United States Department of Intelligent Life
Washington, DC 20859ACTION MEMORANDUM
To: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
From: Lawrence Korb & Peter Ogden
Re: A Few More Good Men
Date: May 1, 2007
Although most of your attention is focused on immediate circumstances in Iraq, there is another, long-term challenge you must now face: How to increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps most effectively.
Your predecessor begrudgingly allowed a temporary boost of 30,000 soldiers and 5,000 marines, but he opposed making this increase either larger or permanent. Despite events unfolding in Iraq and Afghanistan, Secretary Rumsfeld never wavered in his determination to build a smaller and more lethal military that valued additional “smart” weaponry more than boots on the ground. In the wake of his resignation, the military leadership communicated its strong belief that more ground troops were needed, and permanently so. When then-Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker testified last December that a troop escalation in Iraq would break the Army unless its manpower needs were addressed, he locked up White House support for such an increase. Meanwhile, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have become increasingly alarmed about the strain that the war is placing on our troops, so even most of those who oppose a “surge” in Iraq now favor expanding the size of the ground forces.
It is in within this strategic and political context that President Bush has requested--and is nearly certain to receive from Congress--$12.1 billion for the Pentagon in his FY2008 budget to begin the multiyear process of expanding the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Ultimately, the two services are authorized to grow to no more than 92,000 men and women larger than before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yielding an Army with a personnel ceiling of 547,000 and a Marine Corps of 202,000.
The goal is set, the funding reliable and the political support firm. What remains in doubt, however, is the kind of new military we will build. The manner in which you decide to add troops will have significant long-term consequences. This marks, after all, the first time in more than 15 years that the permanent size of the Army will grow, and the Marines will have a larger active duty force than at any time since the war in Vietnam. The expansion is complicated, moreover, by the fact that it must begin in the midst of an unpopular war.
We recommend that you look beyond the immediate crisis in Iraq and define your vision of how the U.S. military should evolve in its...