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Report to Congress on Shift in International Security Environment

The following is the April 26, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense.

From the Report:

World events in recent years have led observers, particularly since late 2013, to conclude that the international security environment in recent years has undergone a shift from the post-Cold War era that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, also sometimes known as the unipolar moment (with the United States as the unipolar power), to a new and different situation that features, among other things, renewed great power competition with China and Russia and challenges by these two countries and others to elements of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II.

A previous change in the international security environment—the shift in the late 1980s and early 1990s from the Cold War to the post-Cold War era—prompted a broad reassessment by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress of defense funding levels, strategy, and missions that led to numerous changes in DOD plans and programs. Many of these changes were articulated in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review (BUR), a reassessment of U.S. defense plans and programs whose very name conveyed the fundamental nature of the reexamination that had occurred.

The recent shift in the international security environment that observers have identified—from the post-Cold War era to a new situation—has become a major factor in the debate over the size of the U.S. defense budget in coming years, and over whether the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 (S. 365/P.L. 112-25 of August 2, 2011) as amended should be further amended or repealed.

Additional emerging implications of the shift include a new or renewed emphasis on the
following in discussions of U.S. defense strategy, plans, and programs:

  • grand strategy and geopolitics as part of the context for discussing U.S. defense budgets, plans, and programs;
  • U.S. and NATO military capabilities in Europe;
  • capabilities for countering so-called hybrid warfare and gray-zone tactics employed by countries such as Russia and China;
  • capabilities for conducting so-called high-end warfare (i.e., large-scale, high-intensity, technologically sophisticated warfare) against countries such as China and Russia;
  • maintaining U.S. technological superiority in conventional weapons;
  • nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence;
  • speed of weapon system development and deployment as a measure of merit in defense acquisition policy; and
  • minimizing reliance in U.S. military systems on components and materials from Russia and China.

The issue for Congress is how U.S. defense funding levels, strategy, plans, and programs should respond to changes in the international security environment. Congress’s decisions on these issues could have significant implications for U.S. defense capabilities and funding requirements.

via fas.org

  • Duane

    Everything has changed in the last ten years.

    It’s time for the US allies in the middle east to take on most of the burden of defeating jihadists and Irananian proxies so that we can focus mostly on the near peers. This transition has already been underway since 2011, and needs to continue until all that US forces do is train and advise in the middle east. That trend needs to include air support, which remains mostly a US task even today, and is very expensive for our taxpayers.

    And our major allies in NATO and the Indo-Pacific also need to step up and do more and not rely so heavily on the US to deter Russia and China. Meaning, among other things, we need to stop POing our allies over Iran nuke sanctions and stop killing off free trade deals with our allies.

    Trump needs to go, of course. He is Russia’s and China’s best friend today, they love their American bull in the china shop. If however we treat our friends well, then we can expect them to step up and bear more of the burden. But if we go out of our way to PO our friends, they won’t be our friends much longer. And they will not take up more of the burden of mutual self defense

    • Kypros

      Perhaps Trump can go on a an apology tour and tell our allies how embarrassed he is of the US and tell them how much we suck. He can then go to our European and Asian allies and make sure they don’t waste too much of their OWN money on both their individual and our collective defense. Then he could dramatically cut funding to the US military through a sequester so maintenance and training could be cut to the bone. He should also allow unfair trade deals which are a disadvantage to the US and ABSOLUTELY allow US technology to be stolen without even a word of protest. As a capper, he should give one of our enemies $150 billion as well as an additional $1.8 billion in Swiss Francs and Euros and fly it in in the middle of the night. Nah, never mind, we had an incompetent fool do that already. Thank heavens Trump replaced him!

      • muzzleloader

        Duanne is a leftist progressive who admitted that he voted for Hillary.

    • .Hugo.

      why the so-called “allies” need to step up? it’s just the u.s. hegemony being challenged.
      and to step up requires huge some of money, is the u.s. going to foot the bill for them?

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Trump will be there for another 6 years…. if he wishes.

      The rising tide for black and hispanic voters is a coffin nail to the democrats, they despise the idea of everyone prospering.

  • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

    And so the Japanese Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere is reborn and the Chinese show, once again, they are just followers in history.

    • .Hugo.

      actually all surrounding countries which have been attacked and invaded by japan in the past have never reduced their awareness on the aggressive nature of japan. being so much restricted and contained by the u.s. doesn’t mean such nature is not in the japanese veins.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Japan is not a threat to anyone. China is the new imperial threat…

        • .Hugo.

          china has no emperor, while japan still has a royal family. 🙂

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            Yeah, so? It was a condition of surrender. China has a emperor. He just uses a different title now.

          • .Hugo.

            show us where the chinese constitution includes an emperor figure then. 🙂

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            China has an emperor.

          • .Hugo.

            which part of the chinese constitution has said so?

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            The part with Emperor XI sitting on top.

          • .Hugo.

            thanks for answering that there is no such clause in the chinese constitution to make xi the emperor, meaning he is just the president elected by the national people’s congress to perform his duties as the president. 🙂

  • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

    So while China hones their Marines into razors and the IL senate approves medical pot in public schools. This will not end well.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      One country has its eyes on the prize, the other is consumed in its own last-days-of-Rome hubristic naval-gazing.