America's Defense: A New Way ForwardPrintable Version
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Tauscher, who serves as chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, noted that two major ground wars have stretched American armed forces to the limit, and have undermined the American military's ability to meet future threats. She offered a set of four policy themes that the Obama Administration should take up in cooperation with the next Congress. (1) Consistent with President-Elect Obama's calls for increases in the size of the Army and Marines, Tauscher argues that increasing the size of the force would take the pressure off the national guard and reserve and have other benefits such as raising morale and allow for better redeployment ratios. (2) Achieving better dwell time to deployment ratios would ensure that troops have sufficient time to recuperate and train. (3) The creation of specialized units with post conflict and peace building skills, skills to provide provincial reconstruction assistance civilian affairs teams would allow for faster turnover to civilian agencies such as the State Department. (4) Tauscher calls for performing a "strategic readjustment" which would mean redeploying troops away from Iraq and convincing allies to provide additional troops in Afghanistan. Tauscher says that she is confident that "the world is ready to accept new responsibilities in Afghanistan if asked" in order to prevent the Afghanistan from falling again under control of the Taliban or al Qaeda.
In response to questions regarding an expected re-emphasis of smart, post Cold War power at an Obama Administration's State Department, Tauscher said that in this dangerous and turbulent world, we need to have all U.S. levers of power at full strength. She expects to see a recalibration of soft power so that when necessary we use our well-resourced smart power first, and then only use the military when we absolutely must. Tauscher called for the policy makers to make tough decisions of what nuclear deterrence means in the 21st century, the driving down of the numbers of nuclear weapons and the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
When asked about the deployment of a controversial missile interceptor base in Poland, Tauscher responded that we need to "NATO-ize" a missile defense system to defeat and hold at risk the very real threat of short and medium missiles from Iran. She noted that the ground-based system advocated by the Bush administration needs more testing as it has not yet achieved the minimum of credible deterrence. She called for a re-orientation of missile defense that is targeted toward current threats, investment in the Army's THAAD and the Navy's Aegis systems - and that all of these efforts should play out within an overarching cooperative US-NATO framework.