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This report presents an approach to strengthening the U.S. defense planning process. The approach centers on a simple but rigorous framework that links official statements of national security and national military strategy and the operational capabilities of force elements to programs for developing and procuring military systems and services. The author recommends adopting a force-planning procedure that includes the following elements: (1) an operational focus, (2) guidance to Department of Defense components in operational terms, (3) discussion at the level of force elements rather than systems and hardware, (4) outlines of capability goals, (5) allocation of resources to best overall effect, (6) a better process for decisionmaking, (7) streamlined process for upgrading basic systems, (8) determination of performance features of new basic systems, and (9) reduction of turmoil and paralysis.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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