The National Commission on the Future of the Army has Spoken

"We're too broke for training ammo, but our graphics design budget is going strong!"

“We’re too broke for training ammo, but our graphics design budget is going strong!”

The what? Yeah, apparently Congress set up such a thing. A friend of ours was tasked to provide a report to it, and notes that after that, the Commission staff went radio silent; members were sworn to secrecy. At least, until their product dropped Friday.

Looking at their product, you have to wonder: sworn to secrecy, why? It would be hard to generate a more anodyne document, even with a larger and duller committee; this committee was clearly large enough and dull enough that it could scarcely be improved upon, at least, in those critical metrics. The commissioners junketed to sites where they could expect to find Army stakeholders, including Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Hawaii. A plurality of its public meetings, though, were held in DC so that an army (no pun intended) of lobbyists could bill their clients.

The Commission was asked to address two big issues:

  1. How the Army should best organize and employ the Total Force in a time of declining resources.
  2. Whether the Army should proceed with the transfer of AH-64 Apache aircraft from the reserve components to the Regular Army, as directed by the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative.1

NCFA-COVERART

Its report is here and it’s a typical Beltway snore from typical Beltway trough feeders: three retired four-stars, one retired three-star, a few politicians in the form of former service secretaries, a guy who was a military officer for three years and had never held a job in the productive economy since, an Illinois lawyer-lobbyist representing whoever paid him, and a few other Beltway insiders.

Naturally, their basic conclusion is: don’t do much of anything. Fiddle around the margins, and cut a couple hundred thousand in end strength (active and reserve components total).

They do identify some challenges ahead, like demographics.

RAND Corporation projections show that by 2025, the military age population will decline by 2.1 percent for ages 17–24, and 3.1 percent for ages 23–27, even as the total population grows. This decline in the recruiting-eligible population is particularly concerning given that less than half of the military age population is eligible for military service due to physical, educational, or behavioral fitness (e.g. criminal records).

Increased disqualifications for health will overwhelm small improvements in educational attainment and aptitude (as assessed by the Armed Forces Qualification Test). The military’s recent decision to allow women into all combat roles may slightly increase the eligible population, but women might not voluntarily join direct combat career fields in overly large numbers.2

Gee. Ya think? Is it just occurring to these geniuses now that feminizing the combat arms is going to provide full employment for every Woman in Sensible Shoes® in America (at least, the subset of them that can meet a height/weight standard, as opposed to the usual Fireplugs in Sensible Shoes®), while making a large enough number of young men lose interest, that the math comes up short every time?

But that’s OK. they’re looking for ways to lower the bar to meet the recruit.

The military could relax some criteria (e.g. tattoo restrictions or body piercings) without harming the quality of recruited personnel, but significant changes in the standards for physical fitness will likely result in a less-capable force. However, there may be room for carefully considered adjustments to physical standards for specific career fields, such as cyberspace operations.

Ah, that’s the ticket; they’ll just drop the standards to zero for the Cheetos-powered specialties like cyber and drone operators.

Look, we’re already dropping the standards off a cliff to open everything to women. Why not just bin the height and weight standards, and then our recruiting pool opens up to the other 95% of Fireplugs in Sensible Shoes®. Heck, that could bring ROTC to Smith for the first time!

The Army will continue to have the most difficult recruiting challenge within the Department of Defense based on the volume of enlistments needed and public perceptions concerning risk to the force.3

Translation: The fact that a fellow can get himself killed doing this, kind of undermines the sales pitch.

And in Europe, where 90% of the Cold War USAREUR strength is gone:

europe_army_drawdown

Buy hey, we’ve got Smart Diplomacy™, although it does seem to be smart only in the Idiocracy universe.

There are some substantive reforms in the report’s dozens of recommendations, although many of the recommendations are empty pablum and others are just screwy (they’re pushing the Army’s latest personnel-mega-computer-system boondoggle, which promises that Army paperwork will still be all screwed up, but a huge array of beltway “facilitators” and lawyer-lobbyists will be making serious money. But recommendations to integrate the Guard and Reserve more closely would be something worthwhile to pursue.

Of course, the devil is in the details, which are sometimes contradictory.

On the Apache question, they may actually have come up with a good idea — a better idea than either the turf-grab proposed by the Active Army, or the turf-defense that the National Guard Bureau countered with — but it needs a little more reading before we can write up a post on that, if we ever do. Interested parties should read that part of the document with an open mind.

Their suggestion of a system in which individuals can go back and forth between active and reserve component system service according to their desires and service needs is utopian in all senses of the word. It just can’t be done in the Army’s antiquated and over-legislated personnel system. (Any reform of the system that does not cut personnel officer and enlisted billets by 90% and automate their jobs isn’t enough).

And finally, consider this small plug for the Surveillance State:

The Army does not gain or share information with other government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, to maintain contact information for IRR members.4

Uh, no thanks. The IRS is rogue enough without having it share its data with every other bureaucrat who thinks he’s been touched by the Good Idea Fairy™.

And then there’s all the knob-polishing for a feckless senior leadership. did you know that they’re not planning cuts? Oh, no, they’re “garnering efficiencies from a smaller force.” The parrot isn’t dead; he’s just meeting SECARM energy-conservation standards.

