Last week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley presented the rifle of a fallen World War II soldier during a speech at an event hosted by the Association of the United States Army, a nonprofit advocacy group. The rifle was intended as an ominous reminder of the ever-looming possibility of global warfare.
“One hundred million people were killed in World War I and II,” he said. “We can never, ever have that kind of catastrophic failure of the international order, of the international system.”
Milley’s remarks echo a pervasive concern within certain circles in Washington, which is that, as a result of defense budget cuts under the Obama administration, the U.S. military is not prepared to prevent the outbreak of a third World War.
Congress addressed that concern in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 23. The act requires the Army to increase the number of active duty soldiers to 476,000 by Oct. 1. That’s a 16,000 boost from the previous end strength plan.
It’s going to be a busy year for Army recruiters; although, as Army Times notes, some of those numbers will be achieved through retention efforts.
The decision to grow the Army is not without its critics. In a statement released by the White House on Dec. 23, the same day the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was enacted, Obama called the troop increase unnecessary and counterproductive.
“Congress again failed to enact meaningful reforms to divest unneeded force structure, reduce wasteful overhead, and modernize military healthcare,” the president wrote. “Instead, the Congress redirects funding need to support the warfighter to fund additional end-strength that our military leaders have not requested.” Adding, “Increasing force structure without adequate funding support in the base budget is dangerous.”
Milley seems to agree with Obama’s opinion that simply adding more soldiers will not result in a stronger military. However, in his speech, Milley argued that the solution isn’t to keep troop numbers at their current level, but to bolster a larger force with additional funds.
“If we just get additional people, or additional end strength, but we don’t get the money, that just leads you down the path to a hollow force,” he said, noting that the first priority will be to reinforce existing organizations, after which the creation of new battalions or brigades will be considered.
“Readiness is not something that is going to be produced overnight,” Milley added. “It’s something that requires steady predictable funding over time and steady effort from the force.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"