In the coming years the United States will be compelled to reduce the size of its military forces. A central issue is whether in downsizing the end result is whether this leads to a less efficient army or can we achieve a bigger bang for less money? Outgoing Chief of Staff, George Casey accepted the reality, “we know the budget has to come down, ” but his concern the need to “be very, very careful that we don’t inadvertently hollow out the force as we try to reduce the resources.” The US Army has been told by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates they must function by 2016 with 46,000 fewer soldiers. Reality is that our armed forces spend more money than all the other armed forces in the world combined. Surely, this is tad bit excessive. Perhaps, the starting point is not initially stating the number who must leave, but creating a 21st century armed force that deals with 21st century issues and conflicts rather than one which thinks in WWII terms of tanks and artillery.
During the past fifty years the only president who significantly reduced the military budget was Dwight Eisenhower, who led British and American forces in Europe during WWII. Eisenhower once told John Kennedy that he should understand that officers always want “more” regardless of the problem. We need a smaller, faster, and more effective armed force to deal with 21st century conflicts.