Defense Spending

Military To Cut 12 Combat Brigades


Credit: Department of Defense/wikimedia

The U.S. Army will cut the number of combat brigades from 45 to 33 by 2017. The restructuring comes as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act, which reduces defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years. 

From the Associated Press:

Army leaders said Tuesday that they will slash the number of active duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, as the service moves forward with a longtime plan to cut the size of the service by 80,000. And they warned that more cuts — of as many as 100,000 more active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers — could be coming if Congress allows billions of dollars in automatic budget cuts to continue next year.

Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said one additional brigade will likely be cut, but no final decisions have been made."I know in the local communities it will have its impact," Odierno told reporters Tuesday. "But we've done our best to reach out to them so they understand what the impacts are. We've tried to make it as small an impact as possible for as many communities as we could."Members of Congress, meanwhile, expressed concerns about the prospects for greater cuts down the road.Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said his panel "will carefully examine the implications of this initial restructuring, but we all must understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg, much deeper cuts are still to come."

Rep. McKeon (R-Calif.) is no stranger to making doomsday predictions when it comes to proposed cuts to the military. Referring to sequestration McKeon said, "For two years now, members of the Armed Services Committee have warned that sequestration would wound our national security and our economy."The pain from the first two rounds of President Obama's defense cuts are now being felt. Furloughs are just the beginning. Sequester's pain will intensify and strengthen. It will get far worse before it gets better."

Such comments come close to being comical when you consider what is actually being proposed in terms of defense cuts. The proposed cuts in spending if sequestration were to be implemented in its entirety are modest to say the least. Defense spending has doubled over the last decade. If all the cuts proposed under sequestration take place the military will be back to the level of spending it enjoyed in 2006. This kind of retrenchment represents no realistic threat to national security.The Cato Institute has estimated that defense spending could be halved with no deleterious effect on national security. Defense spending remains far too high. However, the fact that defense hawks have been unsuccessful in shielding military spending from basic fiscal sanity is sign of modest progress.

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  1. As I keep saying, before cutting the military they need to cut the US military commitments around the world. Once you cut commitments then its much easier to cut unneeded parts of the military. But as long as the US keeps on having commitments to defend countries all over the world then any cut in the military will be temporary. We need to stop issuing blank checks or we will still get stuck with the bill.

    As to cutting Brigades, maybe they should cut some Generals along with their headquarters, that would save money and probably increase military effectiveness. How about Africa Command, do we really need a headquarters in Germany to support military operations in Africa?

    1. Exactly. There is a reason that military spending increased throughout the 2000s; the missions that politicians tasked the military with were expensive!

      The only way to maintain an effective, inexpensive military is to reduce the commitments we have overtaken throughout the years. Instead, it appears that Pres Obama wants to keep a military around to do half-assed interventions, as well as a supposed increased profile in the Pacific. Without resources to do those things, the grand strategy involved will end poorly.

      1. American politicians have traveled the world for more then 60 years handing out free commitments to defend others. Just like handing out commitments in case of flooding, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, its cheap and easy, that is until the bill comes due.

        1. Very true.

  2. .The Cato Institute has estimated that defense spending could be halved with no deleterious effect on national security.

    And because CATO says it, it must be true. Yes, if war with China, Russia or North Korea is totally unthinkable, then we don’t need a military. Honestly, if you read the CATO piece, why are they only asking for half. They say up front invasion is unthinkable and every other country can defend itself. Given CATO’s assessment of the world, we really don’t need a military at all. Either CATO is just being generous or they don’t believe the things they say.

    1. Burned that straw man to the ground, John.

      1. He’s on a roll with them today.

        It’s like being in the wake of Sherman. Just a bloody mess of straw as far as the eye can see.

  3. Why do we have a standing army at all besides a skeleton crew of West Point morons? The Navy and Marines can easily keep anyone from attacking us. Oh, I forgot, because we’re a fucking empire. The new, genius kind of empire which spends its citizens’ money on repressing the savages instead of stealing the savages’ money while repressing them.

    Hey, I have an idea! Let’s leave other countries alone!

