Transforming the Army to Win as a Near-Peer Competitor

The U.S. Army today is a product of more than 70 years of American military dominance. Since the end of World War II, this Army has benefited from the complete dominance of American air and naval forces, enjoying freedom to deploy, assured logistics, and safety from attack from air or sea. During that same period, the Army has had technological and materiel superiority over every enemy it has fought or, in the case of the Soviet Union, deterred. This dominance has shaped the U.S. Army physically, mentally, and culturally into an Army that expects those conditions to continue and relies on them for victory. But, there are ominous trends in the economic growth, military development, improving professionalism, and growing experience of the armed forces of potential foes such as China, Russia, and Iran. If trends continue over the next several decades, the time may come when the U.S. armed forces are no longer dominant, but may see roles reversed, so that the United States becomes the near-peer competitor. In anticipating that possibility this article focuses on how the U.S. Army must transform in order to win if confronted with a war in which we are the weaker foe. Part 1 of this analysis focused on the necessary characteristics a force must have to win as the weaker foe. This article follows that with a historical example to reinforce those characteristics, and a future article will provide some suggestions how the Army can transform from the force it is today to the Army it needs to be in the future.


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