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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Defense, Silver Linings, Golden Opportunities

RMA is back? This discussion should have never been backburnered... here is a quote from the article (commentary after):
Missing, so far, from the conversation that most of the American public has been exposed to is this question: What should the United States military be asked to accomplish in the first half of the 21st century, and is the awesome force slogging away in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, in more routine missions, across the planet properly organized, equipped, and trained to accomplish it? . . .

But the transformation that began during the late 1990s, aimed at pushing the military to evolve the Cold War-era divisions and air wings that dominated it at the time into a force more in tune with 21st century missions and (it was presumed at the time) lower appropriation levels, had real intellectual value. With cuts in the wind and ground wars like Iraq and Afghanistan unlikely to recur any time soon, that debate deserves to restart.

For good reason, this debate got backburnered as counterinsurgency, urban combat, and other tasks the military thought it had left behind in Vietnam demanded fresh attention. But some on the intellectual side of the armed forces kept the idea, known as the "Revolution in Military Affairs," alive, and while it remains on life support, the basic outlines exist of a “win-win” plan to maximize capabilities while reducing the bloated Pentagon budget.
It takes years to develop personnel and, therefore, I don't agree with the idea of cutting personnel as I have said repeatedly. Here are some ideas I found odd in the article:

1. The idea that the U.S. Army should "retain[]at most a single heavy armored brigade for contingencies . . ." is ludicrous. This is the equivalent of telling the USMC that operating in the littorals isn't their job anymore.

2. In addition, the USMC force structure review is wrong in calling for "a 13%reduction in ground combat forces, to include an 11% reduction in infantry, a 20% reduction in cannon artillery, and a 20% reduction in armor." If the U.S. Navy is having trouble cutting the budget already, these personnel reductions are going to do nothing - they will merely allow a few expensive U.S. Navy R&D and weapons program to survive.

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