    1. You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

      1. And the war that’s interested in me or you can pathetically easily be kept at bay by a fraction of our military. So…who cares?

        1. Maybe we should go pure nuke. Big nukes, tactical nukes, mininukes, X-ray lasers. All nukes. And just use them whenever threatened.

          1. I’ve never understood this idea that you have to maintain a massive standing army to defend against existential-level threats in the age of nukes.

            If it’s a minor threat, you can deal with it using a small cadre of elite special forces. If it’s an existential threat, let loose the nukes of war. The mere threat alone (MAD) ought to be enough to keep any would-be contender at bay.

            The only reason for a large standing army (and navy, and air force, etc.) is foreign adventurism and imperialism.

            1. Don’t forget cronyism and corporate welfare.

            2. I’ve never understood this idea that you have to maintain a massive standing army to defend against existential-level threats in the age of nukes.

              There are critical national policy goals/threats short of existential-level threats. The potential unfolding of events in the Middle East after Iraq invaded Kuwait being the most obvious recent example.

              1. You mean critical goals of the politicians and their crony friends?

            3. Dependence on nukes is how Truman came within a hair of an outright loss in Korea 1950. He didn’t have the balls to use them when the time came, and he had cut the Army down to a shell.

              1. Korea is a prime example of foreign adventurism, so you’re begging the question with regard to the argument I made.

        2. Or maybe all drones and robot troops? With nukes?

        3. The same was true in WWII. Was forcing Japan’s surrender and not accepting German hegemony in Europe the wrong thing to do for US national interests?

          1. We’re not in any situation even remotely like WWII. What does it have to do with anything?

            1. We’re not in any situation even remotely like WWII because we have a large standing military in peace time, rather than waiting to go to full mobilization and years long weapon development/construction lead times when something bad happens.

              1. So we should have a massively bloated military just in case a world war might break out?

                I find it hard to take arguments for this seriously when made by an active member of the military that I want to cut. No offense, but you have your own agenda here.

                1. Now, we have a massively bloated military because Congress and featherbedding generals. We have a large military because the post-WWII experience taught us that shit happens in the world that we might want to intervene in and with modern (1940s!) technology you can’t build that shit to an effective size and technology level without spotting the other guy a couple of years.

                  I’d keep the debate up, but I have to go do some admin stuff to facilitate my move to a new death star.

                2. No offense, but you have your own agenda here.

                  And so do you. That’s kind of a silly tack to take.

                  His points are valid and dismissing them out of hand is lazy. I’m all for responsible cutting of the bloated military, but a military is actually one of the few things are government is supposed to be doing, and technological advances have changed the dynamics of fielding and mobilizing an effective fighting force, like it or not.

                  If the US government wasn’t doing 1000 other fucking things it shouldn’t be then keeping a well prepared military wouldn’t be the huge debacle that it is at present.

              2. I think we’re in a bad place, because we willingly took on the world cop role, rather than telling Europe to pull its weight. Likely because we think they’re prone to nasty wars for some reason.

                While I’m all for much less intervention, I’m not sure it’s going to be so easy to do that, at least not without some destabilizing consequences. Part of me says “not our problem,” but part of me think we’re the world’s crack cocaine.

            2. Because we may potentially be in such a situation in the future, and competent modern standing armies are a good deal more complex than grabbing the boys down at the fishing hole and equipping them with rifles?

              Converting most of our industrial sector into a war machine at the drop of a hat a la WWII is neither feasible at the level of technology that the military has developed, nor desireable (the alternative being a draft, which is not my idea of a freedom-enhancing policy).

              1. Exactly. Standing armies are a must have.

              2. So we blow tremendous amounts of money and give politicians a tool with which to fuck with other countries at the drop of a hat, and you think this is worth it because we might possibly maybe who knows have to deal with something unknown in the future?

                Note how you’ve already failed by fighting the last war, and managed to enable empire, interventionism, and blowback at the same time? You might want to rethink your priorities.

