CNAS Report Argues for Hard Roles, Missions Scrub

A new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security argues the Department of Defense should clearly separate service roles and missions as the US enters a period of declining defense spending. The authors— four Active Duty officers, one from each of the four services—contend the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review will likely just adjust DOD’s strategic goals by modifying the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and by introducing a new force-shaping construct. However, the department must also make a “concerted effort to make the most of its available means; a smaller defense budget demands efficiencies.” With Congress resisting compensation reform and base closures, DOD must examine reforming core “unnecessary overlapping capabilities.” The report does not present specific recommendations for service roles and missions, but urges DOD to focus on specific mission areas to examine for reform. In particular, the authors argue, in the new “interwar period” the US is entering, DOD must examine key missions where service roles need clarification, specifically remotely piloted aircraft systems, cyberspace operations, and so-called “phase zero” pre conflict operations.