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Ctrl + Alt + Delete


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What if we could start from scratch? What might the U.S. military look like if we hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and reset the force? Would we establish a separate Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps? Would we give them the overlapping capabilities -- planes and helicopters, commandos and cyberspace units -- that they have today? Would we give regional commanders the power of veritable viceroys?

As budgets tighten, other powers rise, and technologies proliferate, it is time to stop and ask: Is there a better way? What follows is a thought experiment about what the U.S. military might look like if we started today with a blank slate.

In our vision, the military would be organized around its three overarching missions: defend the homeland, defeat adversaries, and maintain a stabilizing presence abroad -- themes that run through defense strategy documents over the last quarter-century, regardless of presidential administration. In a revolutionary break from current practice, these new commands would be responsible not only for executing these core missions, but also for developing the capabilities to achieve them. We would invest more in robotics systems of all kinds, protect existing special operations and cyberspace capabilities, and reduce less relevant capabilities like short-range aircraft and tanks.

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