Finel and Difo, 10 - *Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the American Security Project AND **policy analyst for counterterrorism at ASP (Bernard and Germain, “Are We Winning? Mid-Year Update New Indications of Progress and Lingering Concerns in the Fight against al Qaeda,” http://www.americansecurityproject.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/AWW-Mid-Year-Update-FINAL.pdf
Since its inception in 2006, the American Security Project has relied heavily on a consistent metric in assessing the overall level of global Islamist violence: the number of Islamist terror attacks world-wide. Using data from the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC),1 we count only those attacks for which there is definitive evidence of an Islamist connection and we have consistently excluded attacks in the conflict zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those that are part of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. In the 2009 report, we noted that Islamist attacks world-wide had leveled off, and we expressed cautious optimism that we were at a turning point regarding the overall strength of the movement. Six months of additional data seem to have borne out these assessments.
Incident rates had remained above 200 per quarter for four consecutive quarters from July 2008 to June 2009 before declining to 162 in the third quarter of 2009 and 181 in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is especially significant given that in every year since 2004, attacks have peaked in the second half of the year.
Obviously, these overall numbers represent an aggregation of numerous positive and negative trends, but we have long argued that the threat to the United States is at least in part a function of the overall level of violence. The larger the pool of extremists, the larger the risk that some will choose to attack American interests or be recruited into groups like al Qaeda with global aspirations.
Much of this decline is due to decreasing violence in Pakistan. Though there have been several high profile attacks in Pakistan, Islamist violence in that country is down 60% from the first six months of 2009. There was also a marked decrease in Islamist violence in Russia in the last months of 2009, though several high-profile attacks in March 2010 call the durability of that change into question.2 Somalia remains the most significant hotspot, with Islamist violence there continuing to increase. The Somali challenge is especially threatening because of the large Somali-American population in the United States that is at-risk for radicalization.3
Withdrawal frees up money for RMA
UPI 08 [UPI Energy, 4/15/ 2008, Defense cash 'won't cover big tickets', lexis]
U.S. military modernization is at risk from the rising costs of operations, maintenance and personnel, says a report from defense contractors. "U.S. Defense Modernization: Readiness Now and for the Future," was published Tuesday by the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents the big U.S. manufacturers of military and civilian aircraft, space systems and information technology. The report says that trends in defense budgeting and the use of Defense Department investment funds to pay current bills "threaten future readiness." The authors say that growing costs of fielding an enlarged and widely deployed force of the kind envisaged by military planners for the U.S.-led war on terror will balloon in the next five years, which will constrain spending on big-ticket modernization programs. "At current rates," says the report, "the operations and maintenance element of the budget will have more than doubled between 1998 and 2013 -- faster than the growth in the defense budget itself." Operations and maintenance is the budget category that pays for the things troops on the ground actually use during military actions -- ammunition, fuel, vehicles, body armor, etc. "In contrast," the report notes, "modernization investment will increase by slightly more than 50 percent (over the same period), well below the growth path of the general budget." The association calls for an increase in annual defense procurement funding to "a steady state range" of $120 billion to $150 billion a year, rising in line with inflation. It says "stability" is needed in procurement and research spending to "foster innovation" and address "the bow wave of modernization requirements." It recommends creating "a national consensus" that the "floor for defense spending" should be 4 percent of gross domestic product. "The next administration will have to address financial resource challenges even if defense spending increases," it warns.
U.S. RMA solves China and North Korea
Deitchman, 2004 (S. J., an independent defense consultant based in Bethesda, Maryland, formerly worked at DOD and the Institute for Defense Analyses, Completing the transformation of U.S. military forces: the updated military excelled in Afghanistan and Iraq, but further progress must be supported now to ensure long-term security." Issues in Science and Technology 20.4, Summer)
Why not wait? Although there have been no arguments about the need to enhance the combat information network and systems, including their intelligence components, there have been extensive arguments about the need for any or all of the new and advanced aircraft, ships, and ground combat vehicles. The primary objections to the new systems are that they cost too much and are unnecessary now that the United States has no enemies with the military sophistication that the Soviets possessed. But these arguments fail to account for certain realities. First, potential opponents may field formidable armed forces to meet those of the United States. For example, North Korea remains an enigmatic but powerful threat to U.S. interests in the Pacific region. Another example in that area might be a China that, although friendly in a guarded sort of way now, could easily become a military opponent over the issue of Taiwan. That situation can blow up at any time from misunderstanding of the positions of any of the three principals--China, Taiwan, or the United States. Without U.S. fielding of forces obviously able to meet the North Koreans or the Chinese militarily, the growing capabilities of those countries could cause Japan to wonder about the military reliability of the United States as an ally. Although Japan's constitution puts a limit on the growth of the country's offensive military capability, the government could remove that limit if it felt threatened, and Japan has the technological capability to develop advanced weapons, possibly including nuclear weapons.North Korea and China are but two examples of sudden military conflict that might arise in the arc of instability that reaches from North Africa through the Middle East, south and central Asia, all the way to the Korean peninsula. A third example of such a potential opponent arising without much strategic warning could be Pakistan if its government were to fall to the country's Islamist fundamentalist factions. This is not the place to discuss the likelihood of such threats arising, but we must take note of the potential developments that could evolve into military threats. As has been highlighted above, several of these possible opponents are actively acquiring some of the advanced Soviet-era and more recent systems that can exploit the vulnerabilities of today's U.S. forces. And we must certainly expect that China, with its fast-growing, technology-based economy, will soon be able to field its own versions of such systems. The problem for the United States, then, is to track and maintain superiority over the growing capability of potential military opponents. Current U.S. military systems are able to match those of such opposition now, but if the United States stands down on advancing its capability, that increasingly precarious balance could change. Worse, it might not realize that the balance had changed until it was already engaged in battle. The argument that if the United States remains alert, it can identify developing threats in time to respond fails to recognize how long it takes to respond. It takes on the order of 10 to 20 years to field major new military systems. It can take a decade just to field a significant improvement in an existing system, such as a new aircraft or ship radar system. Yet the strategic and military need for such systems could arise in a year or two, or even as a total surprise, as the country learned at Pearl Harbor and feared throughout the Cold War.