The sad fact is that flag level officers and their civilian overseers of all the military services appear unable or unwilling to exercise critical thinking and commitment to doing what should be their jobs.
Look at the U.S. Army: it is now down to between 425 and 450 thousand soldiers yet the army general staff still speaks of fighting multiple conventional wars, defending the U.S. Homeland, and tackling insurgencies. This is just plain silly.
At the height of the Vietnam War (1967-1968) the Army had 500,000 soldiers in country, plus 250,000 more soldiers supporting the war in the Far East, but out of country (I was one of the latter). So not county stateside soldiers you had 750,000 men deployed to fight a rather pointless war or rather to support the 50,000 poor soldiers who were actually in the jungles and rice patties fighting the war. Steve Metz did an interesting article back in August in which he asked the essential question of just how much an Army of 450,000 soldiers seriously should be expected to successfully accomplish. The thinker Col. Andrew Bacevich (USA ret.) is quoted as saying an Army of this size should have only the mission of defending the U.S. from hostile forces. Bacevich also believes that armies, “have become 21st Century anachronisms.”
If the Army Chief of Staff and the general officers on active duty were anything but placeholders you would think they would try to redesign this much reduced Army to maximize what strength they actually have. Instead they have tried to fit the supposedly flexible Brigade Combat Team (BCT) into division structures just like the division structures of WW1. Complete lunacy.
Phi Beta Iota: The established joint utilization rate pioneered by the US Air Force is 60-60 — assume 60% allocation of all resources, and within that number, assume 60% availability (C-1 status). Assuming 450,000 US Army troops, 60-60 translates into 162,000 tip of the spear capable, assuming best case logistics and air superiority. The Army is central to national security but it appears that we need a major re-think, starting with the creation of an American Grand Strategy such as has not been attempted since President General Ike Eisenhower led Project Solarium.
KINDLE (99 cents): An American Grand Strategy: Evidence-Based, Affordable, Balanced, Flexible
Robert Steele: A Notional Grand Strategy — Request for Comments
Grand Strategy @ Phi Beta Iota
Grand Strategies @ Phi Beta Iota