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How Should the US Military be Structured for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy?

What Kind of Force?

  • Eliminate US Army and Army Reserve, retain Army National Guard (ARNG). The 8 divisions of the ARNG are more than enough to defend US territory in the extremely unlikely event of an invasion.
  • Eliminate US Air Force and Air Force Reserve, retain Air National Guard (ANG). This wouldn't weaken US air defense, since the ANG is solely responsible for air defense already (the Air Force spends all its efforts overseas).
  • The US Marine Corps (USMC) should be retained in full, as support for the ARNG in unlikely event of invasion, and to conduct amphibious operations in the event of another Pacific war.
  • The US Navy (USN) is the most important service given the geography of the US, but the existing force structure built around carrier battle groups is designed primarily to support offensive operations overseas, so it should be modified with defense in mind. IMO, submarines offer the best bang for the buck in terms of naval defense. Therefore, I suggest the USN be transformed into an all submarine navy with the following force structure: 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), 5 guided missile submarines (SSGN), and 105 attack submarines (SSN). My reasoning for those numbers is as follows. The USN currently has 14 SSBN, to provide nuclear deterrence: no reason to change that. The USN currently has 4 SSGN. These will remain useful for a non-interventionist US, as they provide us with a rapid, global, non-nuclear retaliation capability. I propose adding 1 to make up for some of the lost firepower of the surface fleet. As for the 105 SSN: Russia and China are the only signficiant naval powers with whom war is at all likely. Combined, they have 70 effective anti-submarine warfare vessels, so a fleet of 105 SSN would give us a numerical advantage of 1.5:1 in a worst case scenario war with both China and Russia.

How Much Will It Cost?

Army National Guard

  • Current baseline budget = $15.3B (includes everything except procurement and R&D)
  • To estimate procurement costs, I did the following calculation. There are 26 total army and ARNG divisions currently, for which the procurement cost is $35.7B. A cut to 8 divisions would be a cut to 30% of the previous force, and so I assume procurement will be 30% of previous cost = $10.7B
  • Plus current army R&D budget in full = $11.2B
  • Total for ARNG = $37.2B

Air National Guard

  • Current baseline budget = $9.3B (includes everything except procurement and R&D)
  • To estimate procurement: there are 107 active combat squadrons including the Air Force and the ANG, so a cut to 32 squadrons (i.e. just the ANG) is a cut to 30% of previous force, and so 30% of previous procurement budget of $39.4B = $11.8B
  • Plus current Air Force R&D budget in full = $27.6B
  • Total for ANG = $48.7B

Marine Corps

  • Total USMC (current budget) = $33B

Navy

  • Maintenance and operations: 159 boats each at $86M annually = $13.6B
  • Personnel: average 140 sailors per boat for total of 22,260 sailors + 139,125 support personnel (assumes 16% “tooth to tail” ratio) for total of 161,385 personnel, or 50% of current 322,744 personnel, so 50% of current personnel budget of $44.2B = $22.1B
  • Procurement: assume 30 year average service life, so to maintain fleet have to replace entire fleet every 30 years, so constructing 5.3 boats annually at $4.8B each = $25.4B
  • Plus current R&D budget = 16.9B
  • Plus current construction budget = $2.4B
  • Total for Navy = $80.4B

Grand Total = $199.3B (versus $673B current)

**Ask me if you want to see sources for any data cited



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States "quitting" the National Guard?

Not yet having had a chance to read Dr. Veira's books
(which would maybe answer the question) - can
or should individual states "quit" the National Guard?

Repealing or profoundly changing the Militia Act of 1903
looks like it could return the Guard to a more militia-like
status, but would require congressional action.

At the state level though, couldn't an individual state
disband its Guard altogether, unilaterally? Many states
still have non-Guard state defense forces and such -
on paper, anyway. These could be reformed/expanded
into formalized and effective militia organizations, perhaps?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Act_of_1903

One interesting historical bit there (see the link to "defense of Plattsburg")
was that the state of Vermont basically declined to fight in the War of 1812
and traded with the British throughout it. I wonder if Oregon will
get to decide whether it wants to fight Syria or not...

National Guard

This is an excellent post. The National Guard could easily defend us at a fraction of the cost of our current military.

