According to a plan recently announced by the United States Defense Department, active-duty members of the Army would be reduced from 520,000 to 450,000-440,000; the Army National Guard would shrink from 355,000 to 335,000; and the Army Reserves would reduce their numbers from 205,000 to 195,000, for a total reduction of approximately 100,000 individuals.
This is an ill-conceived plan that will severely diminish our military’s ability to quickly and efficiently react to threats around the world.
We live in a world of ever-advancing technology. Conflicts are no longer fought between clearly-differentiated opponents, but are waged by terrorist organizations, hackers and other groups with fluid leadership bases that are difficult to engage.
Additionally, our world is not stabilizing. China’s economic and military influence is continuing to grow; Russia is becoming more aggressive as it seeks to seize the Crimean Peninsula; North Korea tested nuclear missiles last year; and Syria’ civil war is now a three-year-old conflict. While we’re certainly not advocating that the United States engage in these conflicts and potential conflicts with troop deployments, our military certainly needs to be prepared to do so, if necessary. Reducing our military personnel by 100,000 individuals is not the answer to these issues.
Granted, the Pentagon has had to reduce it’s budget by about $37 million. However, there are more creative solutions to cutting spending than reducing personnel. Additionally, Congress should reevaluate the Defense Department’s budget and allocate more resources toward our national defense.
While a slight reduction in forces seems like a natural reaction to the reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan, cuts this deep, this quickly, will have a negative effect on our military’s readiness and ability to engage in long-term conflicts.
This opinion is that of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be reached at email@example.com.