Friday, January 18, 2008

In Defense of Military Perspectives

Those of you who read me regularly (a shocking thought, I know) know full and well my view concerning the administrative wastefulness in maintaining a Navy-based Marine Corps and a separate Air Force. These views are well-researched, are based upon a study actually conducted by an Air Force Major, and are, undebatably, fact.

Sure, that the concept would ultimately benefit our military's effectiveness is highly opinionated, but that the concept would cheapen the cost of our military and lessen the burden on taxpayers (and allow for a larger military) is, once again, undebatably fact.

I receive a lot of feedback from a lot of people, many of them current and former servicemembers, concerning my highly controversial views. I can honestly say that none of their counterarguments hold any physical, fiscal, or operational weight. While that may sound a bit arrogant on my part, and probably a bit ignorant, it is true. Every counterargument I hear or read boils down to one thing: tradition.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, tradition is a wonderful thing to have (especially in the military) and we should do everything in our power to preserve it, but it should never, ever, get in the way of our adaptability. Ironically, the military seems to agree with most of my points and principles, except they hide my proposals by creating even more-bureaucratic "joint commands" instead of eliminated the fluff that requires the creation of such commands.

Going back to feedback, as I was in the Army for a total of nine years, I am often (if not always) accused of approaching my proposed military restructuring from an Army-centric perspective. I am writing this to show that this is not the case.

When I began my research, it was to support a spinning-off of the Airborne into its own branch of the military. An "Airborne Corps" of the Army, much in the same way the Marine Corps is of the Navy. A self-sufficient fighting force that is only related to its parent unit by way of funding and a shared medium.

My original proposal called for an Airborne Corps with its own close air support assets (like the Marine Corps has) and its own airlift (Army paratroopers currently rely on the Air Force for well over 90% of their jumps). In addition, it would have its own armor assets and logistics structure.

Now, this looked all fine and dandy on paper, and in a fictional short-story or two, but once I got into the budgetary portion of my research, it became clear that such a concept would be entirely cost-prohibitive. It became clear so quickly, that I didn't even bother to continue my research.

So, being a paratrooper and all, I decided to look into the feasibility of an Air Force-run Airborne Corps. After all, why not? Two options quickly set themselves apart from all of the other Air Force-Airborne options: 1) The Air Force would have to build its own infantry administration and operation systems, or 2) the Air Force would simply rely on the Army to train its paratroopers, and then feed them into the Air Force chain-of-command.

The first point would have been, quite obviously, too expensive (seems to be a pattern, doesn't it?) The second would have been, just as obviously, quite redundant.

And then it all came together. A Navy-Marine Corps is redundant, and a separate Air Force hobbles the Army's need for its own air superiority, airlift, and close air support. And, sorry, there's no way you can argue that, save for "tradition" (a point, by the way, which only weakly applies to the Air Force).

Which led to my current line of research, which only convinces me more and more every day that the Marine Corps should realign under the Department of the Army, and Air Force assets should be absorbed by the Army and the Navy.

My point? I started on this route in the exact opposite direction that I am almost always accused of taking. Army-centric? No, not by a long shot.

Airborne-centric? Oh, Hell yeah.

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