Much like the procurement holiday that the Defense Department embarked upon in the 1990s in the euphoria of the initial post-Cold War period, Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton contends that the US also took “a holiday from serious thought on deterrence” during that period. “I think we kind of skipped a generation there,” Chilton said during a Capitol Hill speech Tuesday (see above). But it’s time to “re-stimulate thoughts on deterrence,” he said, noting that “deterrence is still as important today as it was in the 1980s, ’70s, ’60s, and ’50s.” Chilton said he encourages war colleges to look at how deterrence is practiced and mull difficult questions such as if there is still a role for nuclear weapons in the future. “I am not so sure the [deterrence] theory has changed, but perhaps the practice has changed,” he said, adding, “Perhaps the practice needs to change.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.