equifax’s systems. While doing this, the hackers also stole Equifax’s trade secrets, embodied by the compiled data and complex database designs used to store the personal information,” remarks the release.

A Field Guide to U.S.-India Trade Tensions

by Alyssa Ayres
Source Link

Trade between the United States and India has grown steadily ever since India’s economy began to take off in the mid-1990s and its information technology sector shot to prominence in the early 2000s. From 1999 to 2018, trade in goods and services between the two countries surged from $16 billion to $142 billion. India is now the United States’ eighth-largest trading partner in goods and services and is among the world’s largest economies. India’s trade with the United States now resembles, in terms of volume, U.S. trade with South Korea ($167 billion in 2018) or France ($129 billion).

But as trade between Washington and New Delhi has increased, so too have tensions. U.S. and Indian officials have disagreed for years on tariffs and foreign investment limitations, but also on other complicated issues, particularly within agricultural trade. Concern for intellectual property rights has preoccupied the United States for thirty years, while issues concerning medical devices and the fast-growing digital economy have more recently emerged. On top of this, the Donald J. Trump administration has exacerbated tensions by creating new dilemmas, including a focus on bilateral trade deficits and the application of fresh tariffs, prompting retaliation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Afghans Fear Yet Another Civil War


Last week, the anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal was commemorated in Afghanistan: Thirty-one years ago, the last Soviet soldier left the country through the Amu Darya River. But Afghans know that was only the beginning of a new nightmare—the start of civil war—and many people in this war-haunted land fear something similar could happen after the withdrawal of all NATO troops. 

Yet they know withdrawal must—and will—happen. “The Americans have to leave. We Afghans just don’t like foreign invaders,” said Mohammad Naseem, who was a mujahideen commander in the 1980s in the eastern province of Logar, where he fought the communist government and its Soviet backers. 

“We kill one another for foreign forces and foreign ideologies. This has to end,” Naseem said while eating dried mulberries at the Mandai, Kabul’s largest open-air market. “But it [the withdrawal] has to take place systematically and with responsibility.” Most of all, said Naseem, who supports Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Taliban need to talk with his government too, not just with the Americans. 

Ghani Named Afghan Election Winner. His Opponent Claims Victory, Too.

By Mujib Mashal
Source Link

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday was declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential vote after five months of delayed results and bitter dispute. But the announcement threatened to tip the country into a full-blown political crisis on the cusp of a U.S. peace deal with the Taliban.

Just hours after the announcement, Mr. Ghani’s leading challenger, Abdullah Abdullah — who accuses Afghanistan’s election commission of favoring the incumbent — also declared himself the winner and said he would form a government of his own.

The dispute over the election result comes just after a breakthrough in the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, with the two sides arriving at a tightly choreographed peace plan expected to be rolled out in a matter of days. The plan calls first for a test period of “violence reduction,” which would lead to the Taliban and Washington signing a deal. Soon after that, the two Afghan sides would sit down to discuss the political future of the country.

But Western diplomats have long feared that a political crisis in Kabul would weaken the Afghan government’s hand in the negotiations and affect the overall peace plan.

Dragon and Elephant – Tango for the future

Lt Gen Abhay Krishna

PLA has undergone three stages of modernization since the foundation of PRC in 1949. The period upto1980 mainly focused on building a large conventional military for countering an invasion and large-scale mechanized warfare keeping nuclear warfare secondary. This made the ground forces predominant, supported by Air Force, Navy and second Arty. Thereafter the period upto1990 brought about a strategic shift in military modernization with a focus on preparing for a local war under high-tech conditions. With the advent of information-centric revolution in military affairs the focus now appears to be on winning local wars under informatized condition.

Beginning Jan 2016, China replaced Seven Military Regions with Five new Military Theatre Commands, 13 Combined Corps and 89 Combined Armed Brigades. These commands are headquartered at Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, and Beijing, each with a particular strategic direction. These forces are supplemented by Special Operation Brigades, Aviation Brigades, Air Assault Brigades, Airborne Brigades, Marine Brigades and other force multipliers including Artillery, Air Defence and Engineers integrated till Combined Arms Battalion level. The concept of developing the rocket force, space, cyber, electronic warfare and special operations in form of PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) and Joint Logistic Support Force (JLSF) signify a focused commitment to the development of force multiplier capabilities to ensure overwhelming superiority during the conflict.

