Defense Transformation: To What, For What?

  • November 01, 2006
  • COL Kevin Reynolds

“What form is transformation taking and what end(s) are the armed forces transforming to obtain?” The author argues that U.S. foreign and national security policies should drive the pace and direction of defense transformation, but finds that all too often the military’s weapons systems preferences determine the shape and form of the armed services transformation and their future capability sets. Due to the lengthy Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) time to acquire technologically advanced weapons systems, up to and beyond 20 years in many instances, future administrations will inherit weapons systems and force structures that, although recently fielded, were imagined several administrations previously and whose capability to support current policy may now be limited. He concludes by arguing that the military should acquire a broad range of technologies now in order to present as yet unknown future political leaders with a broader range of military capabilities with which to pursue future U.S. policy preferences.