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The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2019


The United States’ military budget is indeed on one of the highest across the globe. While territorial integrity and secure borders are mandatory, it is equally vital for the Department of Defense to re-evaluate its spending regimes in order to cut down on unnecessary costs.

It is against this backdrop that USAF is in the process of reviewing military spending both on the domestic and international level. However, it is prudent to mention that the military budgetary allocation is mainly consumed in the international front to fight external aggressions.

This implies that the US government may even be spending undisclosed amounts towards fighting acts of terror that are beyond its areas of interests. It will be prudent if monetary allocation to the military docket is reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

For instance, there are some US military missions abroad that can be concluded as soon as possible. A case example of the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq was indeed a bold step towards streamlining high military spending.

If such missions can be reduced, then the Department of Defense can equally reduce its military expenses. Both the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces and the key defense officials have agreed on the need to restructure manpower and tools of war in a bid to reduce overall expenditure.

If this initiative will work, then the US government may have some reprieve in heavy budgetary allocation. Nonetheless, the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (MDs) such as nuclear bombs should not be part of the military agenda.

The latter may trigger further external aggression especially among states that consider themselves adversaries to the United States. Needless to say, any form of nuclear engagement by the US forces may only work against this grand plan to cut down expenses.

Indeed, the fiscal constraints that are being experienced currently may get worse if strategic actions are not taken.

Question: Considering future fiscal constraints, what capabilities should the American military, particularly USAF, emphasize to most effectively contribute to the strategy laid out in the January 2012 Strategy Guidance “Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense”? Identify and discuss at least 3 capabilities.

It is definite that the United States military has been spending mammoth sums of money on military spending for the past one decade. The department of defense operates on a large budget that may not be manageable in the course of the 21st century.

Therefore, there is a need for USAF to develop outstanding strategies and capabilities that will be integral in addressing both the current and future fiscal constraints. It is also prudent to mention that these capabilities are aligned within lowering federal spending especially by the military.

The Department of Defense has always reiterated that it will continue to invest in its military intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance in order to remain the most effective and efficient force in the world. Nonetheless, cutting down the military spending should be done in such a way that it does not negatively affect the effectiveness of the force.

International peace and security is vital and cannot be compromised even the budget cuts that have been proposed. This paper identifies and discusses capabilities that the American military can embrace and adopt in order to remain vibrant amidst the fiscal constraints in place.

To begin with, it is worth to mention that the military spending of the United States has been the highest in the word for a long time. One of the impelling factors that have skyrocketed the defense budget is a large force of men and women in uniform spread across various American establishments across the world.

It is highly recommended that the Department of Defense and especially the USAF should devise strategies that can be adopted to reduce the size of the current force. However, the capability and agility of the military should remain outstanding even as the team is made lean.

The Congress has been on the forefront in fighting the proposed reduction in military spending. However, it is possible to spend heavily on the defense budget without establishing an effective team of military personnel in the field.

This implies that the efficiency of the defense force is not necessarily determined by the extreme budgetary allocation. The team should be made small, but equally effective in delivery its mandate in the field.

The notion of scaling down the size of the military comes at a time when there have been several military officers duplicating their roles on matters related to security. As a matter of fact, the Congress should always reconsider the number of military men and women who are sent on specific roles overseas.

There are myriads of cases when large numbers are usually dispatched to trouble spot zones, but they end up duplicating their roles because they are performing similar tasks. For example, the department can consider reducing the number of specialized military personnel such as doctors and engineers.

Such military professionals may not be required in large numbers because their duties are limited to specific emerging cases when the military is a mission. Moreover, it will be a lot easier to manage a small force than an extremely large troop.

A force structure that has been reduced will also reduce the desire to conduct operations in various locations. When the capacity is reduced, the department of defense will often find itself less obliged to engage its forces in every security torn spots across the world.

This capability will consequently lead to reduced monetary spending of the department. Needless to say, USAF will certainly need to devise better defense planning strategies such as those which were applied immediately after the Cold War era.

