The 2018 National Defense Strategy spells out how the United States will defend the nation and U.S. and coalition forces abroad. West said there are two components to the strategy, the first of which is the “great power competition,” meaning near-peer military competitors China and Russia. The second component of the NDS is a continuation of counterterrorism efforts around the world.
It’s nearly impossible to do both of these two missions alone. As such, West said “there is an increased focus on the importance of partnerships in this approach that will pay dividends as we refine our approach to irregular warfare in this competitive environment.” Irregular warfare, sometimes known as asymmetric warfare, characterizes counterterrorism efforts.
Partners are shouldering more of the load, Hecker said, allowing U.S. forces to have a “smaller footprint” in world trouble spots. For instance, French forces in Mali and Niger have taken the lead in operations against terror groups in those nations. In turn, the U.S. provides them valuable intelligence and logistics.