Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
A Hollow Debate on Military Readiness, Cato Foreign Policy Briefing No. 62

A Hollow Debate on Military Readiness, Cato Foreign Policy Briefing No. 62

Ratings: (0)|Views: 157 |Likes:
Published by Cato Institute
Executive Summary

The 2000 election campaign has seen

the presidential candidates sparring over

the unlikely and arcane topic of military

readiness--the ability of military forces to

deploy quickly and perform initially their

wartime mission. The candidates are

already in a bidding war to see who can

throw the most money at the Pentagon.

However, the alleged shortage of funds

available to be spent on readiness is largely

illusory. Gaps in readiness could be

plugged without increasing the budget for

national defense. Vast amounts are already

being spent to give the United States bone-crushing

dominance over any other military

in the world.

"Pockets of unreadiness" in the U.S. military

have three causes: profligate commitment

of U.S. forces overseas, misallocation

of funds by the Pentagon and Congress,

and excessive readiness requirements. The

record pace of humanitarian interventions

and peacekeeping operations during the

Clinton administration has worn out

equipment and people, taken time and

money that could have been used to train

troops to fight a major war, and incurred

significant costs.

Also, money that could be spent on

training, spare parts, and other items to

remedy readiness gaps is wasted through

misallocation to less worthy objectives.

Excess military bases are retained, procurement

of defense items is inefficient, unnecessary

weapons are purchased, and too

much money is spent on military pay and

benefits. Finally, in the benign threat environment

of a post-Cold War world, U.S.

armed forces do not need to be kept in the

high states of readiness they were during

the Cold War.

If U.S. commitments overseas were

reduced, inefficient and wasteful defense

spending were eliminated, and post-Cold

War readiness goals were more realistic,

gaps between those goals and the state of

the forces could be eliminated without

increasing the defense budget.
Executive Summary

The 2000 election campaign has seen

the presidential candidates sparring over

the unlikely and arcane topic of military

readiness--the ability of military forces to

deploy quickly and perform initially their

wartime mission. The candidates are

already in a bidding war to see who can

throw the most money at the Pentagon.

However, the alleged shortage of funds

available to be spent on readiness is largely

illusory. Gaps in readiness could be

plugged without increasing the budget for

national defense. Vast amounts are already

being spent to give the United States bone-crushing

dominance over any other military

in the world.

"Pockets of unreadiness" in the U.S. military

have three causes: profligate commitment

of U.S. forces overseas, misallocation

of funds by the Pentagon and Congress,

and excessive readiness requirements. The

record pace of humanitarian interventions

and peacekeeping operations during the

Clinton administration has worn out

equipment and people, taken time and

money that could have been used to train

troops to fight a major war, and incurred

significant costs.

Also, money that could be spent on

training, spare parts, and other items to

remedy readiness gaps is wasted through

misallocation to less worthy objectives.

Excess military bases are retained, procurement

of defense items is inefficient, unnecessary

weapons are purchased, and too

much money is spent on military pay and

benefits. Finally, in the benign threat environment

of a post-Cold War world, U.S.

armed forces do not need to be kept in the

high states of readiness they were during

the Cold War.

If U.S. commitments overseas were

reduced, inefficient and wasteful defense

spending were eliminated, and post-Cold

War readiness goals were more realistic,

gaps between those goals and the state of

the forces could be eliminated without

increasing the defense budget.

More info:

Published by: Cato Institute on Mar 26, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/10/2014

pdf

text

original

 
 A Hollow Debate on Military Readiness
by Ivan Eland
 Ivan Eland is director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute.
No. 62
The 2000 election campaign has seenthe presidential candidates sparring overthe unlikely and arcane topic of militaryreadiness—the ability of military forces todeploy quickly and perform initially theirwartime mission. The candidates arealready in a bidding war to see who canthrow the most money at the Pentagon.However, the alleged shortage of fundsavailable to be spent on readiness is largelyillusory. Gaps in readiness could beplugged without increasing the budget fornational defense. Vast amounts are alreadybeing spent to give the United States bone-crushing dominance over any other mili-tary in the world.“Pockets of unreadiness” in the U.S. mil-itary have three causes: profligate commit-ment of U.S. forces overseas, misallocationof funds by the Pentagon and Congress,and excessive readiness requirements. Therecord pace of humanitarian interventionsand peacekeeping operations during theClinton administration has worn outequipment and people, taken time andmoney that could have been used to traintroops to fight a major war, and incurredsignificant costs.Also, money that could be spent ontraining, spare parts, and other items toremedy readiness gaps is wasted throughmisallocation to less worthy objectives.Excess military bases are retained, procure-ment of defense items is inefficient, unnec-essary weapons are purchased, and toomuch money is spent on military pay andbenefits. Finally, in the benign threat envi-ronment of a post–Cold War world, U.S.armed forces do not need to be kept in thehigh states of readiness they were duringthe Cold War.If U.S. commitments overseas werereduced, inefficient and wasteful defensespending were eliminated, and post–ColdWar readiness goals were more realistic,gaps between those goals and the state of the forces could be eliminated withoutincreasing the defense budget.
October 17, 2000
Executive Summary
 
