Like most former military, I follow our "wars" quite closely. While I'm not going to get into the politics of the matter, I'm definitely going to harp on the cost.
Seriously, what are we thinking? Can we possibly come up with a less efficient model with which to not only fight a war, but to run a military in general?
A few years ago, a Pentagon brain decided to analyze the current makeup of the US Armed Forces. His name was David Dyche and his conclusions in 1990 showed that, not only was the military wasting money on what everyone already knew that the military was wasting money on, but that the military was wasting money simply by existing in its current model. Through careful research and modeling, he figured that our current military was NOT the traditional "3 Branches + 1 Corps" that everyone thinks it is, but in reality is "two armies, two transportation forces, and four air forces." In other words, one huge waste of money (for those of you that are interested in Dyche's report, it is available online - keep in mind that I do NOT agree with Dyche's recommendations 100%, though his points are no less valid).
Now, I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty of his entire report, but I am going to comment on the Army/Marine Corps conundrum.
Essentially, what we have with a Navy-run Marine Corps is a SECOND ARMY. One that has a separate training system, a separate supply system, and a separate command structure. Is there a physical need for this? Absolutely not.
Traditionalists (including many former and current soldiers, airborne, and marines) will argue the necessity of a separate Marine Corps, but in all honesty, that is nothing but an old-school mentality stuck in a status quo world. A non-Army Marine Corps is simply nothing but a waste of time and money. Many of these traditionalists will argue that the role of the Marine Corps is different than that of the Army. While there is some (but very little) truth to that statement, their roles are no more different than say, that of the Army Infantry compared to the Army Airborne. And, despite the fact that some countries do, we certainly don't have a separate Airborne Corps, do we?
Realize that I'm not advocating the disappearance of Marine Corps traditions from the Army... absolutely not. Even as a former paratrooper, I recognize that no service takes more pride in themselves than the USMC. I think that allowing Marine Corps divisions to retain their distinctive headgear (similar to Airborne units wearing maroon berets) and their traditional histories is a good, and advantageous, idea. I would also suggest that the Army adopt the Marine Corps system of "Private-Private First Class-Lance Corporal" and maintain "Gunnery Sergeant" as a Marine Division honorific.
But, I AM advocating that paying for what is essentially a second Army is a waste. Joint Operations is getting to the point that the Army would be more than capable of cooperatively running an MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) with the Navy, as well as the Navy cooperatively transporting and deploying the Army.
This would save SO MUCH MONEY, it would make you sick to actually figure out how much. There are other advantages, as well, but I lack the time and the proper means to discuss them effectively here. The bonus? There is simply not one disadvantage, other than window-dressing, to collapsing the Marine Corps into the Army. Not one. Not a single one.
Before I conclude my point, I'm well aware that many of you will bring up Marine Corps aviation and how the Marines have dedicated air support. I AM a proponent of this, but this is related to the fact that I'm also a proponent of eliminating the Air Force as we currently know it. However, as this is not the point of this blog, I'm not going to cover any of that here.
So... like I implied, the only problem is getting past the institutionalized fuckers that don't really give a shit about saving this country valuable defense dollars, but care far more about what their uniform looks like.
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