A New Administration Faces National Security Issues

Constraints and Budgetary Options

by Malcolm W. Hoag

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A consideration of the international and domestic policy constraints that may affect U.S. military planning in the 1970s. A feasible defense budget for the 1970s is constructed that is based on the FY 1965 budget, which was a model of austerity while maintaining large general forces for contingencies. The resulting budget is $50 billion in 1969 prices, or only about 5 percent of the GNP of the early 1970s. It reflects hard choices made between policy constraints and indicates a strategic arms freeze, but implies more drastic cuts in military capabilities. Since U.S. military structural changes might have serious repercussions abroad, they could not be adopted without consultation with U.S. allies and, hopefully, in reasonable negotiation with the Soviet Union. Among the international implications to be considered are (1) prospects of a strategic arms freeze with the USSR; (2) NATO capability and will, permitting U.S. unilateral force reductions; and (3) maintenance of the credibility of Asian commitments.

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