What We Need: Extravagance and Shortages in America's Military

By Gourley, Scott R. | Army, December 2007 | Go to article overview

What We Need: Extravagance and Shortages in America's Military


Gourley, Scott R., Army


What We Need: Extravagance and Shortages in America's Military. Barrett Tillman. Zenith Press. 254 pages; index; $27.95.

It's a case of good news/bad news/ worse news. The good news is that the Army is able to continue its transformation at the same time that it supports its warfighters around the globe. The bad news is that the transformation is happening so quickly that it is often misunderstood by outside observers. And the worse news is that a lack of understanding doesn't stop some of those observers from publishing broad declarations about the future of the U.S. Army. A case in point can be found in Barrett Tillman's What We Need: Extravagance and Shortages in America's Military.

In a broad examination of DoD program activities, Tillman challenges several aspects of the status quo, ranging from force structure to materiel. As one example, he draws on his strong background and expertise in naval and Air Force aviation to challenge priorities assigned to new aircraft programs like the F-22A or F-35, arguing instead that a much greater need exists for more cargo aircraft and air tankers rather than fighters.

While many of Tillman's arguments may be compelling, they are seriously flawed and, in some cases, egregiously wrong-such as when he shifts his attention to the U.S. Army.

In fact, when it comes to ground forces, the book serves as a textbook example of the dangers of Internet research and blog monitoring.

Perhaps the worst examples of errors and misunderstandings involving the Army can be found in the section titled, "We Don't Need Future Combat Systems." Lead systems integrators and all members of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) team might be painfully amused to read statements like: "Northrop Grumman's [sic] immensely complex FCS is described as 'a network of networks.'"

But it's not just that Tillman credits the wrong contractor for the programhe then goes on to assert that FCS "includes Future Force Warrior . …

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