A recently released report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, “Strategic Choices: Navigating Austerity,” argues that allowing some hollowing out of our military forces is acceptable.
The report is raising eyebrows around Washington, mainly because it is so at odds with what Pentagon leadership is saying.
The individuals who published this report—retired military officers and independent policy experts—are normally a voice of reason, bringing reality where sitting officials are at times driven by political concerns. They have the opportunity to apply historical context and experience without the pull of day-to-day issues. In this case, they seem to have reversed course. The “experts” have completely divorced themselves from any historical experience and have cavalierly made up their own facts.
The report calls for sacrificing training and “current readiness”—i.e., allowing the force to hollow out—in order to somehow be prepared for a future conflict. The money saved would be used to buy things that would make us ready for future challenges. The idea seems to be retaining personnel, but not training or equipping them to do their missions.