Beijing’s sharp power needs to be balanced

By Mark Chen 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that China tried to prevent US state governors from congratulating President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on her electoral victory last month.

He reminded the governors that China is exploiting the US’ open society to infiltrate the country, and is extending the level of infiltration from local to federal government.

This is something that Taiwanese have long had to deal with, and now the US is coming to realize the threat presented by China’s sharp power.

China’s reach does not stop at single countries or a minority of nations; it is a global phenomenon.

Nowhere is this more explicitly manifested than its control of international organizations and its distortion of international regulations.

The purpose of the UN is to maintain peace and yet Beijing’s hegemonic ambitions have been laid bare since China’s rise.

The Coronavirus Is a Stress Test for Xi Jinping

By Elizabeth Economy
On February 4, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, prepared to address an audience of students, scholars, and businesspeople in San Diego, California. Before the ambassador could speak, a young Chinese man stood up and yelled, “Xi Jinping, step down!” Security quickly whisked the man away, and the event went on. 

A handful of similar calls for the resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping have popped up on the Chinese Web in recent weeks, from citizens who accuse the country’s leadership of bungling the state’s response to the deadly coronavirus that has spread throughout the country. Like the protester in San Diego these critical posts have disappeared almost immediately. 

The coronavirus outbreak is on track to become the worst humanitarian and economic crisis of Xi’s tenure, but the Chinese president is certainly not likely to resign. In fact, Xi has spent seven years in power building a political system designed to withstand just such a crisis. He has centralized authority in his own hands, enhanced top-down state control, limited the free flow of information within and across the country’s borders, and adopted an assertive foreign policy designed to cajole and coerce other countries into doing as China says. For now, at least, the epidemic has brought into sharp relief the extent of Xi’s power. But the very existence of the crisis points to gaping contradictions and weaknesses at the heart of his regime. The longer Beijing takes to contain the virus, the wider and more consequential those cracks will become.


What, exactly, is the Trump administration’s 5G policy?

Daniel W. Drezner
Source Link

The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts have been close observers of the Trump administration’s foreign policy for more than three years. After more than 1,000 days, a few patterns have emerged. One is that, on occasion, the administration has the germ of a good point in its stated aims. This was the case with its dispute over the Universal Postal Union, for example, a disagreement that ended favorably for the United States. Another pattern is that, when the administration encounters roadblocks, it doubles down on coercive pressure. This has been the case with the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaigns. A third pattern is that the administration has frequently claimed huge victories about truly meager concessions.

There is a danger, however, in trying to systematize the administration’s foreign policy approach. Georgetown University professor Daniel Nexon labels this “analytical normalization.” This is the natural tendency, when dispassionately analyzing what this administration does, to presume that there is a clear strategy animating these actions, when in actuality it might the immature whims of a president with a very short temper and no constraints on his behavior. If something goes sideways, is it because of President Trump’s caprice? Is it because he is running foreign policy with the D-team? Or are some foreign policy problems simply hard to tackle regardless of who is in charge?

Europe needs a China strategy; Brussels needs to shape it

Julianne Smith and Torrey Taussig

Regaining European momentum in developing a tougher China policy will depend on the new leadership in Brussels, which already has many of the ingredients to develop this strategy but so far lacks willing partners among EU member states, argue German Marshall Fund Senior Advisor Julianne Smith and Brookings Nonresident Fellow Torrey Taussig. This post originally appeared in Lawfare.

Europe’s momentum in developing a clear-eyed approach toward China has stalled. In March 2019, the European Commission issued a white paper naming China a systemic rival and economic competitor. That publication marked a fundamental shift in how far European institutions were willing to go in raising the challenges China poses to Europe’s openness and prosperity. It also reflected shifts that were occurring in capitals across Europe. Just as the European Union was rolling out its white paper on China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was arguing that Europe should view China as a competitor as much as a partner, and French President Emmanuel Macron warned China that “the period of European naivety is over.”


