Courtesy Reuters

The Army You Have

In December 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked by a soldier why U.S. troops in Iraq were not properly equipped for their mission. Rumsfeld responded that "you have to go to war with the army you have, not the army you want." Rather than resolve anything, however, the secretary's explanation only begged two further and fundamental questions about the U.S. armed forces: What kind of military does the country really want? And if it does not have it, how can it get it?

In "The U.S. Military's Manpower Crisis" (July/August 2006), Frederick Kagan provides a persuasive answer to the first question but not to the second. He advocates that the U.S. military change its priorities, elevating the importance of manpower -- but he does not push for any corresponding reprioritization of the budget.

The strategic shift that Kagan advocates -- from more technology to more troops -- is too important to be left on the drawing board. Turning strategy into reality requires making tough decisions about what the military most needs and what it can do without. The Bush administration has made such a decision: faced with a choice between adding

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe