Norman Polmar at Defense Tech writes about The Downside of End-Strength Increases:
Critics of the buildup point out that in the next few years, possibly before the additional troops are added by 2010-2012, the United States will have withdrawn combat troops and possible all military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. Even today, they note, the U.S. commitment of ground troops in the two wars is just over ten percent of the total active Army-ARNG-USAR and Marine Corps strength.
Frank Hoffman, a retired Marine officer and leading defense analyst, has observed that the global war on terrorism and the Iraq conflict are being used as “lame rationales” for enlarging the military.
Seriously, does anyone really think we will have withdrawn all combat troops, let alone all military forces, from Iraq or Afghanistan by 2010? And though the “ten percent” number is accurate and probably surprising to many, it doesn’t change the fact that the ground forces are stretched badly. If not, why would five National Guard brigades just have been alerted for deployment to Iraq and Afghansitan in 2009? It’s possible that these orders will be changed before the deployment, of course, but the idea that the 2009-2010 rotation will require five brigades of Guard means the active Army needs to be bigger.
And actual, real-world combat lessons are “lame rationales” for military policy decisions? Maybe someone should make a PowerPoint presentation to make the rationale more meaningful and convincing.
Which would make more difference in the probable missions of the US military over the next five years? 10 squadrons of F-22s or 10 brigades of infantry? Just think about how different the deployment schedule would have been with 10 more brigades from day one.
The only thing worse than having 18 infantry divisions when you only need 11 is having 10.