This book is about the future condition of America's military might. The message is sobering, unsettling, and, for the moment, unheeded. Despite the best intentions of government, U.S. fighting strength is being steadily and perceptibly eroded. Unless the nation takes powerful remedial action, or is very lucky, before the end of this century, this erosion in military power will lead to profound decline, decay, or worse. 'Worse' means that the debilitating form of 'in irons' will become inevitable. As will be shown, the reasons for this accelerating and downward defense spiral are now predominantly structural, domestic, and embedded in the way the United States Government does and will do business in a world that possesses but a single superpower. The larger questions of whether a dramatic cut in U.S. military capabilities and in the ability to project force on a timely and effective operational basis will matter and will harm U.S. national security are, currently, less precisely answerable. However; any message of warning is sure to be muffled and muzzled by measures of disinterest and complacency naturally arising from the public's attention on almost exclusively non-defense issues and from the immediate and overwhelming superiority of today's U.S. military forces that seemingly contradicts any forecasts of despair.
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