“I think there is a fundamental change in the reality in how the military might be used, which is in much smaller units, in much smaller areas [and] for very temporary periods of time,” he says. “All of that says to me it is perfectly safe and sustainable to bring down the size … quite sharply in the process of doing a build-down.”

“The biggest challenge [Hagel] will face at the Defense Department isn’t Iraq, Israel or Afghanistan … it is managing a defense drawdown,” he says.

Despite what’s been said about the amount the U.S. spends on defense, Adams says he believes we have “never been safer than we are today.”

“We don’t face an existential threat [and] we don’t face a major power that can extend its power to the United States,” he says. “In many respects, in many regions … this has become a safer — not a more dangerous — world.”