Before you start thinking I've become an antiwar, Code Pink type, let me explain. Recently Robert Farley in the American Spectator stirred up a hornet's nest by proposing to scrap the bloated bureaucracy that America's Air Force has become, and spread the aircraft around the other services who might make better use of them. Well, the other services have their own issues with bloated budgets and unneeded weapons, so I propose doing away with all their bureaucracies and starting over.
In the spirit of the 1986 Goldwater/Nichols legislation which sought to induce greater cooperation in the armed forces, I propose creating a Combined Forces Command still under the auspices of the Department of Defense. The separate civilian Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force would be abolished, and replaced with a military staff, much like our current Joint Chiefs, under a single civilian head at Defense. Considering the enormous R & D and procurement needs of modern weapons, civilian undersecretaries will still be required.
Rather than continuing the expensive and unnecessary competition among individual services, the CFC would consist of separate military theaters, such as :
- Northern Command. Defends the Continental US and surrounding coast regions
- Eastern Command. Responsible for Europe and the Mediterranean Sea region.
- Western Command. The Pacific Ocean Area.
- Southern Command. Africa and Latin America.
- Central Command. The Indian Ocean area and the Middle East.
The Combined Forces would complete the process begun by the National Security Act of 1947, that created the Dept. of Defense and the Air Force, and united the separate Depts. of the Navy and War. The Goldwater/Nichols Act of 1986 also increased joint operations within the armed forces, which expanded the power of the Joint Chiefs Chairman. It would not be a radical change but a sensible and cost efficient evolution. In a sense, we are there already:
- The Air Force and the Navy are increasing forces on Guam in the Western Pacific to counter a rising threat from China.
- The Army continues to counter the rise of radical regimes in the Third World.
- The Marines are seeking a more expeditionary role among littorals regions around the world.
A single training program would be utilized by all the services for new recruits. After graduation from the initial boot camp, trainees would then be placed within the particular field of their choice, whether it include naval, air, or infantry. There would also be single logistics and medical support for all commands.
The allocation of precious defense dollars should be based on threat, not upon the wishes of a single service, which often duplicates the capabilities of each other. Today's warfighter depends on combined arms, including air, land, and sea assets, as much as a 17th Century general looked to his infantry, artillery, and cavalry forces to bring victory on the battlefield.
The Army might think it can win battles with its tanks alone. The Air Force believes that peace can only be achieved by the deterrence of its powerful bomber and missiles forces. The Navy is certain that security can only be maintained through the power of its unprecedented fleet of aircraft carrier task forces. With such a wasteful attitude, strategy is based on the qualities of weapons, rather than the needs of a particular environment where battle is engaged.Establishment of this more efficient Combined Forces Command will do away with unnecessary interservice rivalries, and place it squarely on defeating America's enemies.