Friday, November 2, 2007

Ask the Candidates what kind of military they favor

The current direction of DoD planning, according to releases from the Pentagon, is to make the shape of the military conform to the requirements of the Secretary of Defense. While that may sound all warm and cuddly from a corporate standpoint or from the point of view of a unit commander, the design of the military establishment is the sole Constitutional purview of the Congress, and any authority that the President and SecDef use to design, raise and equip are provided by the Congress via laws and appropriations.

Until 1940, the order of battle, the number and type of units and major end items of equipment were each and every created by act of Congress. Since WW2, that control was ceded to the services, and then to DoD. Since then, our successes in battle have increased but the end performances of wars fought to a successful conclusion have dropped dramatically. Some smaller operations have been successful such as Grenada and Panama, but Mogadishu ended that run. It is time we rethought this process.

The blame of this series of debacles committed by the Executive Branch is actually to be laid at the doors of Congress where the authority to fix the problems lies. But instead of resuming their duties, the Congress chooses to meddle in military matters that are Constitutionally barred from, the direction of military operations and of foreign policy (less trade) which are the exclusive domain of the President.

The average military person I know cringes at the notion of members of Congress arguing about the relative merits of ships versus planes, yet this is what the Constitution calls for. At the very least, Congress gets to take the blame for the screwups committed by the White House and Pentagon.

What we, as voters, should do is to start asking the Candidates for office, including State legislatures and governors, what kind of military they stand for. State officials are responsible also for the state of their militia and Guard units. The cop out that those issues are Presidential Commander in Chief issues is false. \As these are legislative issues, is devolves to the voters to become savvy of issues military as well.

We should ask our representatives what are the national defense priorities they feel should be covered. Do we need expeditionary forces perched in Kansas ready to pounce on Tora Bora? While it is the President’s job to determine where and when the force goes, we should ask the question whether or not the President should have this capability.

There are serious holes in our national defense, given the restoration of a global economy and the absence of regional imperial powers using military force for economic advantage as was the case from the Phoenicians to the creation of the British Commonwealth, and Pax Americana. One of these holes is having the force to enforce Pax Americana and preclude a resurgence of imperial competition for markets and sea lanes of trade.

Start asking.

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