Security politics will be different in the future, but the goal of security policy hasn’t changed and is clearly outlined in this report: to identify the most effective and efficient means for advancing Americans’ safety and prosperity. That entails ending the forever wars, terminating needless military spending, rethinking the fundamentals of strategic de- terrence, and focusing the entire defense establishment on innovation and adaptation.
This analysis mostly examines where the U.S. military was as of December 31, 2019, with a few observations from early 2020. Where it will be on December 31, 2020, will be guided by a critical set of questions. The authors, and the entire team of scholars in the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Studies Department, intend to help frame those questions—and to answer as many as possible—over the coming year.