Luigi Scazzieri, Beth Oppenheim

The conflict in Libya is spiralling out of control despite the recent Berlin conference. Beth Oppenheim and Luigi Scazzieri discuss why Europe has struggled to influence Libya, and how the conflict may evolve.

Key Takeaways from "Under the Nuclear Shadow: Situational Awareness Technology and Crisis Decisionmaking"

By Rebecca Hersman, Reja Younis, Bryce Farabaugh, Bethany Goldblum, and Andrew Reddie

Improvements to strategic situational awareness (SA)—the ability to characterize the operating environment, detect and respond to threats, and discern actual attacks from false alarms across the spectrum of conflict—have long been assumed to reduce the risk of conflict and help manage crises more successfully when they occur. However, with the development of increasingly capable strategic SA-related technology, growing comingling of conventional and nuclear SA requirements and capabilities, and the increasing risk of conventional conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries, this may no longer be the case.

Information dominance has been essential to ensuring U.S. military effectiveness, sustaining the credibility and assurance of military alliances, and stabilizing or reducing the risks of miscalculation or collateral damage. But can there be too much of a good thing?

Central Questions:

What is the strategic SA ecosystem and how has it evolved?

Which technical capabilities will inform strategic SA in crisis and conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries?

How can these capabilities decrease or increase escalatory risks in crises that occur under a nuclear shadow?

Industrial revolutions might not be as fun as they look

AI promises a new industrial revolution but history warns us that industrial revolutions aren't always that fun for people in the eye of the storm. This week, Nicholas Barrett and Maria Demertzis spoke with Dr. Carl Frey, author of the book "The technology trap: capital, labor, and power in the age of automation", and Robert D. Atkinson, President of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), about how artificial intelligence will affect the job market.

France’s Challenge in Africa

By Sylvie Kauffmann

A soldier of the French Army patrols a rural area during the Barkhane operation in northern Burkina Faso in November 2019.

PARIS — This is a war that escapes most radar screens. The French, whose troops have been fighting in the Sahel for seven years, ask few questions about their involvement. They should. In this crucible where Islamist insurgency, ancient local conflicts, fragile states, European hesitations and a shifting American strategy make an explosive mix, it is a war they may well be losing — or, in the best case, a war they may never win.

That is the somber warning that the chief of staff of the French armed forces, Gen. François Lecointre, delivered on Nov. 27, a day after his troops suffered 13 casualties in a helicopter crash in Mali during combat operations. “We will never achieve final victory,” he told the public radio station France Inter. “Avoiding the worst must provide sufficient satisfaction for a soldier. Today, thanks to our constant action, we are ensuring that the worst is avoided.”

The Post-American Middle East

by Richard N. Haass

It was August 5, 1990, just days after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had invaded and conquered all of Kuwait, and US President George H.W. Bush could not have been clearer as he spoke from the South Lawn at the White House: “This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.” Over the next six months, Bush proved to be a man of his word, as the United States sent a half-million soldiers to the Middle East and led an international coalition that liberated Kuwait.

Three decades later, a very different American president embraced a very different US policy. In the wake of abandoning its Kurdish partners in Syria who had fought valiantly in defeating Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, the US stood by as Iranian drones and missiles attacked Saudi Arabian oil installations, temporarily taking half of its capacity offline.

Welcome to the post-American Middle East. To be fair, the phrase is something of an exaggeration, as the US has not withdrawn from the region. In fact, it has recently sent additional troops to deter and, if necessary, help defend Saudi Arabia from future Iranian attacks and possibly respond directly to them. But there is no getting around the fundamental truth that the US has reduced both its presence and role in a region that it has dominated for nearly a half-century.

Europe, Overrun by Foreign Tech Giants, Wants to Grow Its Own

By Adam Satariano and Monika Pronczuk
Source Link

The European Union outlined proposals to bolster its digital economy and keep it from being overly reliant on foreign companies, while cracking down on those companies.

