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Many observers have noted that past formulations of American military strategy, such as the Shape, Respond, Prepare Now approach that the Department of Defense used from 1997 until 2001, have been longer on philosophy than on practicalities. To address those shortcomings, this report outlines a preliminary framework designed to better link strategy with resource priorities and more accurately frame key investment choices. This report contains the results of a study designed to assist the Department of Defense in its efforts to refine the defense strategy in light of recent experiences and to address expectations about future challenges to U.S. national security. The framework model presented in this report provides a space in which decisionmakers can display strategic options and their inherent tradeoffs, debate the merits of those competing choices, and then decide on a specific strategy.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Articulating Strategic Themes

  • Chapter Three

    Linking Themes to Force Postures and Capabilities

  • Chapter Four

    Forming Strategic Constructs

  • Chapter Five

    Testing the Constructs Against the Future Security Environment

  • Chapter Six

    Refining the Constructs

  • Chapter Seven

    Applying the Framework

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in RAND's RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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