Secretary of Defense James Mattis has issued a campaign plan for rebuilding the U.S. military that could be the best thing that has happened to America’s Army since the Reagan years. The plan begins by fixing near-term shortfalls in readiness, but ultimately leads to a comprehensive program for modernizing the whole joint force. Not only would the Army get bigger, but its combat edge against near-peer threats like Russia would be restored. Mattis and his advisors won’t have the details worked out for several months, but the longer-term investments will probably closely mirror proposals the Army recently sent Congress for covering unfunded requirements. The service will buy new helicopters, upgrade its armored vehicles with improved protection and firepower, field better air defenses, expand electronic-warfare capabilities, and grow the depleted inventory of smart munitions. As the Army shifts strategic focus to Europe from Southwest Asia, it needs more armored brigade combat teams equipped with the latest weapons to deter Russian aggression. It looks likely the Mattis campaign plan will make that a priority. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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