Apple, based in California, and Samsung, from South Korea, make the most popular phones in Europe. Facebook owns the most widely used social networks, Google dominates online search and advertising, and Amazon controls e-commerce. European companies run their businesses on cloud infrastructure from Amazon and Microsoft. The region’s wireless networks are largely made with equipment from the Chinese giant Huawei.

The European Union on Wednesday outlined an attempt to restore what officials called “technological sovereignty,” seeking tougher regulation of the world’s biggest tech platforms, new rules for artificial intelligence and more public spending for the European tech sector.

Officials said the effort was a “generational project,” and the ideas reflect a growing concern among European leaders that countries in the region are overly dependent on services provided by companies based elsewhere. With the global economy becoming ever more centered on technology, European countries would have a harder time creating jobs and generating tax revenue to fund government services.

America Needs a New Economic Philosophy. Foreign Policy Experts Can Help.

Source Link

U.S. foreign-policy makers now face a world in which power is increasingly measured and exercised in economic terms. Authoritarian capitalism is challenging market democracy as the prevailing model—and technological disruption, climate change, and inequality are straining the compact between governments and their people. In such a world, economics, at least as much as anything else, will determine the United States’ success or failure in geopolitics.

This is especially true when it comes to dealing with China, which has already reached a level of economic strength and influence the Soviet Union never enjoyed. While military power will still matter, the emerging great-power competition between the United States and China will ultimately turn on how effectively each country stewards its national economy and shapes the global economy.

Looking to U.S. history, from the early years of the republic to the era following World War II, shifts in grand strategy have from time to time necessitated a change in economic philosophy—from mercantilism to laissez-faire absolutism to Keynesianism to neoliberalism—and national security arguments have proved critical to securing that change. The same is true today as the United States enters a new era of great-power competition and grapples with powerful forces like inequality, technology, and climate change.

The Population Bust

By Zachary Karabell 

For most of human history, the world’s population grew so slowly that for most people alive, it would have felt static. Between the year 1 and 1700, the human population went from about 200 million to about 600 million; by 1800, it had barely hit one billion. Then, the population exploded, first in the United Kingdom and the United States, next in much of the rest of Europe, and eventually in Asia. By the late 1920s, it had hit two billion. It reached three billion around 1960 and then four billion around 1975. It has nearly doubled since then. There are now some 7.6 billion people living on the planet. 

Just as much of the world has come to see rapid population growth as normal and expected, the trends are shifting again, this time into reverse. Most parts of the world are witnessing sharp and sudden contractions in either birthrates or absolute population. The only thing preventing the population in many countries from shrinking more quickly is that death rates are also falling, because people everywhere are living longer. These oscillations are not easy for any society to manage. “Rapid population acceleration and deceleration send shockwaves around the world wherever they occur and have shaped history in ways that are rarely appreciated,” the demographer Paul Morland writes in The Human Tide, his new history of demographics. Morland does not quite believe that “demography is destiny,” as the old adage mistakenly attributed to the French philosopher Auguste Comte would have it. Nor do Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson, the authors of Empty Planet, a new book on the rapidly shifting demographics of the twenty-first century. But demographics are clearly part of destiny. If their role first in the rise of the West and now in the rise of the rest has been underappreciated, the potential consequences of plateauing and then shrinking populations in the decades ahead are almost wholly ignored. 

Saving America’s Alliances

By Mira Rapp-Hooper 

In his three years in office, U.S. President Donald Trump has aimed his trademark vitriol at a wide range of targets, both foreign and domestic. Perhaps the most consequential of these is the United States’ 70-year-old alliance system. The 45th president has balked at upholding the country’s NATO commitments, demanded massive increases in defense spending from such long-standing allies as Japan and South Korea, and suggested that underpaying allies should be left to fight their own wars with shared adversaries. Trump’s ire has been so relentless and damaging that U.S. allies in Asia and Europe now question the United States’ ability to restore itself as a credible security guarantor, even after a different president is in the White House.

