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From the mid-1930s through the Cold War, Europe was critical to U.S. strategic thinking, which developed around the assumption that foreign domination of Europe was inimical to U.S. national security. With the end of the Cold War, the United States sought to forge a Europe that was “whole and free.” However, since Putin has returned to office, he has launched a determined effort to reassert Moscow’s influence in areas formerly under Soviet control.
Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, thank you for inviting me to testify today on this important and timely subject. The United States is at an inflection point in its national security. After enjoying almost three decades of military superiority, the United States now faces competitors with strategies and capabilities that could circumvent, undermine, or defeat the defense posture and forces of America and its allies. In some regions and mission areas, the U.S. military is already behind those of its potential adversaries. If we fail to reshape our military and implement new ways to deter aggression, respond to provocation, suppress terrorism and insurgency, and protect the homeland, we risk the security assurances upon which our alliances are based and, with them, the security and economic health of the United States.
The United States faces a very different set of security challenges than it has since the Cold War. Great power competitors such as China and Russia improved their military capabilities over the last two decades while America focused on Middle East insurgencies, and now appear willing to challenge the international order.
In Reinforcing the Front Line: U.S. Defense Strategy and the Rise of China, CSBA Senior Fellow, Evan Montgomery outlines the key elements of a U.S. defense strategy for the region—one that is based on the enduring grand strategy of global leadership and engagement, but also recognizes the new challenges posed by China’s growing military power.
The battle lines over defense spending in the Trump Administration are already being drawn. Senator McCain has staked out a broad vision of restored readiness, targeted investments in advanced capabilities, and thoughtful growth in military capacity. In this budget brief, CSBA Research Fellow Katherine Blakeley lays out the details of Senator McCain’s proposed defense investments with accompanying interactive visualizations.
At the outset, I would like to commend you for Restoring American Power, which is a thoughtful and much needed contribution to the debate over defense strategy and resources. CSBA’s diagnosis of the situation and recommendations accord with those detailed in the paper in many respects.