The U.S. military needs to invest in troops, not technology

Scott Turner/US Army

New U.S. Soldiers take the oath of enlistment during the opening ceremonies at the U.S. Army All American Bowl in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 7, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • New #defense budget eliminates 125,000 soldiers on the premise that future wars will require new technology

    Tweet This

  • Technology development can be accelerated in wartime—the development of capable military leaders cannot @criticalthreats

    Tweet This

  • There is no way to accelerate the fielding of good military leaders @criticalthreats

    Tweet This

President Obama's new defense strategy champions the same arguments military downsizers have invoked since 1991: The United States must invest in technology and disinvest in active-duty military personnel. The plan unveiled Thursday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is based on two such tenets: It must "protect key investments in the technologically advanced capabilities most needed for the future . . . [and] no longer size active forces to conduct large and protracted stability operations while retaining the expertise of a decade of war." The budget thus eliminates 125,000 soldiers and Marines on the premise that future wars will require new weapons systems but not large numbers of troops. Should America need more troops, this thinking holds, it will be easy enough to find them. Technology takes longer to develop and field.

These well-worn syllogisms are the reverse of reality. Technology development can be accelerated in wartime. The development of capable military leaders cannot.

Please read the full text at the Critical Threats Project.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

Expanding opportunity in America
image Moving beyond fear: Addressing the threat of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria
image Foreign policy is not a 'CSI' episode
image The Air Force’s vital role
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.