But the tattered state of the alliance system is not Trump’s doing alone. After decades of triumph, the United States’ alliances have become victims of their own steady success and are now in peril. In the early years of the Cold War, the United States created the alliance system to establish and preserve the balance of power in Asia and Europe. To adapt the phrase of the commentator Walter Lippmann, alliances became the shields of the republic. These pacts and partnerships preserved an uneasy peace among the major industrialized countries until the end of the twentieth century. And they came with far fewer financial and political costs than Trump and some international relations scholars have claimed. When the Soviet Union collapsed, American policymakers wisely preserved this trusty tool of statecraft. But because the United States had no real peer competitors, the alliance system was repurposed for a world of American primacy and lost its focus on defense and deterrence.

Pentagon to Adopt Detailed Principles for Using AI

Source Link

The Defense Department will soon adopt a detailed set of rules to govern how it develops and uses artificial intelligence, officials familiar with the matter told Defense One. 

A draft of the rules was released by the Defense Innovation Board, or DIB, in October as “Recommendations on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence.” Sources indicated that the Department’s policy will follow the draft closely. 

“The Department of Defense is in the final stages of adopting AI principles that will be implemented across the U.S. military. An announcement will be made soon with further details,” said Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

The draft recommendations emphasized human control of AI systems. “Human beings should exercise appropriate levels of judgment and remain responsible for the development, deployment, use, and outcomes of DoD AI systems,” it reads.

Dispatch from Munich: Seeking a savior in a time of Westlessness

Amanda Sloat

The annual gathering of the Munich Security Conference provides a useful barometer for the health of the transatlantic relationship. Two years ago, Europeans were reeling from the first year of the Trump administration. Last year, they were resigned to that reality and determined to press ahead. This past weekend, everyone was searching for a savior to address critical challenges amid a lack of global leadership.

President Donald Trump’s name was rarely uttered. At last year’s conference, Vice President Mike Pence articulated Trump’s vision of leadership that required Europeans to do America’s bidding. This year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempted a more inclusive approach, arguing: “The West is winning, and we’re winning together.” Yet his defense of national sovereignty sounded to European ears like an attack on their cherished multilateral institutions. (Given Trump’s claim a week prior that the EU “was really formed so they could treat us badly,” this is a reasonable interpretation.)

Europeans widely expect Trump to be re-elected this fall. After their shock at his 2016 victory, they seem to be bracing for the worst, but remain unprepared for the consequences. They inquired about Democratic presidential candidates, asking what Bernie Sanders would mean for Europe and whether Michael Bloomberg was a good compromise for moderates.

Too Big to Prevail

By Ganesh Sitaraman 

When executives at the biggest U.S. technology companies are confronted with the argument that they have grown too powerful and should be broken up, they have a ready response: breaking up Big Tech would open the way for Chinese dominance and thereby undermine U.S. national security. In a new era of great-power competition, the argument goes, the United States cannot afford to undercut superstar companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet (the parent company of Google). Big as these companies are, constraints on them would simply allow Chinese behemoths to gain an edge, and the United States would stand no chance of winning the global artificial intelligence (AI) arms race. That technology executives would proffer these arguments is not surprising, but the position is gaining traction outside Silicon Valley; even Democratic politicians who have been critical of Big Tech, such as Representative Ro Khanna of California and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, have expressed concerns along these lines.

But the national security case against breaking up Big Tech is not just weak; it is backward. Far from competing with China, many big technology companies are operating in the country, and their growing entanglements there create vulnerabilities for the United States by exposing its firms to espionage and economic coercion. At home, market concentration in the technology sector also means less competition and therefore less innovation, which threatens to leave the United States in a worse position to compete with foreign rivals. Rather than threatening to undermine national security, breaking up and regulating Big Tech is necessary to protect the United States’ democratic freedoms and preserve its ability to compete with and defend against new great-power rivals.


What AI still can’t do

by Brian Bergstein

In less than a decade, computers have become extremely good at diagnosing diseases, translating languages, and transcribing speech. They can outplay humans at complicated strategy games, create photorealistic images, and suggest useful replies to your emails.

