An $858 billion defense budget will still produce a ‘hollow force’

by Harlan Ullman, Opinion Contributor – 12/11/22 12:00 PM ET

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022.

Congress is considering an $858 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2023. Yet, even at that level of spending, the U.S. military risks becoming a 21st century version of the “hollow force” that arose after the Vietnam War was lost. That force was unfit and unready to fight. Three critical reasons explain why the U.S. military is in trouble.

First, the aims of the National Defense Strategy (NDS) are unachievable and thus cannot be executed. Second, uncontrolled, annual real cost growth of every item, from precision weapons to people to pencils, exacerbated by high levels of inflation, make the current and projected force unaffordable. Third, the current force of 1.4 million is not sustainable given the declining number of civilians who meet the standards for service and those who wish to serve in uniform.


Categories: Military

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