Monday, February 24, 2014
Politicians again fail to learn from history
It seems our political leaders intend to reduce the size of the US Army to below its strength in 1940.
Let me say that again.
Our political leaders intend to reduce the size of the US Army to below its strength in 1940.
Have they forgotten history altogether?
Examine any nation you please. Study the size and ability of its armed forces. Observe what happened to that nation when it allowed its armed forces to decay in terms of either strength (numbers) or capability (efficiency, quality of armament, tactics, etc.).
History warns us grimly that whenever a nation failed to prepare for war, it didn't enjoy peace for very long.
What makes our politicians think this time will be any different?
I confidently predict that if this misguided reduction in strength goes ahead, within a decade from its taking effect we'll wish we had back the forces we cut - and more. History's entirely on my side in making that prediction. I have no objection to cutting away deadwood, and reorienting our forces to make them 'smarter', better equipped and trained to face contemporary challenges, and the like; but to reduce them to so low a level is to cripple them before a major conflict even starts. It's not like the old days when the draft could provide semi-trained warm bodies within a matter of a few months. In today's high-technology world, it takes a couple of years to train a soldier to the point where he's basically proficient with all the equipment he's expected to take into a fight. We won't have time for that when the proverbial brown substance hits the rotary air impeller.
There may be one silver lining in the cloud, however, if our politicians are sensible enough to grasp it (although that's debatable). I note the Air Force plans to mothball its A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack squadrons. The US Marine Corps can't afford the F-35B strike fighter it so desperately wants, no matter how much it may protest that it needs it. On the other hand, the A-10 would fit right in with the Marines' self-imposed priority to have their own organic air support arm. Why not scrap the F-35B and transfer all the (newly upgraded) A-10's to the Marine Corps? It'd save tens of billions of dollars in procurement costs, and operational costs of the A-10's would be a tiny fraction of the stealth F-35's. I'd say that'd be a win for everybody except Lockheed Martin (which deserves the loss, quite frankly, after screwing up the F-35 project so badly).