Yesterday's headline in our local paper, "The State":
U.S. military to shift focus to cope with terrorist threat, plan reveals
Admittedly this is the QDR, the Quadrennial Defense Review, which is why it seems kind of, well, behind the times. But doesn't it make it sound like they've been screwing around ever since 2001 and are just now waking up?
The military is going to be "lighter and faster", according to the report; unfortunately, that's what they've been saying since, oh, the 1980s. The folks at the defense contractors will be happy to hear they don't intend to drop any of the more expensive weapons systems, though:
The Pentagon plans to strengthen its special-operations forces to fight terrorists and insurgents in the coming decades, but it won't increase the military's ground forces or eliminate any of its most expensive weapons programs, according to a long-range plan released Friday.
And ground troops? Well, according to the QDR, we won't need as many. But there are those saying otherwise:
Daniel Goure, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a public policy research group in Arlington, Va., questioned whether the military would have enough ground troops.
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, questioned whether the military would have enough troops.
But Michele Flournoy, a Pentagon official in the Clinton administration, said that one of the fundamental lessons of Iraq is that the military needs a large ground force to occupy a country.
Lawrence J. Korb, who was the Pentagon's top personnel official in the Reagan administration, advocates increasing the Army by 86,000 soldiers.
Am I seeing a pattern here? After all, as Mr. Flournoy points out, one of the reasons for the miserable situation in Iraq at the moment was not enough troops to start with, thus not enough security. (Of course, NOT INVADING in the first place might have been a good idea, too.) This was, after all, supposed to be the military which, according to previous QDRs, would be able to fight two Iraq-type wars simultaneously and win both. Now it looks like Genius Rummy's grand idea of a lighter "info-war" military is going to be official policy, up until the point, of course, where it's proved to be the scam it was all along.
Oh, and if things DO go all pear-shaped and we're stuck for more soldiers?
"The QDR could authorize the Army to go up to a million soldiers. But we're having trouble recruiting 482,000," said Andrew F. Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who recently authored a study for the Pentagon that described the Army as being stretched thin by Iraq.
Anyone feel a draft?