In the coming decade, the United States will face a different and more challenging security environment than it did during the Cold War. Meeting the challenges of growing instability in Muslim regions, threatening non-state actors, political shifts in northeast Asia, the accelerated proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the needs of postwar reconstruction in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan will require significant adjustments in the force posture investment priorities of the U.S. armed forces. Domestic factors, especially the growing budget deficit, could also affect the willingness of the American public to support large increases in the defense budget. Adapting to these challenges will require the second Bush administration to make hard choices regarding investment priorities-choices that will be controversial within the armed services. The United States will need to give higher priority to equipment and forces designed to fight wars *in the shadows,* as opposed to major conventional wars, and then to undertake effective postwar reconstruction.
Originally published in: The National Interest, no. 77, Fall 2004, pp. 50-58.
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