Army of the Lost

Members of Congress agreed to a mandatory sequestration of across the board cuts impacting national defense by 10 percent over the coming decade on top of the $800 billion already made by the Obama administration. Under sequestration, entitlements are left untouched, while discretionary spending – half of which is defense – is disproportionately subjected to higher cuts.


By Bruce Branick l November 26, 2012

Robert D. Kaplan (Global Affairs, Stratfor), widely acclaimed military analyst wrote on October 31: “… cuts in the defense budget under the Obama administration concern the eclipse of the U.S. Army. For the first time in American history, soldiers have become a devalued species…”

Ground combat forces of the Army and Marine Corps have historically been the decisive element in defeating conventional enemies. For countless years, the United States Army stood tall, inserted innumerable companies, battalions, brigades, or corps into dozens of countries, all over the world, a living Excalibur sword used for the purpose of holding land, for saving lives, for routing cruel dictators, or nullifying cataclysmic weapons in the hands of those dictators, as the Army became intimately associated with the mores and standards of other’s lives – the virtual survival of Western Civilization. That presence ranged from the Philippine theater of the Spanish-American War in the Pacific (1898-1902) and the European theater from 1914 largely through the close of the Cold War in 1989, with the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR.

However, Kaplan points to the fact the Army is scalable, “Provided you retain a sufficient number of officers and well-trained non-commissioned officers, you can quickly add to the land force in an emergency. The Army, like it or not, is becoming a contingency force, and that is nothing to belittle.” He concludes that it is far easier and practical to scale down the Army than the Navy and Air Force, which project power and are essential in developing U.S. military strategy.

Looking to the future and the growing military power of the Peoples Republic of China in the Pacific and Iran in the Middle East-Persian Gulf area are both viewed as maritime rather than land theaters.

Although the House passed the Ryan Budget earlier this year, the Senate under the leadership of Harry Reid hasn’t passed a budget in three years, Members of Congress agreed to a mandatory sequestration of across the board cuts impacting national defense by 10 percent over the coming decade on top of the $800 billion already made by the Obama administration. Under sequestration, entitlements are left untouched, while discretionary spending – half of which is defense – is disproportionately subjected to higher cuts. As a percentage of GDP, defense spending is just over 3 percent compared to over 6 percent during the Cold War. Congress is faced with a deadline to act by January 2, 2013 before sequestration kicks in.

The Obamaze scimitar will cost millions of jobs and may well destroy the Army of the United States of America, blamed on cost. But, cost is not the entire reason for attenuation of numbers. Ground forces, holding acreage, are claimed no longer needed as a holding requisite in a maritime war, where parties are all associated with the sea. War has changed its configurations.

Fast-acting ripostes, the Administration believes, are a must, delivered within hours, rather than days, by air and sea forces and, it is to be assumed, Marines in small numbers, already trained to be ferried over the globe, ever ready for most eventualities. Army’s zenith has come to pass, as air and sea power take over military planning, along with the demands for protection that have changed radically, as troop requirements have changed over the decades. Yet, ‘troops on the ground’ are still an urgent need for any organization calling itself an Armed Force.

The Chinese, extremely bright people, totally employed doing the jobs Americans once did (before our last few administrations gave Americans large unemployment checks as sops for job loss), and using our own machinery hauled to the orient under NAFTA/WTO, by foreign flag ships, now that we have thrown away our Merchant Marine fleet, are prepared to take America’s pre-eminent place as world leader and are visibly beginning to flex their muscles in the South China Sea.

Long term planners, the Chinese, eyes refocused on world dominance, are spending billions of dollars on a new navy, air force, army, cyber warfare capability and space program…using dollars we once owned, a not so enigmatic condition caused by U.S. monetary leaders (or more accurately globalists) seeking to enhance their bottom lines at the expense of the American system of manufacturing self-sufficiency. And, big-money American industrialists, bankers, stock people found those bottom lines under cheaper foreign labor and foreign tax forgiveness, gorged themselves with billions and billions of dollars in new cash, via NAFTA/CAFTA/WTO. Warren Buffett is a prime example, all guided and accommodated by special tax-code incentives favoring free trade agreements at the expense of American jobs. Almost at once, U.S. jobs began hemorrhaging from the American body politic starting our free-fall into a second-class society, based on Washington’s political welfare planning and surge into socialism.

The new Chinese mystery space plane, the “Shemlong” (Divine Dragon) is thriving, while America’s space program is transported to museums around the country so that school children and historians can see how ingenious and creative America once was. Unfortunately, these days the U.S. has been relegated to reliance on Russian spacecraft to transport American astronauts, who are without a program, to the so-called International Space Station.

The U.S. Army may need some creative cutbacks, but there’s madness in destroying our central and historic protector in the process, including our capabilities for counterinsurgency and training foreign militaries. Ground combat forces of the Army and Marine Corps have historically been the decisive element in defeating conventional enemies. A leaner and meaner army should be created, with back-up plans for emergencies with the assurance a sufficient number of officers and well-trained non-commissioned officers are retained. Most important of all is a re-consideration of destroying the United States Army at such a world juncture, while facing China, a country with a bottomless military conglomerate of over a billion people.


Bruce Branick served his nation for over 5 decades at sea. After three years of North Atlantic convoy duty as a Radioman in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Greenland Patrol and a fourth year attached to the Richmond Naval Air Station, a Florida Blimp Base concerned with Anti-submarine Warfare, he spent 50 years in the U.S. Merchant Marine as a Radio Officer, voyaging the world over from the Arctic to Antarctica, from Galveston to Istanbul, from Suez to Hong Kong. Mr. Branick, a contributor to

SFPPR News & Analysis

, is author of


Memoirs of a Loose Cannon

and
Two If By Sea
(1970).