Should America spend more money on the military? | The Tylt

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Should America spend more money on the military?
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The U.S. currently spends more on defense than the top six countries combined. 

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Critics say the military's problems run deeper than money. Force is a means to an end. The U.S. military could be 10 times as powerful as it is today and it would still encounter the same problems. 

Fifteen years after launching a worldwide effort to defeat and destroy terrorist organizations, the United States finds itself locked in a pathologically recursive loop; we fight to prevent attacks and defend our values, only to incite further violence against ourselves and allies while destabilizing already chaotic regions. Our forces are competent, professional, and effective. But, no matter how good our forces are, it is irrelevant for the reasons laid out by historian Williamson Murray: “No matter how effective the military institutions might be at the tactical and operational levels, if the strategy and political framework [was] flawed, the result was defeat.”

The problem lies with the government and the American people. The military's transition to an all-volunteer force (AVF) changes the dynamics of how the military is used. Politicians and civilians have less to lose with an AVF and thus, are less likely to critically look at the failing policies and strategies. 

In this sense the AVF short-circuited America’s social contract. It freed national leadership from the grounding reality of public involvement. Today almost all Americans will say they “support the troops” and most will support increased defense budgets. But few senior officials or national leaders — certainly not the public at large — will even ask what, exactly, are we doing in Yemen? Moreover, is our policy of targeted killing working? Since we don’t ask even the basic questions, we doom ourselves to continue policies that may not work.

We're not winning because we're weak. We're not winning because we don't know what winning looks like. The lack of a coherent political and diplomatic strategy means that even the strongest military in the world can't win.

The solution to our strategic malaise is not funding, equipment or technology. We need a strategy that is sustainable and realistic— one that evaluates threats and defense needs (engagements, support to allies, etc.) against a harsh assessment of resources available. 
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Military leaders say 26 years of budget cuts and spending caps have hurt the military's preparedness. Years of disfunction in Congress and defense spending caps made it nearly impossible for the military to plan their finances in any real way.

The Navy, said Adm. William Moran, vice chief of Naval Operations, is smaller than it has been in 99 years. About 53 percent of naval aircraft can no longer fly because there isn’t enough money to fix them. On Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. had 316 ships and 400,000 sailors; now it has 275 ships and 90,000 fewer sailors.

The military in its current capacity is stretched thin. If full-scale war were to break out, the U.S. military would not be in a position to decisively push back against large nations like China and Russia.

He said that while the United States can deal with threats from small countries, it is not sufficiently well-equipped to fend off what he called a “high-end adversary,” such as Russia or China.
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Should America spend more money on the military?
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