Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' oft-cited article in the January/February 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs emphasized the need for the United States to develop a balanced defense posture, which he called "The defining principle of the Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy." What constitutes that balance? Secretary Gates sees the need for it in three areas: "between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States' existing conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces, and between retaining those cultural traits that have made the U.S. armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done."1
Striving for Balance in Defense
Now that the new Quadrennial Defense Review has been unveiled, the United States needs to do more to address current (Iraq and Afghanistan) as well as potential future (Iran, North Korea, and China) security challenges.
By Thomas G. Mahnken