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.
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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.
Over the last fifteen years, the Department of Defense spent more than $24 billion buying a mix of capabilities to defeat guided missile threats to U.S. and partner naval forces and land installations. Despite DoD's urgency, these investments have not resulted in air and missile defenses with sufficient capacity to counter large salvos of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other precision-guided munitions (PGMs) that can now be launched by America's enemies.
The First Nuclear Age was characterized by the Cold War era bipolar international system and a corresponding bipolar nuclear competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. While a few other states, such as Great Britain and France, also possessed nuclear arms, their arsenals were very small compared to those of the two superpowers.