Table: Maintaining the Edge

The U.S. military has made big strides since the Gulf War a decade ago, as demonstrated in Afghanistan. But fighting future wars will require smart preparation:

CHALLENGE: Tracking enemy and allied forces

SOLUTION: Manned reconnaissance aircraft such as the JSTARS should be augmented by drones such as the Predator, which can also fire missiles.

CHALLENGE: Improved targeting

SOLUTION: Smart bombs such as the JDAM as well as upgraded communications links that relay real-time coordinates on targets will reduce misses.

CHALLENGE: Need for rapid response

SOLUTION: Rather than upgrading more heavy tanks, focus on light armored vehicles like the LAV-3 and troop-carrying aircraft such as the C-130J.

CHALLENGE: Lack of access to nearby bases

SOLUTION: Cut back on purchases of 2,100 new Air Force fighters. Instead, build more long-range bombers, like the B2, and more carrier-based jets.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.