This is the first in a series of posts by guest commentators to answer my complaint that I hadn’t heard a coherent, logical answer to the question of why we still need the Army.
Yes, we do need an Army
While my answer may not be as coherent as Mr. Richards would prefer, the USAF, USN, and USMC bring assets to the fight that while together may succeed in meeting the mission; without one of them, we may not succeed as quickly or as effectively in countering the threat(s) to our foreign interests or homeland.
We have instead created a system of redundancies and bloated administrative processes which bog down both the definition of the threat(s) and how to address it/them. Our entire military is shackled by a congress that has few members (or their extended family members) who have worn the uniform which frankly has resulted in DoD being curtailed by political (hidden and otherwise) agendas, vagaries, and shifting bipartisan bickering.
We are in a cycle of growth and decline –- which historically has occurred after every major engagement (or war). The years since the first Gulf War have seen huge increases in budgets for equipment development, command expansion, and troop numbers. Unfortunately these dollars have dried up, and our processes are such that effective product selection and development is now subject to a convoluted process which results in taking years to deliver products (uniforms, vehicles, weaponry) to the warfighter.
Rather than removal of the ‘Army’ let us develop a comprehensive approach to the entire DoD and a removal of redundancies throughout –- why does every service require a separate aviation platform/uniform/vehicle? No other service can possibly hope to project such a complete ‘infrastructure’ available within the Army to support the huge force that would be required to take an adversary such as North Korea, each service has a different element of the overall mission and they work well together in the joint construct.
As to the homeland, we need the Army, because we (the states) need the National Guard (and say what you will about the Guard). In times of need, the Governors need this asset to call upon when civilian agencies become overwhelmed regardless of the incident (natural or otherwise). Between now and 2030, the threat will become even more diverse than it is now, and our Guard as an element of the Army must be resourced, trained, and supported adequately to address but needs to be on equal footing with their Active component counterparts (and without the Army no other service is in a position to provide a similar asset at the state level).
“Lucretius” is a defense analyst and writer based in the Midwest. Titus Lucretius Carus was a Roman philosopher of the Late Republic whose only extant work, De Rarum Natura, anticipated ideas that appear in Boyd’s Discourse.
I would like to comment on the idea of why do we need multiple platforms? This question is what has led to the F35, which I’m fairly sure any truly objective analysis would determine is a dead duck flying. It is an example of this one platform for all.
For a simpler example, the army E-tool has many uses (or so I was trained in the army) From shovel, to stool, to axe. It can preform the job of all. Is it easy to use? Hell no! Is it as effective or efficient at those tasks? Not even close. Would one of these “specialized tools” be better in most situations? You bet they are.
My point is that a multi function platform may look good on paper as a cost benefit analysis but when your talking the tools of war where peoples’ lives and the very freedom we cherish can be at stake, then most would agree let’s use the right/best tool possible and not half ass it.