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Lessons from the National

Planning Americas Security is a national issue that was propelled by various factors. These included: the end of the Cold War, the demise of the Soviet Union and its accompanying rivalry, the threat of increased use of nuclear weapons otherwise referred to as weapons of mass destruction among other factors. These factors contributed to uncertainties in the international and national security from the early 1990s to date. (Tedstron and Mcginn 1999). This dynamic and complex state led to a lengthy debate in the U.

S. over national security and defense policies and priorities. Numerous defense reformations have been carried out to aid in the tackling of the challenges by the military. Given that the National Defense Panel (NDP) was the integral part in the basic review, this paper discusses the significant lessons initially learnt from it and some of the recommendations thus made to the Congress on effectively implementing the Americas Security Planning Process.

Planning Americas Security exercises and significant reviews before the 1997 included the Base Force Assessment of the administration of president Bush, the Bottom Up Review (BUR) of the 1993, the Commission on the Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces (CORM) in 1994 to 1995, and Joint Vision 2010 (JV 2010) in 1996. (Tedstrom and Mcginn 1999). In spite of the handy importance of those efforts, concern in the defense group still prevailed especially in the Congress.

This arose from the fact that the military was not fundamentally revising the policies as was essential to the intended security system. As a result, the National Defense Panel formed the integral part in the attempt to resolve the existing security system, as a component of the 1996 Military Force Structure Review Act. As a consequence, a lot was to be learnt from the National Defense Panel and recommendations made there from. These were to be recommended to the administration, the Congress and the upcoming NDP management team regarding how to optimize the security planning process.

A comprehensive reassessment of the U. S defense strategy and the Armed Forces force structure was appealed for by the Military Force Structure Review Act in preparation for any security threats in the twenty first century. This was specifically directed to the Secretary of Defense to Conduct a Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) of the force structure, infrastructure, the defense strategy among other issues of the defense program and policies aiming at establishing a revised defense program in 2005.

The National Defense Panel was thus established by the Act as an independent body to review the Quadrennial Defense Review findings and to give an independent appraisal to, “a variety of possible force structure of the Armed Forces through the year 2010 and beyond”. (Tedstrom and Mcginn 1999). The National Defense Panel was thus accorded an ambitious and unique mandate by that special role.

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the National Defense Panel were different in terms of origin, purpose and the process as the QDR had been recommended by the Commission on the Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces (CORM) within the Pentagon and had a strictly defense focus. (Tedstrom 1999). The National Defense Panel (NDP) developed in the Congress with the principal aim to influence the QDR process among other purposes. Further, the Panel was aimed at assessing the U. S. security interests.

That is, NDP was a result of an interest in security issues by staff and members who wanted the Pentagon to resolve radically the composition, strength and the role of the U. S. military forces. Thus it was established as an advisory commission entrusted with making decisions regarding defense matters and to develop proposals for an above-the-line Armed Forces force structure. (Tedstrom 5). Planning Americas Security should commence in good time. This can be observed from the National Defense Panel that had various problems in performing effectively as they had began on a late start.

This planning should be done by well organized professionals who will assist in policy formulations and performance of other duties. According to Tedstrom (1999): The panel took time to assemble a full professional staff. In their efforts to follow the legislation’s direction for alternative force-structure development, the National Defense Panel developed an eight-step analytic process designed to progress from national security objectives down to the necessary force structures to meet those challenges.

(p. 5) Thus, in the American Security planning adequate staff should be hired and realistic goals are set. This can be observed from the National Defense Panel that was unable to accomplish the development of alternative force structures for the period extending beyond 2010. The Defense Panel had earlier emphasized on the relationship between strategy and force structure. As a result, the Panel members channeled their talks on the need for future reformations in the military.

The Americas security planning committee should adequately address the defense strategic plan in relation to other security strategic issues at national level like overseas diplomatic presence, national intelligence capabilities and foreign assistance. The Americas security planning Panel should incline to a broad examination of the security planning issue. That is, greater emphasis should be accorded to the key role played by other components of the U. S. security system. With the advancement in technology, the America’s security planning should encompass a more strategic transformation message.

Tedstrom (1999) concurs with this point in his observation: With technology changing so rapidly and the military on the cusp of a so called revolution in military affairs (RMA), the National Defense Panel concluded that agreeing on force structure in any detail was a dubious proposition at best, especially given the NDP’S staffing, scheduling, and other constraints. (p. 8). In spite of the constraints experienced earlier, the National Defense Panel is confident that a transformation development plan is a clear indication of a successful American security establishment in the next century.

