Today, Sunday, NBC News decided to lead with Obama’s transforming the military mission for the US, as they put it. Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, implies that the military will “remake itself” in response to Presidential direction. Well, there are so many wrongs in this description that they must be identified at once.
No president unilaterally transforms any part of government, much less the military.
The military doesn’t “remake itself” as some sort of default.
Certain economic facts are forcing the US to reconsider all aspects of government, and securing America is a high priority under present constraints.
The place to begin the discussion about American security. American citizens need, want, and expect 100% security. Today, the protection is offered in layers:
- Economic security by private and public enterprise partnership
- National security by military means
- National security secrecy and security forces
- Homeland security by a combination of protection services and systems
- State law enforcement
- Local law enforcement
It is easy to become confused by how this works, set aside economic security for a different discussion.
National security is a consumer product. Citizens benefit from it 24/7/352 continuously. We may take it for granted, although that is hard to imagine because the Pentagon and news about military services is a daily occurrence.
The Department of Defense and the military services have evolved over time, and are in a continuous state of reinvention in response to changing needs. Like all federal government bureaucracies, the defense department takes on a life of its own with a number of players having hands on the operation:
- Executive branch
- Legislative branch
- Military bureaucracy
- Military industrial complex
Presently, the President of the United States has no training, education, or military experience other than that which he has learned on the job, supported by his appointees, Congress, and the bureaucracy that includes the considerable military industrial complex.
Any decisions about military transformation begin with America’s financial condition. It is influenced by world conditions and events and our foreign policy. Foreign policy that is managed by the State Department drives a good portion of military matters and is reflected in 43% of the military budget.
What America needs is a non partisan expert analysis of military force requirements, based upon projected foreign policy needs and world trends and events. The process should include representatives from all of the players.
It would be desirable to see an expert team begin with expected outcomes and then determine processes needed to produce them, followed by attribution with people, systems, and technologies after which costs are determined.
Don’t assume the existence of any of the current organizations: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Those organizations are historical legacy. Start from a greenfield to determine the military structure for the future.
Imagine the possibility of one unified force with special purpose divisions. Imagine reducing the leadership duplication and redundancies to produce tremendous savings while yielding a much more effective and agile fighting force. That should be America’s dream today.
“Obama transforms mission as military struggles to remake itself
By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News
In two major speeches, President Obama sent strong signals this week about what he envisions for the military in a post-Sept. 11 era, a new path which can be described in a word: downsized.
The president said the United States will have stricter limits on drone attacks overseas and telegraphed a new emphasis on fighting terrorism, based more on focusing on targeted, isolated threats and less on an over-arching projection of force.
Just as the government’s mission is changing, so is that of the U.S. military.
Both are shrinking in scale.”