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Report on the BOTTOM-UP REVIEW
Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense
October 1993


SECTION IV
BUILDING AN OVERALL FORCE STRUCTURE

Determining the overall force structure needed to provide the building blocks we have identified for new dangers and opportunities rests on the key question: How many of each type of building block might need to be engaged at once? The answer depends on the nature and number of dangers that threaten us at any given time. Figure 6 (class handout) shows where and how we will need to engage building blocks as the international environment shifts from peacetime to multiple crises or conflicts and back to peace.

In peacetime, we will conduct routing overseas presence operations. Moreover, the nature of the new regional dangers and our recent experience suggest that we will also need building blocks for lower-scale operations such as peacekeeping and peace enforcement, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities. Beyond these types of operations, we will routinely hold large forces in "strategic reserve."

If a major regional conflict erupts, we will deploy a substantial portion of our forces stationed in the United States and draw on our overseas presence forces to put in place the capabilities needed to first halt and then defeat an aggressor. If we feel it is prudent to do so, we can keep other forces engaged in a smaller-scale operation like peacekeeping while responding to a single MRC.

If a second MRC breaks out shortly after the first, we will need to pull together and deploy another building block of forces to assist our allies in the threatened area in halting and defeating the second aggressor. The forces for that effort would come from a further reallocation of overseas presence forces, any forces still engaged in smaller-scale operations, and most of our remaining forces based in the United States. These forces would include a combination of air, ground, and maritime units deployed concurrently with those dispatched to the first MRC. Selected high-leverage and mobile intelligence, command and control, and air capabilities would be redeployed from the first MRC to the second as circumstances permitted. As will be described later, combat forces in the National Guard and reserves would play an important role in creating this building block.

As also shown in Figure 6, while the force building blocks would shift in order to provide the capability to fight two MRCs, there will continue to be a simultaneous requirement for forces and capabilities to maintain strategic nuclear deterrence, conduct overseas presence, peace enforcement, or other types of intervention operations, and provide a strategic reserve of mostly Guard and reserve forces back in the United States.

Once we had won both MRCs, our forces would assume a more routine, peacetime posture. However, as Figure 6 depicts, some forces would probably remain in the regions to maintain stability and to prevent any further problems from arising in the conflicts' aftermath.

Overall Force Structure

On the basis of a comprehensive assessment of U.S. defense needs, the Bottom-Up Review determined that the force structure shown in Figure 7, which will be reached by about the end of the decade, can carry out our strategy and meet our national security requirements.

U.S. Force Structure-1999 (Figure 7)
Army 10 divisions (active)
5+ divisions (reserve)
Navy 11 aircraft carriers (active)
1 aircraft carrier (reserve/training)
45-55 attack submarines
346 ships
Air Force 13 fighter wings (active)
7 fighter wings (reserve)
Up to 184 bombers (B-52H, B-1, B-2)
Marine Corps 3 Marine Expeditionary Forces
174,000 personnel (active end-strength)
42,000 personnel (reserve end-strength)
Strategic Nuclear Forces (by 2003) 18 ballistic missile submarines
Up to 94 B-52H bombers
20 B-2 bombers
500 Minuteman III ICBMs (single warhead)

This force structure will meet our requirements both for overseas presence in peacetime and for a wide range of smaller-scale operations. It will also give the United States the ability to prevail in the most stressing situation we may face--two major regional conflicts occurring nearly simultaneously.

In addition, the force structure provides sufficient capabilities for strategic deterrence and defense. It also provides enough forces, primarily reserve component, to be held in strategic reserve and utilized if and when needed. For example, reserve forces could deploy to one or both MRCs, if operations do not go as we had planned. Alternatively, they could be used to "backfill" for overseas presence forces redeployed to an MRC.

Within this overall force structure, each of the services will be making changes in order to support the defense strategy and provide the capabilities needed to win major regional conflicts quickly and decisively.

Army. Forward stationing of Army forces will be reduced, but greater use of prepositioning will improve the Army's ability to introduce heavy forces early in a conflict. Battlefield mobility and flexibility will be enhanced through helicopter and other selected modernization programs. Thus, although smaller, the Army will be more capable of delivering decisive combat power early to a distant region.

Navy. While cutting significantly the forces devoted to "blue water" sea control, the Navy is undertaking improvements and innovations in naval air and amphibious lift that will enhance its ability to bring power to bear in a land battle.

Air Force. The Air Force will also be reshaped to increase its ability to bring early firepower to regional battlefields. This will come through utilizing all of its assets--from long-range bombers to short-range strike aircraft--and enhancing their capabilities with improved munitions and the continued introduction of stealth technology. Airlift capabilities will also be modernized to ensure the rapid flow of personnel and equipment to distant regions when needed.

Marine Corps Through prudent modernization, prepositioning, and a high level of training, the Marine Corps will capitalize on its ability to bring ready and well-supported combat capability to a battlefield quickly and effectively.

