Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You're in the Army Now...For Now

A recent news report revealed that the U.S. Army plans to cut its force levels by 50,000 over the next five years. Does anyone at the pentagon believe the Army is currently overstaffed after hearing for years that it was stretched to the breaking point? No this is not about too may troops it is about too few dollars chasing too many new technologies.  In the coming era of financial austerity something will have to give and our military leaders have decided to invest in big ticket weapon platforms like the next generation long range bomber at the expense of infantry battalions.  Why bother developing and fielding a new and improved rifle if you are going to whittle down the number of soldiers and Marines anyway?

I grew up during the Cold War when the military was always looking for "a few good men" and trying to get you to "be all you can be." Within the next twenty years there will come a time when the prevailing line could be "don't call us, we'll call you" as interested young men and women compete for limited slots akin to joining the FBI or getting into a prestigious school.  Think about how small the Army will be when a single armored and heavily armed soldier can replace an infantry platoon or company. Most of the slots available will be for technicians to repair the "Starship Trooper" suits and drone operators and still more technicians - assuming the technicians are not mostly private contractors from the firms that developed the weapons.

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