Fascinating read. I will file this away to re-read again on December 1, 2016.
Regarding this excerpt on SOF – we could probably go from 68.000 to 55,000 without cutting the numbers of the operational force of Special Forces, SEALs, SWCCs, Rangers, Marine Special Operations Teams, Air Commandos, CCT, PJ's, STTs etc. And I especially like the focus on education. But regarding the 68,000 number we really should be talking about the size of the operational force because the vast majority of that 68,000 number are not "operators" but the more it is repeated the more the public thinks there are 68,000 special operators running around the world which of course is not at all accurate.
Special Operations Command. The special operations community has grown in value and size over the last decade. The valor and value of our Special Operators is unquestionable. But we must be cognizant that it is not always the right tool to fix all problems. To keep its special status, especially as the size of the conventional force shrinks, and where it gets its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines from, we propose a decrease in its size from 68,000 to 55,000. However, key modernization programs for aviation and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets will be increased. We also tasked the National Defense University with sourcing a world-class education system for our experts in the Human Domain.
Defense Reorganization Under Sequestration: A Speech by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on December 1, 2016
Frank G. Hoffman is a Washington-based national security analyst and a member of FPRI’s Board of Advisors.
Michael P. Noonan is Director of FPRI’s national security program.
This “speech” by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressing the National Press Club in Washington DC on December 1, 2016 is, obviously, a work of fiction. With that having been said, the recommendations made here may very well be necessary in order to align U.S. military means to budgetary ends under the realities of sequestration and the Budget Control Act. The suggested force structure recommendations are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of any organizations they may represent.
Guests, members of the press and media, and most importantly, my fellow Americans…….
Now that the election is over, and we’re in the interregnum between the outgoing and incoming Administrations, the time has come for me to address a profound challenge facing our nation: the serious decline in the readiness of our Armed Forces. Our national security strategy, issued last year by the outgoing Administration, remains a comprehensive and accurate list of the key strategic objectives for our Nation. However, it is not rationally tied to any priorities nor to the means that the Nation is willing to tax itself to pay for. Its aspirations are beyond reach, and poorly linked to our security appropriations. Thus, a growing gap has been created between the missions that we in the Armed Forces of the United States are assigned, and those that we can actually execute. This yawning gap places our security at peril, and I am duty bound to report this simple fact to our Nation’s leaders in both the Executive Branch and Congress.
As I say this, let me stress that I am also duty bound by custom and the professional ethos of our country’s military to offer a possible solution to this serious and growing problem.
After coming to this assignment upon the sudden resignation of my predecessor, I have gained a steadily greater insight to why he chose to take the position of principle that he did. The Chiefs and I collectively have come to feel that the time has come for both the Executive Branch and Congress to acknowledge the harm that the inability to conclude any effective legislative agreements over the last four years has had on our Nation’s defense, and to take responsibility for the steady demise of our ability to meet our strategic objectives.
We have watched with growing alarm the significant damage that sequestration is doing to the force, as recruiting declines, retention of our experienced and capable junior leaders past their basic obligation sinks toward zero, maintenance backlogs spike, and our combat readiness is degraded. Half the Air Force’s flying squadrons are not combat ready, our Fleet size is now projected to be 215 ships, and the Army has cancelled all combat exercises at the National Training Center, our premier training evolution. The Marine Corps has grounded its MV-22 fleet for lack of parts and massive readiness concerns, and the last three Marine Expeditionary Units deployed on 2 instead of 3 ships due to a collapse of naval maintenance in our amphibious fleet. None of those units were Special Operations Certified despite dire requests from the regional commanders for such training qualifications. To be completely direct: three years of political deadlock and legislative paralysis has undermined our ability to preserve our position in the world, and badly damaged our influence and our ability to defend ourselves. Frozen pay and sharply reduced benefits, cuts to force levels, reduced training and wholesale cuts in procurement and research accounts have left us poorly prepared to execute any national security strategy.
(Continued at the link below)