The US Defense Secretary under pressure from the Obama administration wants to cut from the current 522,000 Army soldiers to a little less than 450,000. This would mean that the US Army manpower will be at the same size as it was in World War II.
Department of Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, is proposing to shrink the Army rosters along with closing Army bases.
However, General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, mentioned “many have the misperception that the Army is no longer busy. People tend to think that the Army is out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that there is not much going on.”
Many are left to wonder if our global military readiness will be strong enough in the future. Especially when Russia and China are building their military defenses… all-the-while the United States is slashing military budgets.
One thing is for sure, the Army had only 267,000 soldiers a year prior to World War II. Then within a year it surged to 1.46 million.
Of course, there was a ‘draft’ that helped with this sweeping manpower build up. The big question today if there was such a draft, would it work? Does today’s pool of potential soldiers have the same patriotic desires as then? Are today’s youth in as good physical condition when reportedly more than 40% of military prospects are not qualified today? All to say, if there was a mad sweep to bulk up our military… could we?
In recent years, we simply offered cash bonuses or financial incentives for service members to stay in. However today the military budget is clearly no longer the priority as it once was. Worst, there may not be sufficient funding as the United States deficit continues to glow red ink. With political leadership that assumes little or no responsibility for these problems, the resolve may be fleeting and waiting for the next generation.