To the Editor:
George Seffers reports in the June 1 Defense News that the Army is planning to slash funding for modernization of its major combat vehicles.
Elsewhere in the same issue, he discloses plans to cut back the Apache Longbow, a key upgrade of the service’s most important airborne tank-killer.
All of these decisions are driven by a version of the Army’s future role that is lacking in intellectual rigor or political sense. The service’s senior leadership has settled on a nation of next-century land warfare that is inherently unprovable, and now proposes to redesign its force structure to fit this hypothetical world.
There are some basic questions that need to be asked before the Army embarks on this ill-defined course. What if the world of tomorrow does not match the Army’s predictions? What does the service propose to employ in wartime in place of the canceled programs? What impact will its draconian investment cuts have on congressional support for the Army’s budget? What impact will the plans have on the Army’s industrial base?
The service’s answers to all of these questions is distressingly nebulous, suggesting it has fallen victim to the sort of loose thinking about future requirements that often infects our system during periods of diminished danger. Before we start designing the “Army After Next” so that it closely resembles the Marine Corps of today (only with cellular telephones), let’s ask ourselves how much we really know about the world of 2020, and whether our methods for assessing what we do know amounts to anything more than wishful thinking.
Chief Executive Officer
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