USAF Must Embrace Role in Grand Strategy

Talking about the future of US grand strategy in relation to the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, Adam Grissom—a RAND Corp. senior political scientist—said the future holds good news and bad news. USAF has unique capabilities—projecting power and influence “in more than one place at one time”—central to any discussion about national strategy, he said Thursday at AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles. Grissom asserted that the national expenditure balance among domestic, foreign policy, and defense obligations that has existed over 50 years of US strategy from Truman to today is no longer viable. “We can’t have our cake and eat it too,” he said, noting that the nation is ill prepared to have a debate across domestic and foreign policy considerations. According to Grissom, the so-called “grand bargain” for deficit reduction now under discussion between the Obama Administration and Congress is not an ideal framework for making the hard choices. He stated that we must talk about balancing security commitments in Europe and Asia at the same time we discuss social and entitlement spending. Grissom emphasized that USAF’s combat and mobility forces, so crucial to projecting presence in a crisis, are especially salient in any strategy discussion about the Asia-Pacific region.