Beginning in the 1970s, the United States dramatically improved what was already the top military in the world. Today the U.S. military remains among the best in history, perhaps the very best. But sustaining this quality is becoming increasingly difficult. Big problems, including personnel costs and recruitment challenges, are looming due to a wicked combination of economic and demographic trends.

Strategic Horizons: Redesigning the American Military

By , , Column

Beginning in the 1970s, the United States dramatically improved what was already the top military in the world. Today the U.S. military remains among the best in history, perhaps the very best. But sustaining this quality is becoming increasingly difficult. Big problems are looming due to a wicked combination of economic and demographic trends.

The most obvious and pressing problem is the military's mounting personnel costs. The Pentagon's personnel tab, which includes not only pay, but also health care and retirement benefits, has doubled over the past decade and now consumes about a third of the base defense budget. ...

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