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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Joseph Myers

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Joseph Myers

Last Build Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 16:30:55 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

America's Strategic Fix and Our New Decision Points

Fri, 25 Aug 2006 16:30:55 -0600

Our allies meanwhile have been cutting their defense budgets reducing their military capabilities to the level of constabulary forces while enjoying 10 weeks of vacation every year, with the French sandbagging us at every turn. Domestically the Supreme Court usurps presidential war time authority and interprets treaties and imposes foreign law. Our national intelligence collection efforts have become a political football for partisan advantage. Unelected federal judges insert themselves into intelligence programs with juvenile legal rulings about Presidential excesses under FISA when the FISA court itself has confirmed the President's authority to conduct warrantless intelligence activities. National newspapers expose our deepest national secrets while journalists receive applause and awards. The entire "global-long war on terror" has been reduced to soundbites masquerading as strategy. Domestic politics looks like 1972 all over again. America is at war? --no we are not. Don't kid yourself. The U.S. Army is at war, the Marines are at war and other elements of our armed forces are at war. But are you at war? Do you feel like you are in a war? Is this war having any tangible effect on your day to day life? As a nation that claims to be at war we are in a grave position in it. America is strategically fixed: • America faces a range of threats from a resurgent Islamic jihad movement to rogue and messianic states acquiring weapons of mass destruction. • The "landpower" of the United States is strategically vulnerable, fixed and committed to Iraq. The war in Iraq has cost billions in every piece of army hardware to the result that 70 of the Army is supporting the 30% deployed. Two thirds of the Army Total Force--active, guard, and reserve are rated as not ready due to low equipment readiness. • The Army end-strength is too small for the missions it has been given. • America is not united in this war; not even close. No war of any kind can be prosecuted, much less won under this condition. • Osama bin Ladin knows more about some Americans than we care to admit. What does this mean? It means units like the 172d Stryker Brigade are extended in their war time deployment only weeks before departing Iraq. It means units are recalled to combat after just being returned home. It means the Army is beginning to suffer an exodus of junior officers. It means divorce rates are going to 60% in deploying units. It means the guard and reserve is changing from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve. It means the man-days of the Guard and Reserve have been used up under current authorizations becoming politically unsustainable for more deployments. Unit and institutional training is on the decline. It also means active Army units are deploying in and out of combat zones almost twice in three years. It means our Army is psychologically enduring a warfighting cycle it never has before. It means we had more soldiers in Saudi Arabia in Gulf War 1 than we have in the entire Army today. It means the Army can generate this force and only sustain this effort if young American soldiers continue to reenlist in service. When they stop--it's over. The bottom-line is the Army is broken; our enemies know it and see it and the "Peace Dividend" got us here. Some peace. That also means the President's military and strategic options become increasingly confined and non-conventional. However we can get "strategically unfixed." • First, our defense budget at 3.8% of GDP is too small. The Kennedy Administration averaged 9% GDP; the average post-Vietnam budget from 1974-1994 was about 5.8 %. If we are in a "global-long war" then that suggests we need a defense budget that more reflects wartime averages; that means political choices must be made. • The Army budget needs serious increases to re-arm and re-equip the force now; the Marine's too. These bills should have been anticipated at the outset of any war effort. • Modernization and transformation must continu[...]