Author: Dr Don M Snider
The successful application of national military strategy depends upon the existence of a balanced, flexible military establishment; a national force structured, manned, equipped, and trained to execute the broad range of potential missions that exist in the post-cold war world. With this in mind, the national leaders of the previous administration developed a concept for a military that was considerably smaller; but well-equipped, highly trained, and capable of rapid response to a number of probable scenarios in the final decade of the 20th century. The author’s masterful assessment of the processes by which these plans for the future state of America’s armed forces were developed is a valuable addition to the literature on strategy formulation. Working with a great deal of original source material, he is able to illuminate the critical series of events that resulted in the development of the National Military Strategy of the United States and the “base force.” He comments upon the roles played throughout this process by the Secretary of Defense, by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and by the Service Chiefs. He assesses the extent to which the “build-down” has been achieved since the concept was approved, and how the process was affected by the Gulf War, domestic needs, and, to a lesser degree, by a change in administrations.