Analysis of Alternative Force Structure and Mixes

In the analysis supporting the Bottom-Up Review, four separate force structure options were investigated. The options were designed to meet successively more demanding regional defense strategies. Figure 8 illustrates the range of options considered. Option 3--a force structure adequate to win two nearly simultaneous MRCs--represents, in broad terms, the approach we have chosen.

Option 1 would require the fewest resources, allowing us to reduce the defense budget and redirect excess funds to other national priorities. But, in providing only enough forces and capabilities to fight one major regional conflict at a time, this option would leave us vulnerable to the possibility that a potential aggressor might choose to take advantage of the situation if virtually all of our forces were already engaged in a conflict elsewhere. At a minimum, choosing this approach would require us to scale back or terminate certain existing mutual defense treaties and long-standing commitments, with a corresponding reduction in our influence in those regions where we chose to abandon a major leadership role.

Option 2 frees additional resources for other national priorities, but is premised on the risky assumption that, if we are challenged in one region, respond to the aggression, and then are challenged shortly afterwards in another region, a sizable block of our remaining forces will have the stamina and capability to defeat the first adversary, move to another region possibly several thousand miles distant, and defeat a second adversary. Choosing this option might provide sufficient military strength in peacetime to maintain America's global leadership, but it would heighten the risk in wartime associated with carrying out a two-MRC strategy.

Force Options for Major Regional Conflicts (Figure 8)
1234
Strategy Win One MRC Win One MRC with Hold in Second Win Two Nearly Simultaneous MRCs Win Two Nearly Simultaneous MRCs Plus Conduct Smaller Operations
Army 8 Active Divisions

6 Reserve Division
Equivalents
10 Active Divisions

6 Reserve Division
Equivalents
10 Active Divisions

15 Reserve Enhanced- Readiness Brigades
12 Active Divisions

8 Reserve Enhanced Equivalents
Navy 8 Carrier
Battle Groups
10 Carrier
Battle Groups
11 Carrier
Battle Groups

1 Reserve Carrier
12 Carrier
Battle Groups
Marine
Corps
5 Active Brigades

1 Reserve Division
5 Active Brigades

1 Reserve Division
5 Active Brigades

1 Reserve Division
5 Active Brigades

1 Reserve Division
Air Force 10 Active Fighter
Wings

6 Reserve Fighter
Wings
13 Active Fighter
Wings

7 Reserve Fighter
Wings
13 Active Fighter
Wings

7 Reserve Fighter
Wings
14 Active Fighter
Wings

10 Reserve Fighter
Wings
Force Enhancements

Option 3 provides sufficiently capable and flexible military forces to position the United States to be a leader and shaper of global affairs for positive change. It allows us to carry forward with confidence our strategy of being able to fight and win two major regional conflicts nearly simultaneously. However, it leaves little other active force structure to provide other overseas presence or to conduct peacekeeping or other low-intensity operations if we had to fight two MRCs at once. If such tasks became necessary, or if either MRC did not evolve as we anticipated, then we might be required to activate significant numbers of reserve component forces. Also key to the Option 3 force's ability to carry out its strategy are a series of critical force enhancements described in Section III, including additional prepositioning of brigade sets of equipment, increased stocks of anti-armor precision-guided munitions, more early-arriving naval air power, and other initiatives.

Option 4 would allow us to fight and win two MRCs nearly simultaneously while continuing to sustain some other overseas presence and perhaps an additional peacekeeping, peace enforcement, or other intervention-type operation. However, to maintain forces of this size would require significant additional resources, thereby eliminating any "peace dividend" the American people are expecting as a result of the end of the Cold War. Yet our analysis showed that, despite this larger investment, Option 4 would provide only a small increment of increased military capability.

Assesment of Alternative Force Mixes

Each of the four strategy and force structure options was tested by "weighting" the various mixes in favor of land, sea, or air contributions. The analysis indicated that, in some circumstances, placing emphasis on certain types of forces or capabilities could help offset the loss of certain other capabilities or forces. For example, additional ground forces might be able to compensate for the loss of some air contributions when dealing with guerrilla or insurgency threats where terrain is thick and constrained, or where the enemy is not technologically advanced. Alternatively, the substitution of air power for some ground forces might be supportable in cases where terrain is open, the enemy is highly dependent on key industries, resources, or utilities, or heavy armored forces are engaged in some other conventional conflict. Even among air components, certain environments or circumstances favor the use of land-based versus sea-based air forces or vice versa.

Nevertheless, while the analysis indicated that a force structure geared toward particular types of forces might enhance overall capabilities under very specific conditions, it would also create serious vulnerabilities under other circumstances. Given the great uncertainty as to where, when, and how future crises might occur, anything but a carefully balanced force will risk ineffectiveness, high casualties, or a failure to meet objectives. The basic conclusion of the analysis was that the balanced force structure we have selected is the best choice to execute our defense strategy and maintain the flexibility needed to deal with the wide range of dangers we may face.



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