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October 2011

Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity

US military planes and parachutes
Public Domain Public Domain

US military planes and parachutes

This report outlines the ends, ways and means of US defense strategy under a range of budgetary constraints. The authors highlight the strategic consequences of these constraints, so that political leaders grasp the risks and trade-offs the cuts portend. They offer four scenarios for defense budget reductions, and identify what they think are the best possible ways to cut US military force structure, end strength, procurement and overhead to reach the required levels of savings. The authors also consider the modified roles and missions, operational approaches and vulnerabilities that might result.

© 2011 Center for a New American Security (CNAS)



David W Barno, Nora Bensahel, Travis Sharp