October 18, 2011
A MILITARY BUILT FOR WWII:The Case for a Leaner U.S. Military: Michael O'Hanlon argues that the U.S. should no longer plan to be able to fight two regional wars simultaneously. (Michael O'Hanlon, 10/17/11, Daily Beast)
How many wars does the United States really need to be able to fight at a time? We have just been waging two at once, but at least one of those was optional, and presumably Iraq has become a less likely future foe in any event.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has just said that he must continue, even in an era of severe defense-budget restraint, to plan U.S. ground forces with an eye toward being able to handle more than one at a time. This puts him right in the center of the modern U.S. defense-planning consensus. After the Cold War ended, defense secretaries as disparate as Cheney, Aspin, Perry, Cohen, Rumsfeld, and Gates (in other words, all of the last six) built their combat force structures around a two-regional-war logic--or at least that goal. They would usually describe the most likely adversaries as Saddam Hussein and the Kims of North Korea, though other scenarios were envisioned as well.
But now Saddam is gone.
Not only is Saddam gone, but his regime was dispatched within three weeks.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2011 7:12 AM
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