Mark Helprin in the Wall Street Journal:
As we content ourselves with the fallacy that never again shall we have to fight large, technological opponents, China is transforming its forces into a full-spectrum military capable of major operations and remote power projection. Eventually the twain shall meet.
Obviously, today’s war requires us to transform our military into one capable of fighting and winning low-intensity campaigns against low-tech enemies and then following up with a long period of stability operations. But while we need to do this, we need to be careful not to over-compensate.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is the idea that maybe the National Guard combat units remained focused almost exclusively on traditional army-on-army tactics and equipped with the heavies to fight and win such wars while the active duty Army is morphed over time to face current situations.
This would allow more stable training and equipping of the Guard, hopefully making them better able to be used quickly in the event things go south. The active Army, while retaining a good portion of its big war capability, could be tweaked as things change. Full-time troops could more easily train for new missions and equipment than Guard troops, and they could do so with the assurance that sufficient heavy divisions are available if needed.
This would have the added effect of removing many Guard units from the rotation of deployments to the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I think in the long run that’s a benefit. You’d probably have to grow the active Army a bit more, but, again, that’s long overdue in any event.