Welcome to the Hollow Army

Under Jimmy Carter, slashing US military strength and undermining the clandestine service were national policy. Now, they're just a side effect of Congressional corruption.

Under Jimmy Carter, slashing US military strength, promoting totalitarians abroad, and undermining the clandestine service were national policy. Now, they’re just a side effect of Washington corruption.

The attached document describes what the current Washington fiscal management policy is doing to the Army.

Or, perhaps, we ought to recognize that we’re talking about the absence of any coherent national policy. 

(U)ArmyTalkingPointsforOperatingUnderFiscalUncertainty.

Here’s a small taste:

Cancellations in Individual Military Training would produce a backlog carried into FY14 and beyond. Army will fall short 513 aviators, ~4,000 Critical Military Intelligence trained Soldiers and will cancel fifteen (15) Field Artillery Training courses. Loss of training is not recoverable and leads to untrained soldiers assigned to units – a negative impact to near term readiness.

As crappy as that choice may be — to hollow out training budgets, 1970s-style — it’s less crappy than the other options facing the Army. The basic plan, in broad brush strokes, is to maintain the units in Afghanistan and one Division Ready Brigade of the 82nd Airborne as a worldwide rapid deployment force. The rest of the Army would be in all but caretaker status, with officers and soldiers doing minimal busywork in garrison and training at a standstill.

Why is this happening? Because there are no grownups at either end of the Mall in Washington. The entire focus of every member of Congress and Senator has been on lining their own pockets, and bedamned to the country. The Senate, in a model of childish leadership failure, hasn’t even attempted to write a budget in years. One Senator, dogged by credible rumors that he’s a kiddie-diddler, ought to hold his head up high: unlike his colleagues, at least he’s doing something (or is that, someone?).  The House, where spending bills are supposed to originate, is running in circles. The President is involved in his trademark activity: “leading from behind.”

The Army has no choice but to plan for the budget crisis produced by the irresponsibility, neglect of planning, and corrupt self-dealing that characterizes our politicians. The impact of the sequester on the Army side alone is likely to be over a million jobs erased, not just the 251,000 Army civilians who will be let go and the tens of thousands more contract and term workers, but the secondary-effect jobs that these folks’ employment produced in their communities.

The Army is not alone. The Navy loses a forward deployed carrier to the same financial mismanagement. The carrier is not going to the Arabian Gulf area — just as the Iranian ayatollahs peremptorily rejected an abject plea for negotiations from VP Biden, a plea that was everything but an offer of surrender terms.