December 26, 2013 in Letters, Opinion

Military shrinking fast

 

China is rapidly increasing the size and power of its military. We play softball with Iran, and Russian President Vladimir Putin adds the Ukraine to his muscle. Meanwhile, the shadow cast by the U.S. military is shrinking, as is our credibility and deterrence that depends on it.

U.S. military spending on defense adjusted for inflation is higher than at the height of President Reagan’s administration. It has been producing less than half of the forces and capabilities of those years. We had a 600-ship Navy then, and now we have a 280-ship Navy. Reagan had a 20-division Army and now we have 10-division equivalents. Our Air Force has less than half the number of fighters and bombers it had 30 years ago, and the fighter average is 28 years old.

Our fighting forces have steadily shrunk by more than one-half, but the bureaucracy has more than doubled. We currently have more than 1.5 million full-time civilian employees in the Defense Department. More than half of our active-duty service men and women serve in offices. This is a result of initiatives from Congress, but it is mainly by executive order.

Does this make sense to you?

Gerald Ray

Spokane


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