A balance ought to be made between administration, research and analytical work. This will allow logical thinking about division of labor and careful planning of the analytic agenda. This can be inferred from the situation which resulted from too much concentration on analytical work which was finally discredited in the National Defense Panel. As a result, the Panel’s findings were to a greater extent based on informed opinion rather than on their research and analytic findings.

Cohen defines success as stimulating, “a wider debate on our defense priorities and the need for a transformation to meet the challenges of 2020 rather than providing a laundry list of specific measures to be implemented. ” (Tedstrom 1999). As a consequence, a diversified security planning approach should include international alliances to the intended security establishment and a scrutiny of the entire security structure in anticipation on for transformations in the international environment. As a matter of fact, the panel argued for a $5 to 10 billion annual budgetary wedge to fund the transformation strategy.

. . Additionally, the Defense Panel Publicly singled out a few currently planned purchases as examples of the kinds of weapon systems that might be unnecessary in the future. (Tedstrom 1999). Should the American military fail to incorporate the changes in time, they risk fundamental unprepared ness regarding security of their future generations. Americas security planning is apparently making remarkable progress because the National Defense Policy has aided shape the debate on security and the future defense policy. (p. 12)

The National Defense Panel has acted effectively in support of the Americas Security Planning. This has been achieved through the encouragement of defense and national security system to tackle the daily issues pertaining security. These include: reassignment in responsibilities, cuts in across service budgets and exploration of government sensitive international issues. The Americas security planning panel should comprehensively plan for integrated across services, its main claim on resources and long term investments in future capabilities. (Tedstrom 12).

More substantive military and non military dimensions of the U. S. national security should be identified at a broader degree. This task should be picked up by future National Defense Panels and substantiate it together with analytic content to the important U. S. non military security strategy. Consequently, the aspects should be integrated fully in the long term defense plan. (Tedstrom 199). The security planning panel members should avail themselves to participate in congressional seminars and if the secretary of defense desires, provide input to the QDR effort.

An emphasis is put on the National Defense Panel to act independently whereas the Quadrennial Defense Review exercises on in-house basis. (Tedstrom 19). The National Defense Panel should be retained and encouraged to look into significant non military aspects of America’s security and integrate them into its future security’s strategy. However, the security planning panel created should not be permanent. Instead, a neutral and reliable institution must be identified to maintain the Panel’s records.

The Panel should also include freshly trained professionals. This will benefit the Panel because it will have fresher thinkers and practitioners who will aid the country’s resource development of future defense strategy. The conclusions drawn following the review of The National Defense Panel on how to perform Americas security planning were as follows: Institutionalizing management and professional staff would be uneconomical because bureaucracies and internalizing of the procedures will feature thus the process will be very expensive.

In order to improve the National Defense Panel’s efficiency, members of the Panel should be drawn from experienced people. The National Defense Panel chairperson ought to give ample time and commitment to the Panel and encourage division of labor between the staff and panel members. It is advisable that the management comprises an executive director with two deputies whereby one will perform administrative work and the other will conduct research and analysis. The three professionals should be employed on full time basis.

The nomination of the Panel members by the Secretary of Defense should be done earlier. For instance, this could be done in the season before the general elections year so that in the beginning of another season, the National security planning panel would have commenced functioning. Similarly, resource constraints should be dealt with systematically by the Security Panel since the Panel is not resource driven; such constraints would be better addressed by the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Attention should be focused on the right relationship between leaders in the Pentagon, the Congress and in other departments of the national security system. Such efforts will not only be complimentary but will productively reinforce the system. It is thus recommended that the Security Planning Panel precedes the Quadrennial Defense Review in order to allow for thoroughness, appropriate staffing and proper understanding of each party’s mandate.

A lot of focus should be maintained on defense matters as well as integration of the National Defense Panel’s findings and recommendations into the Americas Security planning agenda. As the U. S. plans her security, then it is important that the stated lessons as learnt from the National Defense Panel’s experience be considered carefully. References National Defense Panel. (1997 December 1). Transforming Defense. National Security in the 21st Century. 3-5. Tedstrom, J. E and Mcginn, J. (1999). Planning Americas Security: Lessons from the National Defense Panel. United States: Rand

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