                1. Major conflict between nations is not “unknown”, it is virtually inevitable.

                  Besides, no one here has argued that the current level of funding for the Army is appropriate (I can see many places where it could be reduced substantially), merely that it’s legitimate to have one. We spend a lot on the USAF and the Navy, too, you know.

                2. 1) We can privatize it.

                  2) This is a legitimate function of government that is currently overfunded. It should be cut, not abolished.

                  3) Blowback…don’t make me laugh.

              3. Who is the “we” of which you write?

                Most of us do not want any part of Empire and its concomitant mass murder, dimunition of liberty and spectacular misallocations of capital and

                1. Has anyone ever invaded a country with hundreds of millions of privately owned arms and a population that is largely proficient with them?

                  1. Sure, Czechoslovakia. Had a world-renowned arms industry and everything.

                    1. Er, missed the *hundreds* of millions. Nevertheless, the sample size with that qualification is so small as to be fairly useless; I’m guessing that no country which invented hot dogs has ever been invaded, either.

                    2. I don’t see what hot dogs have to do with anything. I do see how having a massive country with a large well armed population is a deterrent to invasion thius negating the need for an over expensive military. That is if you believe the military’s primary goal should be defense.

                    3. My point is that the only country that could concievably meet your criterion is the US — a country with around 200 years of existence, which in point of fact was invaded early in its history and which has certainly been attacked conventionally in the recent past.

                      A sample size of one (same sample size, and same country as the country which invented the hot dog) which did not, in fact, avoid invasion or attacks from belligerents can hardly be considered grounds for a proven case.

                    4. If you are a hostile nation, would you invade a geographically large country with a large well armed population?

                    5. No, but I don’t run a nation hostile to the US. History and experience have shown us that many countries seem to have no compunction attacking our embassies, brutally murdering our citizens, invading our sovereign territory, funding and organizing terrorist attacks against us, attacking our mercantile trade, and otherwise damaging American interests (they particularly seem to have a problem with understanding “life and liberty”). Such would seem improbable to me given the disparity of power between those actors and the US, but there you go.

                2. We: citizens of the USA.
                  Plus Canada….because…we’re basically America Jr.

                  1. Cyto, if you are so hell bent on military adventurism go join your own fucking army.

  4. A lot of this will involve eliminating a brigade, but then increasing the size of others by a battalion.

    You end up with fewer but heavier brigades.

    1. Ironically, this means Fort Polk is actually going to have more soldiers stationed there.

      This is how I know the Army isn’t serious about suicide prevention.

    2. fewer O-6s at least!

      1. That’s a plus.

  5. My own little part of the military, the Seabees, is being cut by over 50%.

      1. So is Al from Home Improvement.

        All the fictional Seabees need a group hug.

  6. We don’t need an army. The Navy and Air Force are more than sufficient to defend/attack. Get rid of the Pentagon, foreign bases, and the useless Federal academies as well. Use that money to hand out a few ROTC scholarships and to build a few new Navy/USCG ships.

    1. The Navy and Air Force are more than sufficient to defend/attack.

      Suppose a landlocked country sponsors terrorist attacks against our country. Suppose further that said landlocked country refuses to hand over the terrorists who masterminded this attack, and promises more to come. What then?

      This scenario being what the US was faced with in Afghanistan, perhaps it is premature to call for dissolving our Army.

      1. Wasn’t it the Navy who got Bin Laden?

      2. I also learned today that the invasion of France (and the Red Army) were unnecessary to the defeat of Germany. A few more years of naval blockade and fire bombing cities apparently would have done it. Why lose 100,000 US casualties when a few million dead German civilians, several more years, and hundreds of billions of more spending would have eventually accomplished the same end, maybe?

        I guess Japan is the counter example. I do agree that if we’re willing to start nuking people we really don’t need any Army.

      3. The Marines have aircraft, you know. They can hit anywhere in the world if they need to.

        1. The Marines have aircraft, you know. They can hit anywhere in the world if they need to.

          Are you trolling, bro? The range of F-18’s without tanker support (which you can’t provide inside hostile airspace) is pretty tiny.

