The defense-budget wonks over at the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments have apparently had it with costume and paste jewelry.
Todd Harrison and Mark Gunzinger huddled over the summer with fellow deep defense thinkers — congressional staffers from both parties and chambers, Pentagon civilians and former military officers from all services, defense experts from industry, and defense think-tankers — to propose a retooled U.S. military for the coming decade of austerity.
You can read what they recommended for cutting and trimming by checking out their full report here.
But it’s also worth noting that the seven teams of experts singled out four categories of military power that they deemed to be the “crown jewels” of the nation’s martial might:
Special operations forces: All teams protected special operations forces (SOF) even as they made significant reductions to active component ground forces.
Cyberspace capabilities: All teams chose to protect investments in offensive and defensive cyber capabilities to preserve the integrity of U.S. networks and maintain the capability to degrade the battle networks of future adversaries.
Next generation long-range penetrating surveillance and strike: All teams chose to maintain or accelerate development of the next generation Long Range Strike-Bomber. Teams also increased the planned procurement of stealthy, multi-role Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) rather than maintain the current UAS force, which is optimized for operations in permissive airspace.
Survivable undersea warfare systems: All teams cut surface ships relatively more than submarines, indicating a strategic choice to prioritize submarines and unmanned undersea vehicles better suited for operating in an A2/AD [anti-access, area denial] environment.
Everything else — the Army, nuclear weapons, the fledging F-35 tri-service fighter program, missile defense — was on the table.