Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, speaking at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy, discussed the evolution of the threat landscape, in which adversaries use methods like cyber warfare and improvised explosive devices to counter the US comparative advantage in conventional arms “Our dominance in conventional warfare has led adversaries to seek new avenues to challenge us,” Lynn said.
With the changing nature of warfare, from a Cold War model in which two land based armies would face off on the plains of Western Europe to asymmetric warfare, enemies are looking to adapt their tactics to combat the US and the US must adapt as well. This is already the case with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Lynn proposes that the US needs to develop capabilities to meet the threat in this new environment while maintaining the ability to effectively conduct conventional war. In terms of cyber security, Lynn said “If we don’t maintain our ability to defend our networks in the face of an attack, the consequences for our military, and indeed for our whole national security, could be dire.”