QDR Wishful Thinking
Did you read this at Defense News? How some can get the idea out of a requirement for more Army helicopters that the Navy and Air Force will soon be back planning for the next Big War, leaving all the fighting to the Army and Marines, I haven’t a clue. Somebody is overdoing it on the kool-aid.
Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation said that if the Obama administration is serious about training allied forces and “building partnership capacity” across the globe, the military “will need presence to do those things – and the Navy and Air Force are less infrastructure-dependent than having ground forces in these places.”..
Some defense analysts have predicted Pentagon brass will use the quadrennial study to gird U.S. naval and air forces for major combat operations, leaving irregular fights to the Army and Marine Corps. That would mean more money for certain Navy and Air Force weapons programs and for Army and Marine personnel, operations, and maintenance, they say.
I suppose if you’re going to dream…and that is what an assumption this is, that the military can just go back to the Cold War, ignoring the realities of this current conflict. We certainly can no longer afford a big army, navy, and air force. Something will have to give and logically major funding should go to the service doing most of the fighting. We will always need a navy, and airpower is still extremely critical, but for worldwide myriad threats where the air and sea are no longer impediments to attack, and you don’t have to be a high tech superpower to become a a feared military threat, landpower is vital and the final arbiter of victory. As it has been through the untold centuries.
We are living in what some have called an “age of austerity“, where the politicos are totally obsessed over social issues or with managing the economy. As Secretary Gates has warned, at least for defense, “the spigot is closed” and we can no longer purchase every new superweapon the military wants, and in most cases doesn’t really need for the myriad austere threats we faced.
The Air Force and Navy wasted a whole decade where they could be focusing on many smaller threats, rather than fighting the giant conventional battles that are so few and far between, and which drain so much precious funds for ongoing needs like close air support, aerial transport, and policing the seas from pirates and smugglers. Unless they join in helping the land forces with their attempts at taming rogue countries, I can only see even their most minor funding requests diverted to those who have better use for it.