        2. You can’t win a war with just airpower. Ground troops are irreplaceable.

          It’s the navy that should really get cut down. Sell some of those ships we don’t need.

          1. we

            Who the fuck is this “we” you speak of? Anyway, aren’t you Canadian?

          2. Eh, the Navy’s essential for low level stuff, maintaining the ability to ship land forces (and supply bombs to overseas airbases), and having world wide blockade capability to keep countries from being too assholish.

          3. The constitution insists that only a permanent Navy can be funded. No mention of a “standing ARMY” at all.

            1. That’s why we authorize the army every two years, need it or not!

      4. And look how successful our efforts were in Afghanistan. We have temporarily replaced the Taliban with a bunch of crooks who will probably run off to Dubai along with their stolen money as soon as we leave. All for the cost of thousands dead and a trillion plus dollars in debt

        Also Afghanistan never sponsored any attacks against the USA, the biggest sponsor of attacks is Saudi Arabia which supplied the money and personnel for 9/11 and many other attacks. But Saudi Arabia is off limits and so we attack Afghanistan

        1. The initial invasion of Afghanistan was mostly successful; sticking around was not.

          1. Exactly. Also, saying Afghanistan didn’t ‘sponsor’ 9/11 is disingenious at best and lying at worst.

            1. Saudi Arabia had far more to do with 9/11 then Afghanistan.

              1. True. Letting them off the hook was a huge mistake, but we nonetheless had a legitimate casus belli against Afghanistan’s government.

          2. That is because the initial invasion was mostly not an American invasion, we supported the Northern Alliance with money, material and a small number of troops. We did not use brigades of American troops and so why do we need to keep brigades so that we can invade another Afghanistan.

            And if we need to send brigades then we are automatically involved in a occupation which means we will be “sticking around.”

            1. There’s a good case to be made that, had we had more of a presence in Afghanistan instead of relying on Northern Alliance troops, we would have been more successful at apprehending Osama. At any rate, we are never guaranteed a large native oppositional force in all such cases.

              As far as brigades = occupation goes, 1) not all occupations are illegitimate, and 2) I refer you to Gulf War I.

              1. I have never cared whether a dictator in Kuwait controlled Kuwait or a dictator in Iraq controlled Kuwait. Both would need to sell oil.

            2. Wrong again. To the extent America relied on the NA was a disaster. Should’ve sent in 100,000 Rangers + nuked Tora Bora.

    2. Define “sufficient.” And “attack” is rarely a national policy goal. Destroy/replace/coerce a government is the more usual, and naval and air forces have proved doubtfully effective at the latter bit, wholly ineffective at the first two.

  7. Just as long as they don’t cut funding for the bands.

  8. While, I think the cries to drastically reduce the military budget are somewhat foolhardy, it’s hard to believe the sequester cuts will dramatically effect our capabilities. The cuts are less than 10% and the military is easily capable of shrinking that much with no noticeable effects.

    1. They could save 10% if they fixed even some of the procurement boondoggles and cut a few headquarters but they have powerful interests supporting them while cutting troops is easy. Nobody is sitting at the top of the table representing Major Jones and Sgt Smith in the brigades

      1. we’ll probably see what we did in the late 90s. A lot of the higher enlisted will be forced out, so that experience will go with them. Then if we get into another major conflict, we will have fewer higher enlisted with experience and a lot of junior enlisted with virtually no experience. It’ll be grand.

      2. Procurement boondoggles have existed since the military began. It’s not realistic to talk about reducing those. They just need to take money away from the budget and let the military sort it out.

        1. The decision makers in the Army are too far up the asses of the politicians and defense contractors to make the right choices.

          Buying new equipment in the future – particularly off-the-shelf stuff is far easier and cheaper than trying to build new brigades.

          1. You’re right. The warfighter has requirement X. Politicians have requirement Y. Industry has requirement Z.

            Pick 2.
            It often ends up with X/2+Y+Z= new weapon system

        2. I think they are getting worse. Usually before they failed in producing a new weapon. These days they can’t seem to come up with a good idea for a weapon. For example the US Army spent billions on the Future Combat System which was to replace a large part of its armored vehicles and they could not even decide on how much it should weigh, going from as low as 16 tons to fit in a C-130 and up to 60 tons to have protection equal or better then a Abrams tank.

