9/11 Scholars Forum

Exposing Falsehoods and Revealing Truths


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


A Report of 

The Project for the New American Century 

September 2000


Further, the process of transformation, 

even if it brings revolutionary change, is 

likely to be a long one, absent some 

catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a 

new Pearl Harbor.  Domestic politics and 

industrial policy will shape the pace and 

content of transformation as much as the 

requirements of current missions.  A 

decision to suspend or terminate aircraft 

carrier production, as recommended by this 

report and as justified by the clear direction 

of military technology, will cause great 

upheaval.  Likewise, systems entering 

production today – the F-22 fighter, for 

example – will be in service inventories for 

decades to come.  Wise management of this 

process will consist in large measure of 

figuring out the right moments to halt 

production of current-paradigm weapons 

and shift to radically new designs.  The 

expense associated with some programs can 

make them roadblocks to the larger process 

of transformation – the Joint Strike Fighter 

program, at a total of approximately $200 

billion, seems an unwise investment.  Thus, 

this report advocates a two-stage process of 

change – transition and transformation – 

over the coming decades. 

In general, to maintain American 

military preeminence that is consistent with 

the requirements of a strategy of American 

global leadership, tomorrow’s U.S. armed 

forces must meet three new missions: 

Global missile defenses.  A network 

against limited strikes, capable of 

protecting the United States, its allies 

and forward-deployed forces, must be 

constructed.  This must be a layered 

system of land, sea, air and space- 

based components. 

Control of space and cyberspace. 

Much as control of the high seas – and 

the protection of international 

commerce – defined global powers in 

the past, so will control of the new 

“international commons” be a key to 

world power in the future.  An 

America incapable of protecting its 

interests or that of its allies in space 

or the “infosphere” will find it 

difficult to exert global political 


Pursuing a two-stage strategy for of 

transforming conventional forces.  In 

exploiting the “revolution in military 

affairs,” the Pentagon must be driven 

by the enduring missions for U.S. 

forces.  This process will have two 

stages: transition, featuring a mix of 

current and new systems; and true 

transformation, featuring new 

systems, organizations and 

operational concepts.  This process 

must take a competitive approach, 

with services and joint-service 

operations competing for new roles 

and missions.  Any successful process 

of transformation must be linked to 

the services, which are the institutions 

within the Defense Department with 

the ability and the responsibility for 

linking budgets and resources to 

specific missions. 

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