Army officials maintain a positive can-do spirit, even though funding is lacking and Washington is cutting the Army’s budget.
Today is the Birthday of the United States Army: 235 years and counting. All of us owe the Army a big Hooah! (that’s the Army’s battle cry) and thank you.
The Army, after all, is bearing the brunt of the burden for two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, while simultaneously undergoing its greatest transformation since the Second World War. And it is doing all this despite being shortchanged financially with a relative budget share (25% roughly) that hasn’t changed much in recent decades.
Yet, as I’ve been arguing for at least the past year, 21st Century conflicts are inherently land-based and ground-intensive. Thus, America requires a much bigger and a far more capable or modern Army (to include the Reserve and National Guard).
The Washington elite, however, disagree. The elite military analysts and pundits, you see, are afflicted with a Cold War mindset and big-war-itis. They don’t believe in counterinsurgency warfare and nation-building — and they especially don’t believe in the protracted conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Washington elite envision a big war with China in which air and naval operations are decisive, and for this reason, discount the importance of Army ground forces. The Washington elite are wrong: Future conflicts will be more like Iraq and Afghanistan, not China; and America has paid a steep price for the elite’s failure to lead.
But the Army — and, indeed, all of the military services — are paying an even more exorbitant price. Their budgets are being cut, even as spending on entitlements and social-welfare programs skyrockets. To the Army’s undying credit, the service has maintained a positive, can-do spirit despite being stretched thin financially and operationally.
In any case, every military service has its virtues. The Army can boast that it is the most democratic — and therefore, perhaps, the most American — of all the military services. Hooah!