          They spent billions on trying to come up with a vehicle family that would do both when its physically impossible.

          1. It’s a direct result of too much money available to them. Something about a real lack of funds does a lot to focus the mind and efforts.

            1. It has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with too many conflicting requirements and too much money saving via technology. For vehicles, weight roughly equals cost. And the DoD uses cutting edge technology to try and save weight but the technology doesn’t always work.

              The DoD also tries for the 100% solution when the 90% solution would work great.

  9. So then these were actual cuts, not reductions in the amount of budget increase?

    Congressional budgetary gridlock could force a change in U.S. foreign policy that reflects our diminished coffers. Or not.

    1. These are some cuts and some reorganizations. However they are going to cut a lot of the troops who were added during the war in Afghanistan and Iraq who were paid for by the temporary war spending bills.

  10. Surely we have a few West Pointers/Annapolis/and or Colorado Springs
    graduates in this forum. It would be interesting to know what they think about what size force U.S.A. needs to meet any credible existential threats. While it may be nice to have a couple million men under arms to meet the Chinese invasion of Santa Barbara or Soviet Europe’s in Atlantic City, can’t such a build up wait until the threat becomes more imminent?

    1. I don’t think you’ll get many to agree that existential threats are the only ones we need concern ourselves with.

    2. How about Kings Pointers?



    3. Yes, it can, and anyone who says otherwise (see upthread) are liars or fools.

      We don’t need to disband the entire military; it is still necessary if we’re going to be able to respond to provocations. But the WWII examples are ludicrous. It took Germany years to rearm, and they telegraphed their intentions the entire way. Nobody is even close to the level of capability that requires the size of the forces we have.

      1. And one of the reasons that the UK especially was so reluctant to enter into conflict was that its own military was unprepared to invade anyone, much less a country the size of Germany; they also expected Hitler to moderate once in power. This expectation was perfectly rational, its logic was the basis of both American and English arguments for non-intervention, and was of course perfectly wrong.

        Unexpected events on the world stage, either due to miscalculation or chance, occur with a good amount of regularity — and need not be at the existential level of Japan or Germany to be valid foreign policy concerns.

        1. You’re presuming that we would need to invade anyone.

          Unless they target the US, why should we invade anywhere? And the places likely to attack the US, i.e. 3rd-World shitholes who would be acting through terrorist networks, don’t have enough of a conventional military to necessitate a huge one on our part.

          1. the places likely to attack the US, i.e. 3rd-World shitholes who would be acting through terrorist networks

            For now. 25 years ago we were locked in a nuclear embrace with one of the most morally bankrupt states of the time. Situations change, and I prefer that we not be lurching from one foreign policy “crisis” to the next unprepared.

            I don’t think we need a “huge” military, either (speaking relative to current military sizes of “Great Powers”; it’s apparent that I favor a larger one than most on this board). I do think we need one that is large enough for us to have proper levels of professionalism and training, to meet foreign policy goals (punitive expedition against aggressors, for instance), and yes, case we need to invade some country or other.

            1. The USSR was morally bankrupt because, long before people died by the millions, they bought into the Top Men fallacy. They thought the Tsarist dictatorship was wrong not because it was a dictatorship, but because the wrong people were in charge. “Foreign policy” is the same fallacy repackaged. It amounts to “you don’t know to run your shit, so I’m going to run it for you”. How is that any less morally bankrupt?

              1. “Foreign policy” is the same fallacy repackaged.

                That makes no sense. Foreign policy is in reference to the relations that nation-states have with one another (and to a lesser extent, with non-state actors outside their jurisdiction). Until and unless we have a condition where there are one or less nation-states due either to the rest being turned over to anarchic conditions or *shudder* due to there being one all-encompassing global state, there will always be “foreign policy” regardless of our opinion.

