Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Nathan Freier, Jacquelyn Guy, Curtis Buzzard, Sam Eaton, and Megan Loney

Beyond the Last War: Balancing Ground Forces and Future Challenges Risk in USCENTCOM and USPACOM


In September 2012, CSIS was commissioned by the United States Army to assess the future use of U.S. ground forces and future challenges risk in the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) areas of responsibility (AOR). This report is a culmination of that effort.

USPACOM and USCENTCOM are the geographic focus of U.S. defense strategy. This study’s risk judgments are based on ground force implications flowing from trends in and around these theaters. Both regions exemplify the intersection of core interests and fundamental strategic-level hazards. Both also feature pacing threats and challenges against which strategists and force planners might develop future capabilities.

The study recognizes that no region exists in isolation. The problems of one are often the problems of others. On a practical level, then—though focused on USCENTCOM and USPACOM—this study’s findings and recommendations presumably apply across combatant commands (COCOMs). Thus, the concepts and capabilities addressed by this report may translate to contingency demands worldwide.