- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2000

In the coming months, we will witness an extraordinary discussion concerning the future of our national security. Our national leadership must determine how we best can protect the interests of our country during a period of great international turbulence and uncertainty in this new century. This debate will play out in national elections this fall, our Defense Posture Hearings before Congress next year and in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for 2001.
These are momentous events, and all Americans have a very real stake in their outcomes. In the months and years ahead, the armed forces will be required to provide the nation with the ability to respond quickly and accomplish objectives in times of peace, crisis and, possibly, war, as a joint team. This is no small order. It requires a profound understanding of the threats we will face and the capabilities we will need to meet those threats head-on.
At the end of the Cold War, our leaders hoped to forge a new world order based on a broadly democratic consensus and a liberal trade and economic system. The challenges we face in this new century are numerous and inherently complex. Rampant nationalism; ethnic, religious and cultural violence; regional despotism fueled by power vacuums; organized criminal elements; and the potential for biological and chemical terrorism are all real threats that undermine the stability of our world.
The future of national security will depend on our ability to work together as a joint force that is rapidly deployable and ready for any contingency. In future wars and crises, single-dimensional responses will be the exception rather than the rule. It is tempting to view our future in terms of conventional conflict. Each of the services has responsibility for deploying specific forces in times of crisis or war the Army and the Marine Corps provide the nation's supply of ground combat forces. Yet, our recent experiences in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti and Kosovo are testament to the need for the Marine Corps and the Army to become more versatile and complementary in their capabilities.
Our challenge is to prepare for the challenges of the next decade and beyond: humanitarian crises, non-combatant evacuations and conflicts over natural resources. Traditional military forces and methods rarely resolve these nontraditional, postmodern crises, yet we cannot neglect our fundamental requirement to fight and win a major theater war.
Today, we are strengthening the partnership between the Army and the Marine Corps to form a crisis response force a Marine-Army team that will operate effectively with other joint and multinational forces in any environment. Our priority will remain deterrence and then fighting and winning wars should deterrence fail. Our roles and missions will not fundamentally change. However, our methods and operational focus are changing. There are many areas where our common goals can bring about savings to our nation. The Army will be making a substantial investment in the procurement of combat vehicles in the coming years in an effort to uncover cutting-edge technology and capability. This leap in technology and the lessons learned during development and acquisition phases offers substantial benefits for both the Army and the Marine Corps. In fact, the Army will devote substantial resources to research and development where common technologies will have significant joint-service applications; this type of interoperable approach will benefit the nation.
The senior leadership of the Army and Marine Corps met in Carlisle, Pa., to discuss ways of clarifying common goals and missions. Both of our services have respective strengths that must not be compromised under the guise of bureaucratic efficiency. The Marines' ability to deploy rapidly in order to establish a strong footing on foreign shores and the Army's ability to mass forces rapidly and conduct sustained land campaigns are capabilities that must be preserved, especially in the midst of the increased uncertainty of globalization.
Last month's meeting produced significant, tangible results that will help realize the strengthened partnership we feel is essential for national security in the 21st century. We agree on a wide range of policies and actions:
To study in depth the true costs of the strategy of engagement and to explain the tremendous value of this strategy to the nation as a whole.
To view the upcoming QDR as representing an opportunity for all services to come together, collectively represent a case for increased defense spending. The Army and Marine Corps staffs will meet in the next three to six months to identify issues and common objectives.
To review in detail certain aspects of joint doctrine in order to make the nation's ground forces more effective in meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.
To ensure that the nation's strategic lift remains high on the priority list for all services. Strategic lift provides our forces the agility so vital to meeting peacetime national security challenges now and in the future.
Jointly addressing these issues will help us hone the complementary capabilities we possess and further the efficiency and effectiveness with which we support America's role as a global leader. Both of our services aim to retain the capability to deploy forces to crisis zones early so that Marines and soldiers can dominate their environment, prevent further escalation and set the conditions for an enduring peace. We are committed to a course that will capitalize on our respective strengths to produce an Army and Marine Corps team that is more responsive and dominant than ever before.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki is the U.S. Army chief of staff and Gen. James L. Jones is the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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