The analysts at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) annually assess the strategic equation for their particular area of interest. This year they were asked to consider not only the next 12-18 months, but also to look 10 years ahead and to think about the future as it might affect both the nation and the Army. From the strategic context that they envision, SSI is producing its 1996 Study Program. This process provides the transition from the general strategic context to individual studies. These 1996 strategic assessments are crucial for two reasons. First, the post-Cold War world remains complex. These complexities present the nation and the Army with diverse and potentially perilous challenges. To remain the world's best Army in the 21st century, we must define clearly today the strategic challenges we may face tomorrow. Second, the Army is addressing this strategic context at a crucial juncture when it has nearly completed its planned downsizing and has begun to transform its vision of the future into modernization requirements through the Force XXI process. That transformation is threatened by continued pressures to reduce Army spending.