September 30, 2001

The Quadrennial Defense Review replaces the official force-sizing standard-in effect since 1993-that said the armed forces should be prepared to fight two Major Theater Wars almost simultaneously. (In reality, the forces were never sized or funded to meet that standard.) The new standard is called “4-2-1″: The force should be sized to deter aggression in four critical theaters (Europe, Northeast Asia, the East Asia littoral, Middle East/Southwest Asia), defeat aggression in any two theaters at the same time, and preserve the option for one major counteroffensive. The new standard is more demanding, especially of air and space power, than the old one was.