Thomas Donnelly and Frederick Kagan hit a home run with their analysis and recommendations in yesterday's New York Post - The Proud, The Few -- Stretched to its Limits, Our Military Needs One Million Men.
First up -- setting it straight -- defining vs. ignoring the problem.
The fix-the-military argument was recently made at greater length by the New York Times. On May 18, the paper's editorialists noted that the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a serious toll on the Army and Marine Corps, wearing down not only people but equipment "at an unprecedented rate." Well, the loss rates would not have been surprising to the defenders of Bastogne, the armies at Antietam, or the servicemen and women in any other major war, but it is true that US land forces have been asked to do too much with too little for too long.
The question is how we should respond to this fact. The Times and its anti-war allies argue that the remedy is not to expand the force to meet the wartime mission, but to reduce the mission to what a small force can handle, consistent with a decent family life, defense budgets constrained to historic lows and peacetime recruitment and promotion "standards."
In other words, let's not fix the problem. Let's give up.
And second up, the solution.
The Army and the Marines are indeed under great stress, but, as service leaders, officers, and sergeants-major take great pains to explain, they are far from broken. If anything, the tactical performance and discipline of US forces in the field has improved significantly in recent years. The Iraq surge is a case study of counterinsurgency warfare planned and executed brilliantly. Broken forces do not conduct such operations. From the level of team and squad to supreme command, US forces have adapted themselves remarkably to a war they were not at first ready to fight. In retrospect what is remarkable is how resilient and flexible the all-volunteer, professional force has proven to be.
The compelling reason to reinvest in America's Army and Marine Corps is not to withdraw and prepare for the "next war," but to build land forces capable of sustaining and prevailing in the so-called "Long War," the effort to secure more legitimate governments, and thus a more durable stability, in vital regions like the Persian Gulf.
So what does a Long War land force look like?
To begin with, it's bigger. Much bigger...
Read the rest here.