One of the more interesting posts Snafu Solomon has posted lately is this: http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.de/2016/01/us-army-too-small-i-have-no-sympathy.html
To sum up the gist of his words, I will quote the less acerbic remark here:
So the Association of the US Army finally decided to raise their heads out of the foxhole and call bullshit on what’s happening? I say suck it up sunshine! You had your chance to make a difference!
The problem here is that Solomon seems to think it is only about the size of the Army in GEN Sullivan’s speech. It is not. The Army has been small before, and the Army has contracted after major conflicts wound down before. What is different this time is that Congress is resourcing a peace time Army and the President is pushing a war time agenda for the entire DOD. GEN Sullivan’s speech is about the consequences of policy, the size of the Army, and the resourcing of that Army, must reflect the actual foreign policy needs of the nation.
The world exists in a state of war, and America has involved itself in more years of war than peace through various actions by the Department of War and later the successor Department of Defense. By one account, over the course of the history of the United States of America we have been at war 93% of the time, with a scant 22 years of peace in our entire history: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm
But the Army has been here before. After Vietnam the US Army still had many obligations to NATO and the security of Europe. The US Army, demoralized, shrinking, underfunded, continued. It continued while the best and brightest of her Officer left the service, leaving behind a generation of men dedicated beyond logic.
The Army at the end of the Cold War shrank. The USAF shrank, laying off up to a third of some officers by year group. The US Navy Shrank. The peace dividend of the 90s became a restructuring era where technology was adopted, pushed, and units stood prepared to answer President Clinton’s “cut the Army in half and doubled deployments” foreign policy stance. And yet the Army endured, as the bulk of those deployments were not resource not combat intensive, although nation building and stability operations have their own drain on the soul.
The Army will get through this, and the current budgetary woes will be the stuff of memory for another generation of Soldiers who know that in peacetime we will struggle to maintain readiness in the face of restricted budgets, and in wartime we will struggle to maintain budgetary discipline in the face of largess.
What the Army needs most now is resourcing commensurate with the mission load. Every six months Brigade rotates to Europe for Operation Atlantic Resolve. Every nine months a Battalion rotates to Korea. Every nine months a Battalion rotates to the Sinai. The foreign policy stance is requiring a DOD that is more fully engaged in the world, working and training with partners and allies. But the Army is being budgeted for a peace dividend, despite there being no peace to be had, at any cost.