Pentagon Lets Services Keep Their Pet Programs Military Strategy It Lays out Is on Conservative Side

By Harry Levins Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 2, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Pentagon Lets Services Keep Their Pet Programs Military Strategy It Lays out Is on Conservative Side


Harry Levins Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The Pentagon's road map into the near future illustrates again how conservatively military people think.

The map was made public Monday under the official title of the Quadrennial Defense Review. It's a guide to spending priorities - and thus, to military strategy - in the coming lean years of military budgets.

Basically, the review boils down to: Same Old Stuff, Different Numbers. One Force, Two Wars When work started on the review, some people thought the Pentagon might scrap its insistence on being ready to fight two wars at the same time. But two-wars-at-once remains in the new review. This strategy is formally known as Two MRC - "major regional conflicts," clashes of Desert Storm proportions. The Pentagon wants to be able to counter the Iraqis (or Iranians) while simultaneously clobbering the North Koreans. Trouble is, one Desert Storm badly strained the armed forces in 1990-91. After Desert Storm, some military people questioned the two-war strategy. They called it an unlikely scenario that put impossible demands on the armed forces. Even so, the Pentagon is sticking with the two-war strategy, probably out of conservative pessimism. Military people always plan for the worst case; they look at an enemy's capabilities, not his intentions. Yes, the Iraqis and the North Koreans are unlikely to make mischief at the same time. But they can, and that's what military people plan for - wh at an enemy can do, not what he's likely to do. Why? Because war is, very literally, a matter of life and death. Planners who cut corners and guess wrong can kill a lot of young soldiers. Thus, the two-war strategy. It sends a message to the Middle East and North Korea: If one of you starts a war, the other shouldn't bank on a distracted America. Whether Monday's review fortifies the message with enough people and money remains an open question. Sacrifice And Salami On Friday, Defense Secretary William Cohen said, "We are not going to have any salami-slicing." But Monday's review gives off a strong whiff of salami. Salami-slicing is the bureaucrat's term for across-the-board budget cuts, in which sacrifice is doled out in equal portions. Salami-slicing causes less ruckus than hacking some programs entirely so that others can be kept (or added) in their entirety. But Monday's review lets the services keep their pets: The Navy and Marines will get their new F/A-18E, the Super Hornet, albeit in reduced numbers. The Air Force will get its new F-22 Raptor, in reduced numbers. The Navy will keep all 12 of its carrier battle groups while mothballing some surface ships. The Army will keep all 10 of its divisions. The Marines will keep all three of their divisions. The big aerospace firms will get, at some point early in the coming century, the Joint Strike Fighter - still a futuristic paper design up for grabs between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, with millions at stake for a huge supporting cast of subcontractors. Given the tight budgets, something will have to give. The Navy, Air Force and Army will shed more than 58,000 people. If that falls short of paying for the force structure and new weapons, the services probably will cut their budgets for training and operations. Pilots fly fewer hours; soldiers maneuver less often; sailors stay at sea longer; efficiency and morale fall together. Some military people would rather hang on to older weapons and spend the savings on tough training.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Pentagon Lets Services Keep Their Pet Programs Military Strategy It Lays out Is on Conservative Side
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?