The Pentagon’s Sky is Falling!

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

W.J. Astore

You’ve probably seen the headline: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is gutting the Army to numbers not seen since the sleepy days before Pearl Harbor!   Senior Republicans like Lindsey Graham and John McCain have already declared that these cuts are DOA (dead on arrival) in the Senate.  Why? Allegedly because they endanger our national defense.  Naturally, such claims are often politically-motivated.  Former Vice President Dick Cheney has already gone on record as claiming that President Obama prefers to fund food stamps and other social entitlement programs to funding the military at adequate levels.

Should we be worried?  Conor Friedersdorf has an excellent article at The Atlantic to explain why Hagel’s proposed cuts to today’s Army should not be compared to the Army’s end strength in 1940.  The U.S. military has obviously changed greatly since then.  Today, the military relies much more on technology as “force multipliers.”   There is simply no military on the planet as high-tech and capable of projecting power as the U.S. military.  Moreover, because we’re not fighting simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we simply no longer need as many soldiers in the Army as we did during the Surge years.

Today’s military is far less concerned with end strength than it is with capabilities.  I recall talking to an Army lieutenant colonel and experienced battalion commander in Iraq.  He explained that one of his infantry companies (of approximately 100 men) could easily defeat an enemy battalion (of approximately 500 men). He wasn’t boasting; just stating facts.  An American company, assuming it could tap its technology as well as all of its fire support units (artillery, helicopters, and close air support from the U.S. Air Force), would simply move faster and hit harder and more accurately than its enemy.  Again, it’s not about numbers; it’s about capabilities.

The US military is enormously powerful.  Its naval and air assets are second to none.  So is its ability to hit hard at a distance.  So is its equipment — its force multipliers — from divisional/brigade levels down to the platoon/squad level.   Reversing the old Soviet dictum, in this case quality has a quantity all its own.

To suggest that Hagel’s proposed retrenchment in Army end strength would return us to 1940 is the ultimate in ignorance — or the ultimate in deliberate disinformation for political gain.

America’s weakness has nothing to do with its military.  America’s weakness is the rampant dishonesty of its political discourse.  Even adding a million soldiers to our Army’s rolls won’t fix that.

4 thoughts on “The Pentagon’s Sky is Falling!

  1. This decision shows that we have shifted from conventional war making to terror making as our military credo. Terror is easier and cheaper. No boots on the ground. We will use drones and small ‘special ops’ to terrorize reluctant countries into Pax America’s orbit of control. Our military is not dumb. They looked at how Bin Laden terrorized a nation to self destruct its rule of law and economy with a small ‘special op” of nineteen people on 9/11and decided that just might work for us. It is also appealing because it can be very “secret” and no bodies coming back to Dover Airport.

  2. Just as I have predicted the next GOP POTUS will undo Obama’s decree on increasing fuel efficiency of motor vehicles, I can easily predict that Hagel’s proposed reduction of military headcount–as it was initially presented–is, indeed, DOA in the Congress. Of course it must be understood that the current administration’s aim is not “Peace on Earth” (perish the thought!) but the result of a relatively (for modern pols) hardnosed look at the ever growing Federal budget deficit. The you-know-what WILL be hitting the fan in due time; this house of cards economy is one strong gust of wind away from imploding. When reality finally deflates the stock market the tax revenues from capital gains will evaporate like a drop of water on a hot skillet. Then who’s going to pay for the military’s toys? The workers who’ve been without jobs for years on end? “It’s the end of the world as we know it, And I feel fine” sang REM. Me, I can’t wait!!!

  3. Pingback: The Pentagon Wins Wars! Budgetary Wars, That Is | The Contrary Perspective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s