One of the questions facing US forces as they shrink to live within sequestered budgets is how to confront rapidly improving potential adversaries, said Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, on Wednesday. In his keynote address at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Winnefeld said potential enemies have studied the US military and emulated it. “Our adversaries will use networks, stealth, and precision-guided weapons against us,” he said, and “the fog of war will not easily clear . . . because future adversaries will use new tools” such as cyber and space, to asymmetrically “negate our strengths in those domains.” He warned that “we will either have to find ways to preserve our communications, precision navigation and timing, and ISR—because people will try to take them away—or we will have to learn to win without them.” Under these conditions, an important question is, “Do we go head-on with them? Or do we ‘out-asymmetrize’ those who have mastered asymmetry?”
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.