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Research Question

  1. How might policymakers in the United States adjust defense spending and investments to bring resources into better alignment with the demands of strategy?

This report is the second in RAND's ongoing Strategic Rethink series, in which RAND experts explore the elements of a national strategy for the conduct of U.S. foreign and security policy in this administration and the next. The report analyzes defense options available to the United States in responding to the re-emergence of a belligerent Russia, the seizure of significant territory in Iraq and Syria by violent extremists, growing Chinese military power and assertiveness, and other threats to U.S. security and interests. It focuses on ways that the United States might adapt military instruments to meet these emerging challenges, assessing in broad terms the cost of defense investments commensurate with the interests at stake. The report argues that currently projected levels of defense spending are insufficient to meet the demands of an ambitious national security strategy.

Key Finding

Limitations on defense spending in the context of emerging threats are creating a "security deficit."

  • Fielding military capabilities sufficient, in conjunction with those of our allies and partners, to deal with the disparate challenges faced by the United States will require substantial and sustained investments in a wide range of programs and initiatives well beyond what would be feasible under the terms of the Budget Control Act.

This project results from the RAND Corporation's Investment in People and Ideas program.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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