Chuck Spinney: US Navy – More Admirals than Ships? Comprehensive Survey of Flag Officer Bloat as Foundation for Failed Militaries Across History

Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Economics/True Cost, Military
Chuck Spinney

How bad is our bloat of generals? How does it compare with other armies?

Fabius Maximus, 10 September 2012
Summary:  As a followup to yesterday’s rant by Richard A Pawloski (Captain, USMC, retired) about our bloated corps of senior generals, today we look at the actual numbers.  They show that if anything Pawloski understated the situation, and that only many more rants can reform our military. It’s not just expensive, but might become a risk to the Republic.
“In place of that optimax of 5% {officers} that the MI never can reach, many armies in the past commissioned 10% of their number, or even 15%! This sounds like a fairy tale but it was a fact, especially during the 20th century. What kind of an army has more officers than corporals? And more noncoms than privates! An army organized to lose wars — if history means anything. An army that is mostly red tape and overhead, most of whose soldiers never fight.”
— Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (1959). Heinlein was Annapolis class of 1929, discharged in 1934 due to TB.


  1. About our bloated roster of generals
  2. Our economy has not grown, but our officers corps has
  3. Comparing our Army to successful & unsuccessful past armies
  4. Research about inflation in our officers corps
  5. Other articles about our senior officers
  6. Other posts about our military, & the potential risk to the Republic

Read full post with many supporting links and excellent graphics.

Phi Beta Iota:  The review charts the rather troubling migration of Pentagon flag officers and Pentagon methods of fraud, waste, and abuse, over to the Department of Homeland Security, the new pork-fest.  Our focus is always on the public interest, and in the military, the public interest cannot be separated from the welfare of the enlisted force, and particularly that portion of the force, the infrantry, 4% of the total force, taking 80% of the casualties, and receiving 1% of the Pentagon budget.  This is a crime by politicians and policymakers and so-called professional flag officers, against our very own.  On a positive note, we are meeting more and more “insiders” that confirm our view that the US Government is comprised of good people trapped in a bad system — senior grades — who have pretended to drink the kool-aid, abhor all that they do, and would be profoundly appreciative of any leadership oriented toward reform.

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