Report examines new strategic guidance for DoD

On Jan. 12, the Congressional Research Service released a report that looks at the new strategic guidance set forth by the Department of Defense. In Brief: Assessing DoD’s New Strategic Guidance highlights and analyzes key strategic-level issues raised by the new DoD guidance. The new defense guidance serves as a blueprint for the joint force of 2020, and highlights a shift in focus from today’s wars to preparing for future challenges. The new guidance also emphasizes shifts in geographical priorities, the balance of missions, force structure, and stresses the need for advanced capabilities.

The CRS report assesses the impact of the new strategic guidance and poses questions about its implementation and long term effects. The report recognizes the changing priorities of DoD (for example, counter-insurgency is no longer on the list of the top ten priorities) and asks to what extent does the new priority list force trade offs. The report also examines the new force planning construct and the risks associated with the new guidance. International and interagency partnerships are also explored. The report asks how international partnerships and “burden sharing” would help the U.S. and its partners save money and meet a variety of challenges, and asks what risks would be associated with international partnerships. In regard to interagency cooperation, the report notes that all U.S. government departments and agencies are facing budget pressure, and that civilian agencies may be under resourced for their roles and responsibilities. The report questions to what extent the DoD would be responsible for filling the gaps in civilian agencies and if DoD is ready to commit its resources to building the capacity of other U.S. agencies?

For more information about the CRS report and the strategic guidance assessment, please follow the link below.
In Brief: Assessing DoD’s New Strategic Guidance, Congressional Research Service
Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, Department of Defense

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