by Allen West
Current defense spending adjusted for inflation has been higher than at the height of the Reagan administration. The problem is that defense spending has been producing less than half of the forces and capabilities of those years.
As former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman writes in the Wall Street Journal:
There is one great numerical advantage the U.S. has against potential adversaries …the size of our defense bureaucracy. While the fighting forces have steadily shrunk by more than half since the early 1990s, the civilian and uniformed bureaucracy has more than doubled.
Lehman points out there are more than 1,500,000 full-time civilian employees, 800,000 civil servants and 700,000 contract employees in the Defense Department In the military, more than half of our active duty service members are in offices and staffs, yet we are cutting the “trigger-pullers” and the capability and capacity to fight.
We reported here that Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno admitted we have only two trained and combat ready brigades, and the Army had not trained in 6 months. We also reported cuts to Marine combat formations — namely artillery and armor — and the potential cutting of 5-6 Marine combat infantry battalions, their core war fighting unit.
The many failures and disappointments of American policy in recent years, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Iran are symptoms of the steady shrinkage of the shadow cast by American military power and the fading credibility and deterrence that depends on it.
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