                1. Foreign relations will always exist. Foreign policy is about getting the other guy to do what you want. Pursuing an agenda on the world stage is inherently about “we know better than you”. It’s a morally bankrupt philosophy, but it doesn’t become a problem until you enforce it at the end of the gun.

                  1. A gun, the gun. At least the squirrels have deigned to let me post again.

    4. No, you can’t wait until a threat becomes imminent to build brigades and divisions. When they are gone, they are gone.

      While we could tell Ford to start making tanks next week and start taking delivery by year-end, it takes a couple of years to build and train out a Division (3 Brigades). That is why we had almost no real offensives in WWII until well into 1943. It took 2 years to build up an Army and Marine Corps capable of sustaining operations.

      The justification for a powerful standing Army is that we cannot depend on that lead-time in the future.

      1. Conversely no country in the world could build a large modern military quickly and without the usa noticing. It seems a waste to keep a large standing military when there is no one with a military anywhere near our capabilities. If they tried to build one we could then ramp up and out pace them.

        1. If they tried to build one we could then ramp up and out pace them.

          This assumes that the political dynamics at the time would allow it which experience shows should not just be taken for granted.

          1. It also assumes that a democratic society can ramp up at the same pace as a totalitarian one without similar harms to civil liberties and freedoms. Turning the US economy into an instrument of total war, and forcing people to fight abroad, is far more an imposition on liberty than maintaining a superior fighting force in the first place for the same reason that maintaining a firearm in good order in your cabinet is cheaper and generally more effective than sending half a dozen police officers to your location at any given time.

      2. If someone is invading us with tanks, then we fucking nuke them. How is this so hard to understand? You do not need to match your enemy pound-for-pound in the nuclear age.

        1. I’d like some tools in the toolbox between “do nothing” and “nuclear Armageddon”, but maybe that’s just me.

          1. And somewhere between defense spending of $0 and defense spending exceeding the top 15 nations combined lay those tools.

            1. Agreed.

            2. My point – If I was in charge of spending priorities for the Army and wanted to maintain as effective an army as possible at a given price, cutting brigades would be a last resort.

              If I was more concerned about pleasing politicians and obtaining a high paying job at a defense contractor, I would cut the brigades in favor of spending on R&D and procuring new toys.

              1. If we’re already entertaining pie-in-the-sky fantasies like serious reductions in the defense budget, there’s no reason to leave gutting the fucked up Congress and electing a competent President off the table, either.

        2. Nukes are for mutually assured destruction. I don’t want to make the world unihabitable just to avoid tanks rolling down the streets.

          1. Those tanks would have to get here somehow, meanwhile we would know they were coming (satellites), we would be able to sink the ships carrying them (guided missiles), and if they still posed a real threat to us we could hold their leaders by the balls (nuclear ICBMs). It is not 1942 anymore.

      3. This is a major problem with a big draw-down. It can take as much as 4 years to get some parts. I’m just talking spares. I’m not talking aircraft or tanks. I’m talking about the spare parts that are needed to keep those vehicles running. It can take 4 fucking years after going on contract for some of that stuff to finally be delivered. Four years is a long time when we have major conflicts that can spark up overnight.

        So slashing the military dramatically and waiting until an imminent threat pops up before mobilizing is disastrous. The industrial base has to be willing and able to support this. You can’t do it overnight. Facilities, manpower, and expertise have to be maintained. Plus, we have a huge issue with obsolescence and diminishing sources of supply in the army. If we let all these manufacturers go, many will go out of business. We do not own the tech data for much of our equipment.

        You don’t just develop and field new equipment overnight. These things take years, and you don’t have years when there is an imminent threat.

        1. Ding, ding. Even during WWII — where we basically converted the whole country into a warfighting machine — it took us a couple of years until we got to the point where we were able to operate effectively and with the equipment needed, and WWII military hardware was far more fungible with domestic industrial manufacturing.

          It’s insanity to expect that we can ramp up militaries at the drop of a hat.

          1. True. And our equipment is vastly more sophisticated than the equipment used in the 30s and 40s. Technical expertise will eventually go away without that knowledge base staying fresh. Facilities take a while to stand up. you also have to have people that can maintain the equipment. Training equipment needs to be developed. Training the warfighter to use the equipment takes time.

