US Military Force Structure

One view of the force structure (UNCLASSIFIED), via a briefing originated at JFCOM.  This briefing like others should be available from the SecDEF’s office.

Force Structure FY09 Beyond

This is a USMC brief on the next coming fiscal years for them but applicable to much of DOD (at least the military services portion) and probably a lot of the rest of the Federal govt as well.  Pretty bleak.

This brief (attached) was originated at JFCOM and has made the rounds in OSD, Joint  Staff, all Service headquarters, and the QDR. It has also been briefed to the Obama transition team who has scheduled two follow-up sessions with the authors.

Bottom line:

1. Supplementals will end, AND the defense budget has to go down in the next 4 years to pay for domestic programs.

2. Current Force structure and readiness plans are  inadequately funded even at their current levels.

3. Force structure  is severely imbalanced to accomplish the current ops tempo and there is no  significant effort to realign the current force.

4. Even with  resetting force structure across all the Services, fiscal realities will  drive DOD into an undetermined end state based on fiscal realities and with  no long-term plan.

5. “The Obama administration has the opportunity to  set the stage for US military forces for the next 50-100  years”.

SLIDES: (see the attachment)

Slide 2.  Competing demands in the federal budget FY-09  and beyond are in the range of $7.5 Trillion per year.  The price tag  alone for recoring the 283  nuclear plants (built in the 70s &  80’s that depend on federal assistance to recore) is $2.5b per plant…comes to over $7 Trillion.

Slide 4.  Budget options laid out represent a 20, 30 and 40% budget reduction  Sound familiar?

Slide  6.  Issues not in the present budget but they are reality.  Health care, acquisition overruns etc are not factored in the current budget projections.  In 2007 GAO reported that DOD acquisition were typically 8 years behind schedule and had cost overruns of 100%.  In March 2008, GAO adjusted the overruns to 150%!

Slide  8.  Recommends reducing force structure by tactical blocks, rather that salami slicing.  For instance, reduce brigades, squadrons, ships and MEBs in total.  Reducing depot maintenance or unit size by 20% reduces the capability of all units, therefore reducing their effectiveness.  Reducing by tactical blocks gives the same level of  capability, with less capacity.

Slide 9.  Recommends  changing the service splits of the pie. Based the total force on what is  needed to do the mission, not “equitable across the board”.

Slide  10.  The starting point assumes the level of forces approved in the Bush administration. the 202K Marine Corps is assumed to be stood up.

Slides 11-14. Click thru these quickly and you can see the  reduction in “building blocks” by each option.

Slide  17.  The Cold War ended in 1991 but it took 9/11 to get DOD to start working toward a new paradigm.  In the period between 1991 and 2001 we continued with an old force structure and acquisition programs based on the cold war threat.

Slide 18.  US offers  three unique capabilities unmatched anywhere: (1) Night carrier capability,  (2) forcible entry from the sea, and (3)ability to close on and sustain  the force in combat. These should be sustained.

Slide  19.  New Paradigm needed. “Soft Power”. The notion has been accepted but the force structure- manpower and equipment to support has not changed, Investments do not support this strategy.

Slide  20. What is the right balance?  Marine Corps notion of the long war represents new thinking but we have not changed anything to reflect that strategy. Canadians have come to the conclusion that you can NOT train  a force to do both kinetic war and win “Hearts and Minds” the psychological imbalance not only precludes a force from doing both, but when you try, you fail at both.

Slide 21. Talks to the  imbalance of the force.  In 2001 90% of the force was expeditionary  (warfighters) We gave lip service to SASO with 10% of our forces (actually  about 8%).  In 2007, 25% of the force was in expeditionary operations,  75%  were in SASO operations. but we did not significantly change our  acquisition investments or force structure. And even then a significant percentage of the force was improperly engaged.i.e. artillery  units serving as MPs and civil affairs and logisticians action as convoy security. The plan into 2010 continues this percent of the mix, again  without any force structure adjustments.

*** The  conclusion at this point in the brief is that if the 1/3 (expeditionary)  2/3 (SASO) paradigm works for how we want to employ our forces, then make the adjustments in force structure and acquisition.

Slides 30-35 then talks to the ideas that our current direction of recapitalization cannot be sustained in the face of fiscal realities, and it is probably the wrong direction anyway. Give the delays in new programs and the “LULL” that will exist in delivering them, there is about a 5 year gap in the 2013-2018 timeframe when our current readiness will drop below operational levels.  Our current inventory was built on non-wartime metrics.

The 5 years of combat we have had has aged equipment 16-20 years and acquisition programs cannot keep pace and they are unfunded at even that level.  For example HUMVEES were programmed for 8000 miles  per year.  The current inventory in the past 5 years has surpassed the 20 year life of the vehicle (i.e. the average is in excess  of  150,000 miles). The vehicles replacement  is due in 2014, but  is expected to slip to 2018.

Conclusion:  What the next  administration does with regard to force structure and force missions will have a significant impact well beyond the 4 or 8 years that they will  serve.  DOD needs to be an active player in that discussion and each  Service needs to make significant adjustment immediately.

Presentation is attached. This  brief has no restrictions as to released or distribution.

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Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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