Introduction
The 2000 election campaign has seen thepresidential candidates swapping salvos overa very unlikely and arcane topic—militaryreadiness. (“Readiness” is defined by the JointChiefs of Staff as the ability of military forcesto deploy quickly and perform initially inwartime as they were designed to do.)
1
Gov.George W. Bush declared, “The next presi-dent will inherit a military in decline.” VicePresident Al Gore shot back, “Our military isthe strongest and the best in the entireworld.” Then the squabble degenerated intoa debate over whether 2 of the Army’s 10 divi-sions were ready to fight. To date, the cam-paign debate over readiness has been pre-dictably vacuous and will probably result in abidding war to see who can throw the mostcash at the Pentagon for political gain.Does the Department of Defense reallyneed more money? The answer is a resound-ing no. One would never reach that conclu-sion, however, listening to the rhetoric of thepresidential candidates or the advocates of large increases in defense spending from 3 to4 percent of gross domestic product.
2
Although the military has experienced short-ages of personnel, spare parts, and training,the “readiness crisis” is largely illusory.Al Gore was making an understatementwhen he called the U.S. military the best in theworld. U.S. forces have bone-crushing domi-nance over any other military on the planet—including the large but hollow Russian forcesand an antiquated Chinese military that ismodernizing only slowly. The American mili-tary is more potent relative to its enemies thanwere the militaries of any great power in worldhistory—including the Roman Empire, 19th-century Britain, and Nazi Germany in 1940.Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor at the
 New Republic,
provides data that eloquently sum up
2
The campaigndebate overreadiness hasbeen predictablyvacuous and willprobably result ina bidding war tosee who canthrow the mostcash at thePentagon forpolitical gain.
Table 1Spending on National Defense: The Top Eight Nations (billions of dollars)
CountryAmount Spent in 1998
a
Rank United States270.21Total of countries 2 through 8264.3Russia
b
55.02France40.63Japan37.74China
b, c
37.55United Kingdom37.46Germany33.07Italy23.18
Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies,
The Military Balance: 1999–2000
(London:Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 10–11, 20, 52, 56, 61, 75, 112, 186, and 191.
a
NATO’s definition of defense spending was used for all nations. The year 1998 is the most recentyear for which standardized budgets were compiled.
b
The figure has been adjusted for purchasing-power parity.
c
Official Chinese defense spending is roughly $11 billion. If off-budget expenditures are included,total Chinese defense spending is about $37.5 billion.
 
U.S. dominance in the military realm:
Because of the dismal state of theRussian nuclear force and the robustnature of its U.S. counterpart, America’sstrategic nuclear deterrent is strongerrelative to the rest of the world than itwas at any time since the days of the U.S.nuclear monopoly in the late 1940s.
The United States has greater numbersof heavy bombers, advanced tacticalfighter aircraft, and aerial tankers thandoes the rest of the world combined.The U.S. military services have threeclasses of stealth aircraft alreadydeployed and three more in develop-ment; no other nation has even one onthe drawing board.
The U.S. Navy has more than twice thenumber of primary warships operatedby the Chinese and Russian naviescombined. The United States operates12 supercarriers; the only other largecarrier in the world is a decrepit ship inRussia. The U.S. Navy is the only navyin the world that is designed to regu-larly operate outside its own region.
The U.S. Army’s nearly 8,000 M-1Abrams tanks—the best armor in theworld—are more than the combinednumber of modern Chinese andRussian tanks.
The U.S. Marine Corps is the onlystanding heavy amphibious force inthe world.
3
Despite the post–Cold War cuts in theU.S. defense budget, the United Statesaccounts for about one-third of all militaryspending in the world. U.S. defense spendingis as much as the combined defense spendingof the next seven countries (Table 1). TheUnited States is spending about $300 billionper year. The next best militaries on the plan-et—those of our wealthy allies—spend only$20 billion to $40 billion a year and are afraidof falling so far behind U.S. forces that theywill no longer be able to operate with thoseforces. (The sums listed for Russia and Chinaare a bit misleading. The Russian military is adecrepit, hollow force, and the Chinese mili-tary is antiquated and modernizing onlyslowly.) The United States spends 19 timesthe combined amount spent by the “states of concern”—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan,Cuba, and North Korea.George W. Bush is correct when he citesgrowing problems with readiness in the mili-taryshortages of spare parts and training,problems with recruitment and retention of personnel, and low morale among thetroops. Yet it is a leap of logic to concludefrom those “pockets of unreadiness” that themilitary needs a budget increase. This paperwill examine the causes of readiness prob-lems and how they could be solved withoutincreasing the defense budget; in fact,defense spending could even be reducedwhile improving readiness.According to a recent report by theCongressional Budget Office, if the UnitedStates expects its military to be able to wintwo wars in quick succession and performfrequent peacekeeping missions (the currentnational strategy), as well as modernize eachpiece of equipment on a one-for-one basis,another $51 billion would need to be addedto the $289 billion spent on defense in fiscalyear 2000.
4
Some of the press coverage of thestudy erroneously reported that the CBOconcluded that the military was “woefullyunderfunded,”
5
and many hawks will trum-pet the finding as an endorsement of whop-ping increases in defense spending. CBO wascriticized by the Department of Defense forthe questionable assumption that each pieceof equipment would be modernized on aone-for-one basis (the military does not planto do so because the new high-tech weaponshave greater combat power than did the oldequipment).
6
If the one-for-one standardwere relaxed, the disparity between the fund-ing needed to sustain a modernized militaryand the current budget for national defensewould be less than $51 billion.
7
However, thereport is probably correct that the military isoverextended—that is, given the currentnational strategy, the force cannot be mod-
3
Although the mili-tary has experi-enced shortages of personnel, spareparts, and train-ing, the “readinesscrisis” is largelyillusory.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->