I honestly just do not know. I look around at all the requirements that are placed on us, and it's really tough to say, "we can't afford to let X and Y go, but we can afford to let Z go."
I guess it all comes back to your original post: we need to scale back our global commitments. But then again, who the hell is gonna fill the void? Europe can't be counted on. That leaves regional powers filling the gap: India, China, Iran, Australia, Brazil. Two of those are not the people you want filling your void.
As for land forces... it seems reckless to do away with your armor. Hell, it's the safest thing driving around. Even the MRAPs are not as safe as a M1. And artillery is still vital. You say we ought to do away with them, but you don't offer how we will augment the force. Do you really expect a Stryker to spear head an invasion???
I guess my answer is this:
-The Army has finally completed it's growth to 548,000 RA soldiers, 350,000 NG soldiers, and 205,000 Reserve. Keep the 10 active divisions and RA strength. Cut guard forces to roughly 150,000 and reserve forces to 50,000.
-Open up Yakima WA, Fort Drum NY and expand JRTC LA for national training centers. It's hugely expensive to move entire brigades across the country to JRTC/NTC. Open up closer training centers that offer the same training, but are much closer and cheaper to deploy too.
-Rebalance the force to more NCOs (cheaper), less officers (more expensive). The ratio of Generals to soldiers has exploded. There are way too many officers, getting paid good money, to do the jobs a sergeant is perfectly capable of doing.
-Shrink the ADA branch.
-Stop paying contractors to conduct base beautification. When I was an E2, I cut the grass. 40 years ago, the soldiers took care of the base. It needs to happen again.
-Make up your mind. Either you're an amphibious assault force, or you're a deep land attack force. You can't be both. Once you make up your mind: fit your equipment needs to your mission. Does your new EFV really need to be IED proof? If you're taking beaches, no. If you're invading over 350miles, and conducting long-term stability ops, yes.
-Ditch the V-22 , AH-1Y, UH-1Z. There is a good argument why the Air Force and Navy need different aircraft. But there is NO good argument why all the branches cannot operate a single core group of helicopters. 1 heavy lift, 1 medium utility, 1 attack: all the same.
-Shrink Space Command. 25,000 airmen, really??? Come'on. Farm that shit out to private companies.
-Cut back the purchase of the F-35 by half. Augment with cheaper new upgrades of the F-15 and F-16. Use the F-22 and F-35 to kick down the door, and then send in the cheaper bomb trucks to mop up.
-Give up CSAR. I know it's wildly unpopular, but the Army can do it better. Sorry.
-Reallign bases. Too many airbases, too few aircraft, too much money.
-Ditch the LCS.
-Europe wants to be a bigger player in the world? Fine, here is a gift: the Atlantic Ocean. We do not need 5 aircraft carriers in Norfolk. The Pacific and Indian Oceans are where it's at. Say good bye to Yokosuka. Focus resources, ports, etc in the Pacific.
-No more major bases in Korea, Japan, and Europe. I've worked with the ROK soldiers/marines. They're top notch. They can take care of themselves, and we can support when needed. Europe doesn't like us, doesn't want us. A few airbases are fine, but no more ground pounders. And Japan doesn't want us either. Same as in Europe: airbases, nothing more. All marines in Okinawa go to Guam.
-There are 600,000 DoD civilians. That's freakin' absurd. Over half make more than 60K a year. Good bye 50% of you. The other 50% of you, prepare for strict annual performance reviews. You want your cushy job? Fucking earn it.
-Reallign to more Joint Bases. It saves massive amounts of money, and allows the branches to pool their resources.
-Restructure the Pentagon. Far too many chiefs.
-Up the retirement age. We're living longer, and we're more healthy and capable when we retire, than say compared to 50yrs ago. Retirement at 25years should be the next logical increase. Also, if you want to use VA benefits after retirement, you should pay a small percentage in your paycheck, just like Social Security.
...I'm sure I could come up with a bunch more, but I gotta go fly.
[Edited 2010-07-14 15:05:58]
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.