Magazine April 16, 2018, Issue

A Balanced Defense

An F-35B stealth fighter (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
The Pentagon needs both a bigger force and advanced technology

When President Trump signed the 2018 omnibus spending bill, he committed the nation to a two-year, $1.416 trillion defense-spending plan, but his signature did not answer the larger question that has been hanging over the defense debate: Should the nation invest in increased lethal capabilities — that is, more technical solutions such as stealth aircraft and more precise intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance systems — or expand capacity, otherwise known as growing the force? The new national-security strategy issued by the White House in December and the national-defense strategy released by the Pentagon in January both endorse building capacity — increasing the number of

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