On Thursday, the Obama administration announced budget cuts for the U.S. military. Critics on the right say this decision will jeopardize our national security, but they're wrong.
The largest cuts will come out of the Army and Marine Corps budget, who provided most of the physical boots on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With those two wars winding down, maintaining a large ground force isn't productive.
These cuts will also usher in a new strategy, forcing our military to do more with less and focus on areas, skills, and projects that are relevant to a 21st century style of war and diplomacy. Proof of this is in the disparity of the cuts from the Army and Marines in comparison to the Navy and Air Force.
The infantry of the military was the pride of America in the 20th century. But, much like manufacturing, the lines of men are being replaced by just a handful of engineers and their machines. It will be the Navy's carrier groups, the Airforce's drones and satellites, and the new U.S. Cyber Command that will become the cornerstone of American military power. Some, in fact, argue that they already are.
Our newest methods of attacking targets will be quick and surgical. There's no need to march thousands of troops across land with expensive supply convoys and forward operating bases, when targets can be picked off from low orbit with missiles that travel 15 times the speed of sound or with stealth helicopters that can smuggle in a dozen SEALs deep into hostile territory. In fact, Obama has stated a primary goal for the new military is "to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access." Killing Osama Bin Laden in the heart of Pakistan is an example of this doctrine in action.
While critics lament our force will be "less powerful," I think the exact opposite will prove to be true. The focus on low numbers of highly trained, well-equipped operatives supported by a vast system of space, air, and water-borne platforms will ultimately prove to not only be less expensive, but much more effective.
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