Most Americans can look back on the last two and a half centuries of their martial history with pride, but Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the second in command of the U.S. Army, argues there is reason to fear for the future.
In a Monday presentation at the Heritage Foundation Allyn bemoaned the recent shrinking of the U.S. Military that has taken place since he entered service. According to Allyn, only 1/3 of U.S. Army brigades are ready for combat, and at 380,000 prepared army personnel, the branch numbers only half the personnel it had at the end of the Cold War, and 100,000 less than in September 2001.
As of legislation passed in 2010, the army is set to further decrease army personnel by 120,000, and with 162,000 boots on the ground in roughly 150 countries, half of all U.S. Army personnel are already deployed, leaving the U.S. with very little breathing room to respond to new crises.
“At a time when crises around the world are on the rise, instabilities are on the rise, the forces available to provide trained and ready capabilities in response are on the reverse vector,” Allyn said.
According to Allyn, budget cuts have required the military to choose between combat readiness and modernization. As a result, the military has taken hits to both, foregoing training and maintenance programs as well as innovative technologies meant to increase capability.