A conservative think tank called The Project for the New American Century has completed a two-year study of U.S. defense needs. It is issuing a report entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that clearly is aimed at influencing the next administration. Most of the report makes sense, such as its advocacy of global missile defenses, its call for more multirole submarines, and its recognition of the importance of electronic warfare. Some parts, such as its proposals for a moratorium on aircraft-carrier production and a space service independent of the Air Force, make no sense at all.
But if there is a fundamental flaw in the report, it is the geopolitically naive notion that America can count on foreign allies to provide assured access to forward bases in Eurasia. To quote the report, “Independent, expeditionary air wings containing a broad mix of aircraft … should be based in Italy, Southeastern Europe, central and perhaps eastern Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia.” The entire force structure proposed by the report revolves around the critical assumption that “forward operating bases” in those locations will be available.
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