Troop cuts have distinct costs
While we anxiously await the cuts that we all expect the Department of Defense to announce, let me offer some insight on something we may not see. First, let me say that the cuts that are coming over the horizon, no matter how horrific they may seem, will not determine our success on future battlefields. We will always accomplish victory on the battlefield, regardless of the constraints placed upon us by budget woes, because of who we are and the way we train.
Levels of success, and how we determine it, is perhaps another story. The looming budget cuts will, in fact, determine our levels of success, it seems. In the future, success will depend largely on how quickly and effectively we complete any assigned missions. Cancellations of modernization programs and troop cuts will affect how quickly and effectively we complete those missions.
The cancellation of the modernization programs will just mean that our weapons are not as accurate or deadly as they could be; our vehicles will not be as safe as they could be; and our communication packages will not be able to transfer packets of data as fast as they could be. But even with these cancellations we will still be the most deadly force on this earth as long as we maintain our current equipment within applicable combat-tested standards.
However, troop cuts are not so exclusive as to how they will affect the levels of success in future missions. With the onset of troop cuts, our combat experience is lost immediately. What else does that mean for the force? It means that deployments, even though promised to be shorter, will become more frequent for those still serving. Were former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey and former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston wrong when they said that more dwell time was important to the future health of our Army? We know that more deployments mean a more experienced Army, but does that necessarily equate to a healthier force?
While I know our leaders are challenged with the complex decisions that have to be made, I hope to leave them with these two points from the soldiers within my formation. First, don’t forget about weapon-, vehicle- and communication-enhancement programs as budget/economic conditions improve. Second, troop cuts may provide relief to current budget pressures, but the price you may pay on the battlefield may be much greater in the future.
First Sgt. Jerome Chestnut