The key factor is senior leadership that has not kept faith with its troops. The rest of the force that doesn’t live within the Washington, D.C., beltway feels that it is being ridden hard and put back wet so that the generals and admirals can claim success before civilian leaders in Congress and the White House. They have come to believe that they are expendable.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Even after taking away the burden of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the security requirements of the United States have not decreased in proportion with the downsizing of the force. As recently retired Marine General James Amos said, “We will not do less with less. We will do the same with less.” As powerful as generals are, they can’t repeal mathematics. That difference isn’t coming out of nowhere. It’s coming at the expense of personnel, equipment, and training. Today, units have to swap equipment just to deploy; new personnel go forward with inadequate training; and stateside support units, such as depots and training facilities, have to support deploying units with people and equipment. The military is like a subsistence farmer who’s eating his seed corn — it works for awhile, but a reckoning is coming. Read more.