Academic journal article Military Review

Quality over Quantity and Hedges

Academic journal article Military Review

Quality over Quantity and Hedges

Article excerpt

Currently, the United States fields an arny of unprecedented quality; however, the time might come when the nation will need a force predicated on quantity, as it did during World War II. Brown argues that during mobilization when the Army transitions from a quality force to a quantity force, the nation must rely on hedges-highly credible military alternatives to either quality or quantity-that comensate for acknowledged but accepted shortfalls in military capability.

A PERRENNIAL defense question is "how much is enough?" What precentage of precious national resources should the U.S. Government devote to defense? This is a particularly vexing question when an exceptionally broad array of defense-policy choices are available and when there are many compelling national competitors for resources.

The quandary increases as attractive emerging capabilities offer hope in upgrading aging U.S. land. sea, and air power. Adding to the dilemma is that the new options claim to be the font of genuine Transformation. So, how much of which-and when-will ensure the desirable future? Which are "must" acquisitions, and which can be deferred until a more certain need emerges? And what should we buy?

Equally important, in which defense areas do we defer capabilities? What should we not buy? Where should we accept shortfalls, confident that we can develop the requisite national-defense capability-- the necessary hedge-required to win (to get well) faster than can our competitors?1

Defense shortfalls are dangerous. Neglecting defense preparation can quickly become a slippery slope leading to military impotence. We simply cannot permit shortfalls to endanger present capabilities.

Immediately available military capabilities deter those tempted to damage important U.S. interests. Deciding where to make cuts so as not to impair important existing capabilities (and if the cuts turn out to be in the wrong areas, taking measures to correct the situation) are important issues of national-- defense policy.

America's Army is a unique product composed of soldiers honed from a democracy that reflects the values of the nation, the states, the Federal republic, and the continent. What does this mean for U.S. land power when balancing the weight of "how much is enough?" Should the time that elapses until a peer competitor arises be a time of land-power quality or of quantity?

By land-power quantity, I mean land power sufficient to win rapidly against ant combination of opponents rapidly with available forces (forces-in-- being) when the National Command Authority (NCA) directs. On the other hand, land-power quality includes having fewer forces but greater capabilities that are on the absolute front edge of contemporary technologies.

If the answer is a smaller, qualitatively superior force, then how do we correct known deficiencies to restore military supremacy if that answer proves wrong? at are-the necessary hedges?

Quality and quantity are highly subjective terns often subject to misinterpretation and distortion. One person's quality becomes another's gold plating. To a critic, a focus on quantity Could be interpreted as the military's reliance on ill-prepared, ineffective forces used as cannon fodder.

The World War II Army best represents national focus on quantity. Protected by sea power, we built an enormous military capability with which to defeat the Axis Powers. Drafted soldiers were representative of all strata of U.S. society.

As manifested In equipment, such as tanks and aircraft, quantity generated its own quality in tactical excellence. Today, quantity Can include active standing forces across all battlefield operating systems (BOS) that are Immediately available to fight and win simultaneously in multiple theaters and can maintain that capability irrespective of threat buildups.

On the other hand, quality can be considered as being the following:

* The "best," not just the "satisfactory" of important components of military capability. …

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