Transforming Defense
National Security in the 21st Century
Report of the National Defense Panel - December 1997

Transforming Defense
National Security in the 21 st Century Report of the National Defense Panel December 1997



Philip A. Odeen Chairman

The Honorable
Richard L. Armitage

General, USMC (Ret.)
Richard D. Hearney

Admiral, USN (Ret.)
David E. Jeremiah

The Honorable
Robert M. Kimmitt

Andrew F. Krepinevich

General, USAF (Ret.)
James P. McCarthy

Janne E. Nolan

General, USA (Ret.)
Robert W. RisCassi
Honorable William S. Cohen
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301- 1000

Dear Mr. Secretary: We are pleased to provide the report of the National Defense Panel, "Transforming Defense— National Security in the 21 st Century." This report is in accordance with Section 924 of the Military Force Structure Act of 1996.

Our report focuses on the long- term issues facing U. S. defense and national security. It identifies the changes that will be needed to ensure U. S. leadership and the security and prosperity of the American people in the twenty- first century. We are convinced that the challenges of the twenty- first century will be quantitatively and qualitatively different from those of the Cold War and require fundamental change to our national security institutions, military strategy, and defense posture by 2020.

To meet those challenges, we believe the United States must undertake a broad transformation of its military and national security structures, operational concepts and equipment, and the Defense Department's key business processes. We recognize that much is already being done in this regard and that you are committed to significant change. However, based on our deliberations, it is our view that the pace of this change must be accelerated.

The transformation we envision goes beyond operational concepts, force structures, and equipment. It is critical that it also include procurement reform and changes to the support structure, including base closures, as you pointed out forcefully in your Defense Reform Initiative.

Finally, bringing together all the elements of our national power will demand a highly integrated and responsive national security community that actively plans for the future— one that molds the international environment rather than merely responds to it. Defense needs to continue building on the Goldwater– Nichols reforms and extend that sense of jointness beyond the Department to the rest of the national security establishment and to our friends and allies abroad.

The Panel has drawn on the creative thinking of many elements of the military community, other government agencies, experts on defense and national security, as well as business leaders. In particular, I want to thank you for the cooperation we received from you, other senior officials, civilian and military, and others in the Department. We also drew on the valuable insights provided by studies such as that of the President's Commission on Roles and Missions and the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection. Our report builds on the findings of the Quadrennial Defense Review, but it looks further into the future and places much more emphasis on the transformation strategy that we consider essential to safeguard our security twenty years from now.

We have not attempted to provide all the answers. Rather, our intention is to stimulate a wider debate on our defense priorities and the need for a transformation to meet the challenges of 2020. Such a debate will be critical in building the necessary support of the Congress and American people for the extensive changes that must be made. We hope that our report will help to build a strong consensus for transforming the national security structure to meet the challenges of the next century. If we achieve that, we will have fulfilled our mission and our commitment to you, the Congress, and the American people.


Philip A. Odeen


Professional Staff

Honorable Christopher Jehn, Executive Director

Michael Munson, Deputy Executive Director
James R. McDonough, Editor- in- Chief

Patti Benner Antsen
Michael Bruhn, LTC, USA
Doug Crowder, Capt, USN
David A. Deptula, Col, USAF
Brian K. Dickson
M. Bruce Elliott, COL, USA
Jennifer A. George
John P. Good, Maj, USAF
Carol A. Haave
Timothy P. Hagan, LCdr, USN
Hal Hagemeier, Col, USAF
John J. Holly, Col, USMC
W. R. Jones, Col, USMC
Gerald D. Larson
Joseph G. Lynch
Edward Mahen, Col, USAF (ret)
Judyt Mandel
Rick "Slug" McGivern, Maj, USAF
Chris Seiple, Capt, USMC
Timothy L. Thorson, LtCol, USMC
William J. Troy, LTC, USA
Allen Youngman, COL, ARNG
Sieg Hildebrandt, COL, USA

Administrative Staff

Niels Andersen, Maj, USAF, Director of Administration
Angela Rogers, Deputy Director of Administration
James E. Harris, GySgt, USMC, Office Manager
Jennifer S. Cheathem, SGT, USA Diane Long
Gloria G. De Santis Leticia T. Spaght
Jonathan E. Jones, MSgt, USAF Faith Young
Donald Kinder, YN1, USN


Transforming Defense
National Security in the 21st Century
Report of the National Defense Panel - December 1997