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At War & Transforming
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The 2003 United States Army Posture Statement


During the last two decades of the 20th Century, information-age technologies dramatically changed the political, economic, and military landscapes. DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, and operations in Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo illustrated the requirement for transforming our forces to meet the evolving,

strategic requirements of our Nation. Survivable and extremely lethal, our heavy forces effectively met the requirements for which they were designed; yet, they were slow to deploy and difficult to sustain. Conversely, our light forces were rapidly deployable, but they lacked the protection, lethality, and tactical mobility that we seek across the spectrum of military operations. We were successful in winning the Cold War and, as a result, smaller than we had been in 40 years. The Army no longer had the luxury of specialized forces built to confront a single and narrowly defined threat like the Warsaw Pact countries.

Task Force Panther, Qalat, Afghanistan
Task Force Panther, Qalat, Afghanistan

Today’s challenges are more complex; threats are elusive and unpredictable. The fight against international terrorism has overshadowed, but not eliminated, other potential crises. Tension between India and Pakistan persists; stability between China and Taiwan is tenuous; and concern over North Korea escalates. Threats of transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – often financed by organized crime, illicit drug transactions, trafficking in women and children, and the sale of arms – further complicate the security environment. Geopolitical trends such as scarce resources, youth population-spike in underdeveloped countries, aging populations in developed countries, and the growth of mega-cities, among others, presage a future strategic environment of diverse and widely distributed threats.

Fully appreciating the internal and external difficulties that profound change engenders, we assessed the operational challenges of the new century against the capabilities of our Cold War Army, recognized the opportunity to leverage the inherent combat power of the technological revolution, and set a clear path ahead – The Army Vision.

The 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) reaffirms our military’s highest priority – defending the United States. To do this effectively, we assure our allies and friends; dissuade future military competition; deter threats against U.S. interests, allies, and friends; and decisively defeat any adversary, if deterrence fails. The NSS directs the military to transform to a capabilities-based force ready to respond to unpredictable adversaries and security crises. The Objective Force meets these NSS requirements, and Army Transformation will enhance our ability to conduct rapid and precise operations, achieve decisive results at the time and place of our choosing, and safeguard the Nation’s ability to exercise our right of self-defense through preemption, when required.

The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review describes a capabilities-based approach to defense planning that provides broader military options across the operational spectrum, from pre- to post-conflict operations. The force-sizing construct – 1-4-2-1 – takes into account the number, scope and simultaneity of tasks assigned the military: it sizes the force for defense of the U.S. homeland (1), forward deterrence in four critical regions (4), the conduct of simultaneous warfighting missions in two regions (2) – while preserving the President’s option to call for decisive victory in one of those conflicts (1) – and participation in multiple, smaller contingency operations.


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