Senator Ted Cruz thinks the American military needs to be up-sized, not down-sized.
Our entire fighting force is shockingly undermanned and ill-prepared. Last year, the Chief of Staff of the Army stated that his units were at “historically low levels” of combat readiness and the Commandant of the Marine Corps declared that “half of our non-deployed units are suffering personnel, equipment and training shortfalls.”
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force recently proclaimed that “we are getting too small to succeed.” And, for the first time since 2007, the United States Navy was unable to maintain a carrier presence in the Arabian Gulf. Every single portion of our Armed Forces has felt the strain.
In 2010, the U.S. Army was authorized 562,400 active duty soldiers, by the end of 2016 that number will have dropped precipitously to 475,000.
And this administration has plans to drive it even lower, to only 450,000 soldiers by the end of 2018. Unless our leaders are able to prioritize our national defense appropriately, there is a possibility that the Army could be reduced to as few as 420,000 soldiers by 2020. Attempts to garner this “peace dividend” are assuredly met with enthusiasm by our adversaries. [snip]
The entire end-strength of our Armed Forces must be rebuilt; we must strive to have a total active-duty force of at least 1.4 million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Anything less creates a continuing training and readiness gap that risks the lives of the men and women who volunteer to serve this great Nation.
Source: Cruz for President
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter wants to continue to project American military power worldwide—to deal with what he terms the national security threats of terrorism, Russia, China, North Korea and Iran on a global basis.
Ted Cruz is right to point out that our armed forces are not large enough, and well-enough equipped, to carry out such a global mission. As Andrew Bacevich, a respected military scholar, points out, it probably would take 500,000 troops each just to pacify Afghanistan and Iraq, let alone Carter’s more expansive goals.
But the problem is that U.S. military recruiters are barely able to fulfill their recruiting targets as it is. A large proportion of enlistees are rejected because they are obese, or high school dropouts, or have criminal records.
It is impossible to increase the size of the U.S. armed forces as Cruz proposes without doing one of two things.
- Lower standards for recruitment.
- Re-institute a military draft.
The Obama administration has responded to the recruitment problem by trying to figure out ways to wage wars with minimum numbers of troops—bombings, targeted killings and plans to deploy precision tactical nuclear weapons. Opening up the military to women and to openly gay enlistees also helps the recruitment problem, but probably not enough.
I have an alternate suggestion.
- Limit the mission of the U.S. military to defense of the American homeland.
Why America’s All-Volunteer Force Fails to Win Wars by Andrew Bacevich for the Dallas Morning News.
The War Against the World: Washington finds enemies everywhere by Philip Giraldi.
The US military’s #1 challenge in the 21st century: Recruiting a few good people by the editor of the Fabius Maximus web site.
Will the aging and urbanization of America limit the size of our armed forces? by the editor of the Fabius Maximus web site.
The Military Could Soon Face Increased Recruiting Challenges by Brian Wagner for Task and Purpose.
U.S. presses on with ‘tactical nukes’ despite outcry by Damon Poeter for ExtremeTech.
Photo credit: Fort Sill Cannoneer.