Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the United States once again faces the need to prepare for great power competition and confrontation. Russian aggression along the eastern front of NATO presents military challenges to European security not seen in decades. China’s military modernization and coercive behavior toward U.S. allies and partners threaten stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Both nations are disrupting an international order that has long provided relative peace and prosperity for the United States, its allies and partners, and much of the rest of the world.
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The 2017 fiscal year once again began with an interim continuing resolution—the eighth year in a row that Congress has failed to pass a budget for the federal government by the start of the new fiscal year. This continuing resolution maintains the 2016 levels of funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) until December 9, 2016. With the Republicans maintaining control of the House and Senate and taking the White House, increases in defense spending would likely appear sometime after the new Congress and President take office in January. DoD might have a fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending bill in February or March if the defense hawks and the deficit hawks within the Republican caucus can come to terms.
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have been the world's most formidable amphibious force for more than seven decades. They have maintained more than 10 ships and 6,000 Marines continuously deployed since World War II, and conducted dozens of operations against contested beaches, islands, and cities in that time. The competition between amphibious forces and defenders ashore, however, is entering a new, more deadly, phase.
As the last budget request of the Obama Administration, the FY 2017 request largely continues the shift towards greater investment in the high-end capabilities necessary in a new strategic era that holds the potential for great power competition.
Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) submits Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) to Congress detailing the status, plans, and funding requirements for almost eighty Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). The most recent unclassified SARs, which were submitted in December 2015 and are consistent with the President’s FY 2017 budget request, project funding and quantities for major acquisition programs extending more than thirty years into the future.
Ever since the early days of the Cold War, extended nuclear deterrence has been one of the most important but challenging aspects of American strategy. During the past 25 years, however, many of the extended deterrence dilemmas that preoccupied U.S. policymakers in the past ceased to be a major source of concern.