Yet despite these impressive achievements, artificial intelligence has glaring weaknesses.

Machine-learning systems can be duped or confounded by situations they haven’t seen before. A self-driving car gets flummoxed by a scenario that a human driver could handle easily. An AI system laboriously trained to carry out one task (identifying cats, say) has to be taught all over again to do something else (identifying dogs). In the process, it’s liable to lose some of the expertise it had in the original task. Computer scientists call this problem “catastrophic forgetting.”

These shortcomings have something in common: they exist because AI systems don’t understand causation. They see that some events are associated with other events, but they don’t ascertain which things directly make other things happen. It’s as if you knew that the presence of clouds made rain likelier, but you didn’t know clouds caused rain.

Elias Bareinboim: AI systems are clueless when it comes to causation.

The messy, secretive reality behind OpenAI’s bid to save the world

by Karen Hao
Source Link

Every year, OpenAI’s employees vote on when they believe artificial general intelligence, or AGI, will finally arrive. It’s mostly seen as a fun way to bond, and their estimates differ widely. But in a field that still debates whether human-like autonomous systems are even possible, half the lab bets it is likely to happen within 15 years.

In the four short years of its existence, OpenAI has become one of the leading AI research labs in the world. It has made a name for itself producing consistently headline-grabbing research, alongside other AI heavyweights like Alphabet’s DeepMind. It is also a darling in Silicon Valley, counting Elon Musk and legendary investor Sam Altman among its founders.

Above all, it is lionized for its mission. Its goal is to be the first to create AGI—a machine with the learning and reasoning powers of a human mind. The purpose is not world domination; rather, the lab wants to ensure that the technology is developed safely and its benefits distributed evenly to the world.

Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing

By Jake Tibbetts

By the end of 1943, the US Navy had installed 120 electromechanical Bombe machines like the one above, which were used to decipher secret messages encrypted by German Enigma machines, including messages from German U-boats. Built for the Navy by the Dayton company National Cash Register, the US Bombe was an improved version of the British Bombe, which was itself based on a Polish design. Credit: National Security Agency

Quantum computing is a technology that promises to revolutionize computing by speeding up key computing tasks in areas such as machine learning and solving otherwise intractable problems. Some influential American policy makers, scholars, and analysts are extremely concerned about the effects quantum computing will have on national security. Similar to the way space technology was viewed in the context of the US-Soviet rivalry during the Cold War, scientific advancement in quantum computing is seen as a race with significant national security consequences, particularly in the emerging US-China rivalry. Analysts such as Elsa Kania have written that the winner of this race will be able to overcome all cryptographic efforts and gain access to the state secrets of the losing government. Additionally, the winner will be able to protect its own secrets with a higher level of security than contemporary cryptography guarantees.

Getting to Less

By Kathleen Hicks 

On the question of how much to spend on national defense, as with so much else, Americans are divided. A Gallup poll taken in 2019 found that 25 percent of them think the United States spends too little on its military, 29 percent believe it spends too much, and 43 percent think it is spending about the right amount—a remarkable degree of incoherence for politicians trying to interpret the public’s will. President Donald Trump, having campaigned on a promise to “rebuild” the U.S. military, has touted the “billions and billions of dollars more” he has added to the Pentagon’s budget each year of his tenure. On the campaign trail, some Democratic candidates are moving in the opposite direction. To free up money for her health-care plan, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has said she plans to slash defense spending. Likewise, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has said that in order to “invest in the working families of this country and protect the most vulnerable,” the United States should put an end to “massive spending on a bloated military budget.”

Rarely, however, does this debate touch on the real question at the heart of defense spending: what the U.S. military should be doing and should be prepared to do. The closer one looks at the details of military spending, the clearer it becomes that although radical defense cuts would require dangerous shifts in strategy, there are savings to be had. Getting them, however, would require making politically tough choices, embracing innovative thinking, and asking the armed forces to do less than they have in the past. The end result would be a less militarized yet more globally competitive United States.