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U.S. military planning has historically focused on Europe, and specifically on deterring the Soviets from large-scale military aggression against its NATO allies and preventing the success of such an aggression if launched. The military's key objective has been to provide a line of defense on the NATO front. U.S. planners also considered scenarios that involved blocking an enemy's advance where there was no organized line of defense. Two historic events have changed the U.S. view of the relative importance of these two scenarios: (1) the unraveling of the Warsaw Pact and the reduced threat of Soviet military actions against Western Europe, and (2) the recent events in the Persian Gulf. In the new European scenario, the United States, after having withdrawn most of its forces from Europe, might be called upon to deploy a "covering" force to assist NATO in some now unforeseen crisis. The vision of a new world order requires the capacity for quickly projecting sea power, air power, and ground power to the far reaches of the globe, and of being able to sustain high-intensity operations. If the United States intends to play a central role in a new world order, then it must have a planning and acquisition process that ensures truly superior forces capable of high-intensity operations.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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