Think Tank Calls for Pentagon Reform

Echoing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s calls for military reform prior to 9/11, a new Center for a New American Security study urges the Department of Defense to transform itself in order to sustain American pre-eminence in the world. In Sustainable Pre-eminence: Reforming the US Military at a Time of Strategic Change, the think tank’s authors—retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, Nora Benshael, Matthew Irvine, and Travis Sharp—argue that the reality of austere budgets presents the US military with an opportunity for change. Among the recommendations, the study, released on May 23, calls for DOD to accelerate development in technology, especially unmanned, autonomous, and artificial-intelligence systems, and to downsize headquarters staffs and the civilian contractor workforce. Air Force-specific recommendations include reducing the planned F-35A inventory from 1,763 to between 1,000 and 1,200 airframes, creating a new requirement for a long-range stealthy remotely piloted strike/ISR platform, and sustaining the existing timeline for a new bomber aircraft, but re-evaluating the current goal of fielding an inventory of between 80 and 100 aircraft.