A Cheaper, Stronger Army

A Cheaper, Stronger Army

A smart reorganization could make the U.S. Army more mighty, even after sequestration.


We postulate that with the organizational and structural changes advocated in this essay, the U.S. Army could drop 150,000 troops from its 2010 force structure and produce a notably stronger force. That may sound to be “too good to be true.” The fundamentals are actually quite sound, but there are few who may independently have the experience to independently assess our claims. We therefore recommend that over the next six months Congress do two things:

First, it should charter a study by the Congressional Research Service or Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent analysis to ascertain the organizational structure, force design, cost savings and operational effectiveness of MTM.

Second, concurrent with the organizational analysis, it should conduct a separate series of simulations to assess the combat capability of the force as compared to existing scenarios used with current force constructs.

If the results of the study come back favorable, we recommend the Secretary of Defense consider executing a five-year implementation plan, resulting in a stronger Army specifically designed to contribute to joint-force operations.


Our country is in an era of constrained budgets and will likely remain there for a number of years. Like virtually all other components of the federal government, the Department of Defense will have to pare back expenditures. Current plans call for the U.S. Army in particular to simply get smaller; without a new structure that means it will be less capable. If Macgregor Transformation Model reorganization is initiated in the next year, the United States could soon have an army of 420,000 that is less expensive, sustainable in an era of constrained budgets, but with more combat power and strategic flexibility than the 2010 version that had 570,000 troops. We urge Congress, therefore, to begin conducting studies and simulations at the earliest possible date.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Department of Defense.

Admiral (ret) Mark Fitzgerald completed a 37 year career with his last assignment commanding NATO Joint Forces Command Naples and US Naval Forces Europe/Africa. A Naval Aviator, he is currently Chairman of the Association of Naval Aviation, Vice Chairman of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and is a defense consultant.

Lieutenant General (ret) David Deptula is a thought leader on defense, strategy, and ISR, having planned and executed humanitarian relief to major combat operations. Currently Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies, he is also a senior scholar at the US Air Force Academy, consultant, and board member at a variety of public and private institutions.

Colonel Gian Gentile is a serving army colonel. He presently is an associate professor of history and directs the military history program at West Point. In 2006 he commanded a combat battalion in west Baghdad, and he holds a PhD in history from Stanford University.