The determined pursuit of a “peace dividend” where there is none to be had is likely to cut Army combat power — as expressed by number of combat brigades — approximately in half in the next five years.
Both active-duty and National Guard brigades face the ax, in order to increase funds available for national priorities: so-called poverty programs, corporate welfare for crony capitalists, and other direct payments to individuals.
Gen. John Campbell, the Army’s vice chief of staff and second highest-ranking member, in an interview with The Hill said the service is already planning to make cuts to its combat brigades, basic Army units of 5,000 soldiers that can be deployed and sustain themselves overseas.
Campbell did not say exactly how few active-duty brigades the Army could afford to have with the smaller Army, which is being cut from 510,000 soldiers currently.
But he said the number of brigades would have to be reduced to below 32, the number tied to a troop strength of 490,000. The Army had 45 brigades last year.
“That 32 is tied to 490,000 not 450,000. … At 450,000 or 420,000 we can’t keep the same amount,” Campbell said.
A Feb. 28 report from the Congressional Research Service cited an Army briefing suggesting active-duty brigades could be cut to 24 with an Army of 420,000 soldiers in 2019.
Cutting active-duty brigades by that much could dramatically alter U.S. capabilities overseas.
For example, the Army might not be able to keep two active-duty brigades in Europe.
That would send a negative signal to Eastern Europe, where fears about Russia have grown with that country’s military intervention in Ukraine.
It would leave the Pentagon with much fewer brigades to deploy around the world for military and humanitarian work. It would also reduce opportunities for training, and could limit U.S. support for some international missions.
The Congressional Research Service report said a 420,000-soldier Army would also mean reducing National Guard brigade combat teams (BCTs) to 22.
“An Army force structure of 24 [active] and 22 [reserve] BCTs lacks the capacity to conduct simultaneous major combat operations while defending the nation at home, sustaining minimal presence in critical regions, and retaining a Global Response Force (1 BCT) at the direction of the commander-in-chief,” the paper said.
The following is notable because the Center for a New American Security is a Democrat-partisan, Obama-positive think tank created as an alternative to old-fashioned think tanks that focused on obsolete things like strategy, and not on how awesome President Boyfriend is. And even they are not on board with it:
Nora Bensahel, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the impact of cuts would depend on exactly what kind of brigades are cut.
For example, she said, cutting light infantry brigades would mean less capability to conduct counterinsurgency wars, while cutting heavy armored brigades would mean fewer tanks to use in a possible contingency.
“If you have a scenario that requires tanks, and you don’t have enough, our forces will do less well, and more people will get killed,” Bensahel said.
Of course, the “more people will get killed” bit, is all academic to amoral, self-serving parasites like Nora Bensahel, embedded in the Beltway gravy like a tick in an epidermal layer. She’s not going to get killed. Nobody she knows or cares about is going to get killed. It’ll be a bunch of chumps who didn’t even get into a second-tier school, as the Nora Bensahels of the world rate it.