            Fielding equipment is a huge endeavor. And if you aren’t maintaining your current equipment during peacetime, you will have to develop something new in wartime. And that is costly and takes a very long time.

            Remember, people are advocating a drastic reduction in our military. Fine, but you will have to address a lot of these issues for rapid mobilization.

    5. creech that is a very sweeping question, and I think no answer can adequately be given that would fit here.

      The short version is that your answer depends largely on your understanding of the mission of that military force.

      If the idea is simply to protect the holdings of the US of A our combination of powerful navy and nuclear weapons are sufficient for the job at present. No one can even get close to us and if they actually did and truly threatened us there’s that huge nuclear arsenal to fall back on and every power on Earth is well aware of it. No one is landing paratroopers in the midwest any time soon.

      Now if your mission includes securing other nations and/or using the military to optimise economic activity then the picture becomes very muddled indeed, and more accurately reflects the situation that we are in today.

      can’t such a build up wait until the threat becomes more imminent?

      The short answer here is that this sort of thinking usually leads to a lot of lost life and destruction for a variety of reasons. It is also a path we have taken repeatedly in the past and have paid a stiff price for. (See WW1 and 2 for starters.)

    6. Well, seeing as I am one of those “West Point morons” to which Episiarch speaks of up thread, I’ll throw in my two cents. I can’t speak for the other branches, but as for the Army, here’s my opinion: Leave the active duty force alone. The U.S. has a fairly good track record of drafting and training soldiers in times of war. The active force, as it sits now, is capable of stopping small conflicts and stalling long enough for reinforcements in larger conflicts. Do away with a lot of this “weekend warrior” stuff. With the exception of medical personnel,get rid of the Army Reserve. With the exception of aviation support units (UH-60 Blackhawks, CH-47 Chinooks), do away with all combat arms units (Infantry, Armor, and Aviation)in the state National Guards. In recent memory, the only reason that the National Guard has been used as directed by the states has been in disaster relief efforts (hence the need for helicopters).

      1. stalling long enough for reinforcements in larger conflicts.

        do away with all combat arms units (Infantry, Armor, and Aviation)in the state National Guards

        See any contradiction there, sparky? If you do away with the Guard, where exactly are your reinforcements going to come from in the short term? You gonna try to pull 8th Army off the DMZ or something? Your plan works if and only if we pull way back on our foreign commitments. I ain’t betting on that happening.

        1. Don’t get me started on our foreign commitments. With the exception of South Korea, I see very few that we should keep. I figured that losing some of those commitments was a given, so I didn’t state it.
          As for your comment about where those reinforcements would come from, as I said, the U.S. has a pretty good track record of drafting and training soldiers. We had about 269,000 Army personnel in 1939, when WWII began. By the end of that conflict, we had about 8.5 million Army personnel. I don;t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I can assure you that the majority of that increase happened early in the war.

          1. I disagree – I like the idea of a well-trained ready Reserve. The Marine Corps does it much better than the National Guard from what I’ve seen (been in both).

  11. Ok, I wrote two long responses on my phone and both got eaten by squirells. So I am done for the day. Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

  12. “For two years now, members of the Armed Services Committee have warned that sequestration would wound our national security and our economy.”

    Yeah, when I’m looking for economic predictions, the first people I go to for advice is the Armed Services Committee.

    1. well, they can’t do much worse than our president and the head of the Fed.

  13. I’m not against having any standing army, but I think it could be a fraction of the size it currently is (and the other branches could be reduced as well) with no harm to out national security or ability to deal with a real threat should one arise

    1. I’m not sure about “a fraction”. I think that making the National Guard into a large reserve force of heavy units while the active component is light makes sense. But the Army is going in the opposite direction right now.

      1. Well, technically, any reduction would be a fraction. At a minimum, it could be cut in half IMO. And I do agree that we could use the reserves and National Guard to provide adequate support and the ability to quickly increase active military power substantially should the need arise

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