Blueprint for a 21st Century Military

Nearly five years after the initial invasion of Iraq, our outstanding military is battle-tested, but stretched thin and war-weary. Bush and Cheney threw our troops into the fire. Now from that fire we must forge something stronger and more adaptable to the new and very real dangers we face.

That process must begin with getting all of our troops out of Iraq.

But that is just the first step. We need a military that can deter, fight, and win the wars of the 21st century. We need a military that can win not only the war, but also the peace.

We need to adjust our promotion and training requirements, as well as our budget priorities, to reflect the war-fighting challenges that face our military in this new century.

I have proposed a plan that would focus our selection and promotion policies to incentivize learning the skill sets needed for counter-insurgency, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and the training of foreign militaries. These skills are needed to win the peace, and we must augment them without diluting the combat skills of our troops.

We should create permanent Civil Affairs positions--troops who bridge the gap
between soldiers and civilians--in appropriate units, and we should expand Civil
Affairs training for all soldiers and Marines likely to interact with foreign
nationals.

We need to integrate post-conflict planning into everything our military does.

I also think that we need to get civilians more involved. Our military has shouldered the burden alone in Iraq--it is unfair and wrong. We must integrate civilians better into our military operations, so that there is seamless coordination among military, diplomatic and political actions.

We must also reorder our budget priorities to reflect the challenges we will face. We need to spend less on planes, and more on people. We need to spend less on Cold War-era weapons systems, and more on state-of-the-art troops. Furthermore, we need to stop building new, unnecessary nuclear weapons.

I have a plan to eliminate $57 billion in wasteful Pentagon spending. As President,
I will stand up two additional Army divisions and one additional Marine Corps
division -a commitment I believe we must make to face the true threats of the
21st century.

Hard choices lie ahead, but this is the right and responsible road to travel for our nation's safety and security. We must get all of our troops out of Iraq, and we must give them the tools they need to fight and win the wars of this new century.