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Global Access is the Key: When a country faces economic austerity and global security challenges, it has to protect its vital interests—and for the United States, these interests lie in assuring access to the lanes of the world economy, said Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments President Andrew Krepinevich. These lanes range from the sea to the air and space to the "undersea"—the oil, gas, and telecommunications networks, said Krepinevich in a Dec. 18 talk in Arlington, Va., that AFA's Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies hosted. This makes access to three regions critical to the global economy—Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Western Pacific—key to securing US interests, he said. As military personnel costs rise, and defense budget cuts add up, the United States will have to do some hard thinking about how to support a future strategy. Ideas to study are the participation of allies in US operations, the need for ground forces to scale back in size, and taking, to the extent possible, "indirect" approaches to security challenges in the developing world, such as in parts of Africa, he said. In the coming months, CSBA will be exploring these topics, noted Krepinevich.