Nonetheless, this capability towards resizing and restructuring the military should be undertaken with proper caution due to the new and emerging 21st century security threats.

The newly redefined force should be in a vantage position to undertake multiple mission types in the most effective way so that the Department of Defense does not incur additional expenses due to recurrent conflicts.

Therefore, it implies that the current number of bombers, warships (both deck and amphibious), and aircraft carries will have to be maintained in order to match the demanding 21st century security threats.

In any case, tools of war should be improved by adopting the most sophisticated, but state of the art technology that cannot be imitated by adversaries. Furthermore, the restructured team of military personnel will have to undergo additional training on their various areas of specialization.

The United States government should consider withdrawing its military personnel from various locations where they were deployed. This approach should specifically apply to regions where clam and tranquility have been restored.

It is vital to mention that the monetary expenses of the military missions abroad are usually high. Therefore, it is necessary to return the deployed teams and consequently cut down military spending that proves to be totally unnecessary.

Although various tools used in war have proved to be effective against external aggressions, it will be prudent to streamline the use and operations of the current fleet of aircrafts for the military. On the same breath, this fiscal capability will also be jumpstarted by reviewing procurement procedures for new aircrafts.

In other words, both the old and new fleet of aircrafts will have to be standardized in order to be in tandem with the needs of the military. Currently, there are myriads of aircraft excesses in terms of spending that ought to be checked and re-evaluated.

Military aircraft fleets have been noted to demand high budgetary allocation than other areas of military operations. Therefore, only the most vital fleets should be allowed to operate during military operations.

Better still; the old should be replaced with new fleets that are cost effective in terms of maintenance and fuel consumption. Besides, this strategy should make sure that a few aircrafts can be used to perform multiple operations instead of deploying a large number that is extremely unmanageable in terms of cost implications.

Finally, USAF must have the mandate to safeguard new capabilities and investments in order to reduce the likelihood of incurring additional expenses that have not been pre-planned. The disruptive posterior threats will have to be clearly understood and well articulated by the small, lean and efficient force.

In order to attain this level of capability, the team will have to use past records and experiences in building the most robust military structure. In addition, lessons from some of the latest aggressions can also be used as viable capabilities in strengthening the performance and overall agility of the newly restructured military force.

From the aforementioned perspective, it means that there are quite a number of capabilities that will have to be protected or safeguarded in order to achieve the overall goal. For instance, there are capabilities that will demand increased funding because they are key in the process of minimizing financial constraints.

On the other hand, there are capabilities that will surely demand to be protected at all times. Hence, the US Department of Defense will have to draw clear guidelines between high and low priority areas in defense budget.

When this distinction is made, USAF will be in a position to evaluate areas that demand additional spending and higher budgetary allocations. It will also assist in providing the needed information on the type of capabilities that should be given additional protection.

A case example is the use of nuclear weapons in fighting external aggressions. It is vital to mention that the US government has been keen in monitoring states that are manufacturing and possibly intending to use nuclear bombs. On the other hand, the US has been proposing the desire to be the first country to use nuclear weapons.

Such an attempt will clearly trigger nations that have been manufacturing WMDs to use them on the ground. As a result, a ripple effect will be created on the US side since the latter may be compelled to use nuclear weapons to defend its interests both domestically and abroad.

Such a scenario will occasion more budgetary allocation for the military and eventually not auger well with the broad goal of reducing monetary expenses.

Hence, it is highly recommendable for the US government to safeguard and even restrict its nuclear weapons arsenals. This will deter any temptation to accrue additional spending on the military.

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"The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century." IvyPanda, 18 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-usaf-and-fiscal-priorities-in-the-21st-century/.

1. IvyPanda. "The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-usaf-and-fiscal-priorities-in-the-21st-century/.


IvyPanda. "The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-usaf-and-fiscal-priorities-in-the-21st-century/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-usaf-and-fiscal-priorities-in-the-21st-century/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The USAF and Fiscal Priorities in the 21st Century'. 18 June.

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