How Might U.S. Defense Policy Change in the Years Ahead?
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The United States will face a number of strategic defense policy issues in the near future. Is large-scale counterinsurgency really outdated and what does that mean for the future of the Army? Can the United States stay out of the Syrian civil war indefinitely? How worried should we be about China’s rise, and will Air-Sea Battle continue to be the answer to modernization strategy vis-à-vis China and perhaps others? And what would be the likely outcome should the U.S. attack Iran’s nuclear program?
Additionally, uncertainties about the future of the defense budget remain. Is sequestration likely to return in 2016, or might further action soften the projected cuts? How likely is it that presidential electoral politics that year, combined with possible world events, might change things in either direction? How should we understand the various forces and dynamics within Congress on this subject?
On April 28, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute hosted a discussion on future issues in U.S. defense strategy and spending. Joining in the discussion were Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) and Representative Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), both of whom are members of the House Armed Services Committee and are two of the leading voices on defense strategy and spending on Capitol Hill. Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy, and American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Mackenzie Eaglen moderated the discussion.
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With the downward trajectory in [U.S.-China] relations, the incoming ambassador ideally will need to have a visible connection to the president and his senior advisers, familiarity with the range of issues that comprise the relationship, and a future in American politics. The more the ambassador is seen as likely to wield influence in the future on issues affecting China, the higher the cost and risk for Beijing to mistreat him/her.