In the end, it probably doesn’t matter. Most of these recommendations will be stillborn; institutional DC couldn’t successfully organize a lemonade stand. But hey, a gang of retired generals and lawyer/lobbyists got a free all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii out of it. There is that.

Notes

  1. Adapted from p. 13.
  2. P. 72.
  3. P. 72.
  4. P. 80.

9 thoughts on “The National Commission on the Future of the Army has Spoken

  1. S

    “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    The political message from Oregon has surely sunk in, yes? Nice little insurrectionist leader you have there, be a shame if anything happened to him, eh? Sit down, shut up, pay tribute, or we’ll ruin you, harass you, take your kids, and kill you if you persist. We’ll run ops like this to flush out malcontents and make examples of them. We’ll get away with it and be applauded doing it, because there are so many weaselly rationalisations available. If they don’t accuse you of being a conspiracy theorist, then they’ll condemn you as a rebel. Either way, as long as the power stays on and the perks flow, and one can insulate oneself from direct culpability for anything, then a little tyranny is ok. Sieg Heil! Oceania was always at war with Eurasia! Support our loyal brave troops, and the chocolate ration has been increased to 25 grams!

    1. Distant Thunder

      [eyeroll] No the “message from Oregon” remains what Hognose said it was in another entry here:

      “Cue the late Bobby Fuller: LaVoy Finicum fought the law, and the law won. Regardless of who did what, he’s still dead, and there were many times he could have made a decision that would not have left him dead, regardless of what the FBI did or intended. (Except for the occasional sociopath who slips through, and contrary to what a lot of Bundy supporters seem to think about them, Special Agents are not fangs-out hoping to kill anybody).”

      If that roadblock was a planned execution, then everyone in that car would have been killed. But it wasn’t; Whatever one thinks of the charges filed, the FBI was trying to arrest those men to face said charges.

      Dump the paranoia, it doesn’t help.

      1. S

        Paranoia? Reviewing 6000 years of human history, it’s simple realism.

        I’d like to see the car and the body to count the bulletholes and measure the angles; hear the NSA tapes (they get everything); see the other video footage, unedited. If it were a clean shoot, such things would be more forthcoming already. That they aren’t, is telling, since if The Official Narrative were true, more corroboration than one tape would be helpful at this point. Not many people believe their crap anymore.

        Remember, these are the same folks that produced Benghazi, Gunwalker, the bulldog IRS, the BS TSA, the Home Email Server, the Lost Boats, yadayada…over here, it’s the rape’ugees, the antifa/SA, etc etc. It’s been mounting up for a long time, and paying it forward is just about over. Just staying out of it will be hard enough…at some point, the illusion of neutrality evaporates, since choosing to opt out is considered hostile by one or both sides of an issue.

        If Mr Finicum wanted a blaze of glory, he’d have done things differently. He wasn’t stupid, he was suckered, and he’s not the only one.

      2. Paul Rain

        Bullcrap. They only murdered one child and one nursing mother at Ruby Ridge.

        Just because they stop temporarily after each outrage, for fear of receiving the justice they so richly deserve, doesn’t mean that they don’t deliberately murder real humans (as they do).

  2. Nadnerbus

    You know, right now I can honestly, without sarcasm say I would prefer Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho as the president of these United States of Uhmerica. He might have had an IQ just north of a Mushroom, but he at least seemed like he was really concerned with finding solutions to pressing national policy issues, like the lack of burrito coverings. I get no similar sense of urgency from the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania.

    The bar has been dragged pretty low. Low enough that Donald freaking Trump has a shot at leader of the free world. I don’t know if even James Cameron can raise it this time.

  3. Bill T

    By gutting the military, especially the Army, it will be easier to arm and equip ALL the alphabet agencies to be “The Civilian Militarized Bureaucrats” armed as well as the Military that the Regime has stated that it WANTS 5 or 6 years ago. They bought enough ammo to do the trick and I’m sure that they have the firearms as well although that isn’t as easily documented.

    Keep a regular check on your “six”, establish rally points, spread your assets out but not too far, good luck and God Speed!

  4. Jjak

    The Army has a role to play with cyber, but trying to treat it like combat arms isn’t the right approach. We need cyber specialists good at cybering, not soldiering. Why, for instance, waste miney training most cyber folks on combat skills if they are in a stateside office on a computer their whole career?

    That’s why I’m a fan of most of our cyber folks not being in the current military service structure, but rather something specialized for the task. Some of wat Cyber Forces are/will have to deal with is related to Defense or Intelligence mandates, but a lot is Law Enforcement and Civil Defense (infrastructure and the like). Separating most cyber out of the current uniformed services also eliminates the need to treat them like soldiers in other things, like awards. Still would need some cyber in the current services to support their other activities though, like securing computer networks.

    Of course the gov will not manage to organise this in any way useful soon.

  5. The Old Man

    Love the “Cheetos-powered specialties” line.
    Any resemblance between the later Roman Empire legion status and the drift of the American defense forces is strictly viewed as a co-inky-dink by TPTB.
    God help us and ours.

  6. Jim Scrummy

    So, in the Cliff Notes version of the report, we’re screwed. Good to know, I guess I need to buy more ammo.

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