Frederick Kagan: Says we need a bigger army
... The active duty portion of the U.S. Army needs to grow to about 800,000 soldiers. That's the size maintained during the 1980s and into the early 1990s, and it is a bare minimum for success in the many and varied missions that will be required in the future--missions that have ranged from "building partnership capacity" in West Africa to tracking down terrorists in Southeast Asia, as well as large-scale invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Those who believe that the need for such a force size will abate as troops are drawn down in Iraq should consider the larger pattern of American operations over the past generation. Since its creation in 1983, the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for operations in East Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, has demanded an ever-increasing American presence, a presence which has changed from being largely air and maritime to boots on the ground. That's the war we are in.
Repairing and reshaping the active Army is also key to restoring the Marine Corps to its traditional and still essential role as a sea-based contingency force. And it is critical in order to return the Army National Guard to a proper place as a national strategic reserve, and an operational force with state responsibilities. The Army is the keystone in the arch of America's land-force structure.
The Army brigade also needs to be reworked. Under a plan initiated in the late 1990s--and embraced by Mr. Rumsfeld as part of his program of defense transformation to "lighten" the Army by creating a larger number of smaller, "modularized" brigades--the personnel strength of an Army brigade was reduced to about 3,500. Yet in practice in Iraq and Afghanistan, as units scramble to secure additional mission-enabling capabilities, the total climbs to about 5,000--roughly the strength of a premodularized unit. The current Bush expansion plan will not remedy the problem of having more but weaker units.
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Randll Reese Besch - 6/4/2008
Companies like Blackwater are busy hiring mercinary soldiers now from the worst spots on the planet. Battle hardened veterans of bush wars and ubans supression. Just like the British and Roman Empires, mercinaries are very useful if you don't wish to impose a draft at home. The mercinaries are far better trained and motivated than the usual conscripts.
This is just another aspect of the metamorphosis of the USA into a crusader corporate nation-state on the move to grow itself larger and more dangerous and the top dog of the world. As per PNAC outlines for all to see.
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