US Foreign Policy

“Strategic Agility”: Behind The Air Force’s New 30-Year Plan

The myriad of conflicts raging worldwide right now would pose a challenge to any defense strategy. From Russian aggression in Ukraine and China’s belligerence in contested waters to a particularly violent flaring of the Israel-Palestine conflict and Iraq’s internal chaos, these crises feature open violence each of which may require a military response. Yet, a military response to any of them would be unlike the response to any of the others. As the only global power, the United States must somehow adroitly orchestrate these disparate responses.

The Air Force this week is grabbing the obvious solution and promising it will provide strategic agility in a new strategy for the service. They promise an overarching theme nimbly tailored to each specific situation. Just what anyone would want when confronted with real crises all with unclear ways to influence them for the better.

They are not the first ones to pursue this wise school of thought. Last year we organized a working group for the Peterson Foundation, the Stimson Center’s Defense Advisory Committee, which assembled 17 of the nation’s elite national security minds from the military, government, and academia to put forward recommendations for a forward-looking national security strategy. At the core of the analysis was a concept and term we first coined: strategic agility.

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Photo credit: haglundc via flickr

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