Winnefeld: Embrace a Reset

The United States needs to reset its security and military balance in the coming years, as other nations have taken advantage of the time the United States has spent fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld. States, such as China and Russia, have capitalized on the United States’ “distraction” by asserting themselves in their respective regions, which has led to consequences like Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, he said on Nov 15 in remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif. “In protecting our allies against potential mischief from these powers, we’ve always counted on our overmatch in capability and capacity to offset the challenges of distance and initiative,” said Winnefeld. “That overmatch is now in jeopardy,” he added. The United States has increasing demands to contend with, and is not modernizing its forces as fast as it should, plus budget challenges are pushing the Defense Department against the bounds of “manageable risk,” he said. The solutions involve finding technological offsets, embracing additional efficiencies, and developing new operational plans and concepts that would change the “complexion of our force,” said Winnefeld. He spoke on the same day that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled the Defense Innovation Initiative to the forum audience.