A Cheaper, Stronger Army
Recently, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held a somber press conference at the Pentagon in which he discussed the results of the Strategic Choices Management Review he ordered several months prior. In light of shrinking budgets, he said the so-called SCMR offered two choices: bad and worse. The ‘bad’ was reduced capacity; the ‘worse,’ reduced capability. In the former the Army would fall from its 2010 high of 570,000 to as low as 380,000 and in the latter the U.S. military “could find its equipment and weapons systems…less effective against more technologically advanced adversaries.” Fortunately, even in this era of constrained budgets, these two dire options are not the only ones available: there is a way to reform and reorganize the U.S. military within the constraints of smaller budgets that not only doesn’t put national security at risk, but actually increases combat power, especially that of the army.
It seems counterintuitive to suggest that the U.S. could produce a smaller force while increasing its fighting strength. Yet for the reasons outlined in this article that is precisely what we argue. In order to facilitate the most effective and efficient Department of Defense, we contend it is beneficial to first revise the National Military Strategy. This revision will more effectively support the president’s overall National Security Strategy. Reorienting the DoD into a set of forces that are actually joint in execution will strengthen the American military and thus enhance overall national security.
In support of the president’s four strategic objectives, we recommend a complimentary four-point military strategy:
· defend the American homeland, vital national interests, and friendly nations;
· maintain open access to the global lines of communication in the domains of air, land, sea, space and cyber;
· prevent any state, or combinations of states (or nonstate actors) from dominating by force of arms the European-Asian land mass or allied nations;
· support peaceful relations between nations and foster greater understanding among international militaries.
In combination with the standing powers given the executive and legislative branches of our government in the Constitution, this strategy provides great flexibility in ensuring the defense and security of the United States. There is a notable characteristic of this strategy, however, that distinguishes it from the current version: it does not advocate using military power to compel other peoples, races or religions to conform to Western views and governing structures.
To better advance American prosperity in the future, we must jettison the flawed notion that our nation’s security interests can be achieved by carrying out lengthy military occupations of foreign lands and attempting to transform their cultures into something palatable to Western tastes.
We contend the United States should respond with emphatic, even vicious military action when conditions warrant. But for the benefit of our nation and in pursuit of a more peaceful international order, we believe it is time to rebalance the application of military force to more closely align with American values and demonstrate appropriate strategic restraint. That means having a strategy that accepts war as a last resort and not a policy option of first choice. Such a reorientation is not a retreat from world affairs, but rather a return to the values and strengths that made us a great nation.
Towards True Joint Operations
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey is trying to use the influence of his office in constructive ways. On June 20 the Chairman wrote in Foreign Affairs that “we should leverage the services’ distinctive cultures and competencies to make the joint force even more networked and interoperable. This will be the best way to prepare for the full range of missions that the armed forces must perform today and will likely have to perform in the future.” We heartily agree with the Chairman.
But we must soberly recognize that the Joint Staff has existed in its current form for over sixty years. If in the second decade of the twenty-first century the U.S. military is still insufficiently joint in the execution of operations, the time has arrived to reform and reorganize the Department of Defense toward joint operations in both word and deed.
Each service needs its own unique doctrine to be sure, but must be expressly organized, trained, and equipped to conduct joint-force operations; the United States can no longer afford services that operate independently of each other and all too frequently compete against each other. A refined military strategy, accompanied by a reformation of the Department of Defense will help produce a true and effective set of forces that execute joint operations.
The Macgregor Transformation Model (MTM)