If we could go back to a foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements, we could save trillions of dollars and avoid all the death, destruction and waste of our current foreign policy. I say this as someone who served in Iraq and saw firsthand the waste and futility of our actions in that country.

The main obstacles to reposturing to this defense structure: all the brainwashing of the American people regarding "isolationism;" and all the mythology that has been created around the causes and rationales for World War II.

The globalists have been in total control of American foreign policy since Dec. 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor was the catalyzing event that they used to discredit a traditional American foreign policy, and it gave them their "Good War." Since Pearl Harbor, the globalists have been using the American military as a global police force to further their internationalist goals at the expense of the American people.

"I ain't the dying type."

Reader, writer, soldier.

Dr. Ed Vieira's work on the Militia should be your starting

point.

"THE MILITIA OF THE SEVERAL STATES" GUARANTEE THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

That is the first of an 8 part series.

He's also working on a book: http://newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin253.htm

You can read his other excellent articles on this subject as well as on Constitutional Money and other topics here: http://newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwinA.htm

The founding fathers warned

The founding fathers warned of standing armies. The only thing we need a standing army for is to invade and occupy others. Keep the navy and the state militias and that's it.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

Inactive volunteer local malitias

the end

sovereign

How do you expect volunteer militias...

...to combat modern military forces?

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

I expect that

I dont care.

sovereign

Also, lest you forget, we won two wars against the most

formadable army on the planet.

In two other wars, we defeated the same of their time.

We did all this under the "non-standing Army" model.

Yes, we did it with armies and not volunteer militia, but that's why the provision is there in the Constitution - to RAISE an army when needed, not keep one around and then have to find someone for them to kill, even if it means killing US.

As I said in another post below...

...there was a time when the technology of war was such that militia could compete with professional armies. The basic weapon of war in 1776 and 1812 was the musket, and the one carried by the British soldier was not much different from the one hanging over John Smith's fireplace in Virginia. But technology has changed; no one has F-16s hanging above their fireplace. The best a militia could do today is wage a guerrilla war against occupying forces, and that might ultimately drive away the invaders, but at what cost? Look at Vietnam. The much weaker Vietnamese ultimately drove the much stronger French and Americans out of the country, but only after 20 years, a million dead, and most of the country obliterated. Is that a successful defense in your view? I certainly don't think so. I'd rather tax-finance a professional military to prevent invasion in the first place.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Which modern military force do you expect might make it

to our shores or our borders that we'd need a permanent career standing army?

Mind you, we fought FOUR wars under that model. It was not until the fifth that Congress decided to create a standing army, and history has proven, not only was that move unnecessary, but it has resulted in exactly what we were warned about - unending military "adventures", delusions of empire, economic devastation, and in short, we are now less free and less safe than we were at the immediate end of that fifth war. (and many would even question our involvement in THAT war or the one that preceeded it, or the one before that)

In short, we fought one war for our right to govern ourseleves, since then we've only been "invaded" once and we successfully repelled that, a the third time was more like questionable disputes over border territory. This was followed by three "wars" we got involved in as a result of aspirations of empire and grandeur, specifically designed and orchestrated to "prove" the need for a standing army.

That's 239 years of history to prove your concern is not solid, merely serves as a diversion and distraction from the facts, and that only validates the more real and present dangers that a standing army poses to the security of a free people.

None if the navy and air force are adequate

...and that's why I suggest only the ARNG (a federal militia) and the USMC (tiny standing army) for defense of US territory.

Your fears of standing armies are, in any case, overblown. The federal government did not fight the civil war or either world war with the standing army; it raised new armies as needed: i.e. the absence of a standing army would not have prevented those wars. To my mind, choice between a standing and part-time army should be made on practical grounds, as it has little political significance.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

What would it take?

Boots
on
native
soil.

Rotating ARMY regularly into the civilian and State militias
to DECENTRALIZE the command structure.
Centralized ONLY upon imminent threat conditions.
NO policing actions. NO integration with law enforcement.

Air Force and Navy would be the ONLY centralized forces
under Federal command.

Shut down the Pentagon completely and downsize the DOD to a fifth
their current size.

This is already accomplished by the State militia model.

It is also accomplished by the requirement that officers are commissioned by their State legislatures, and not from any central political authority.

Check that Constitution again.

If we follow the State militia model, there will be no need for what you are describing.

wouldnt hurt to

have an Honorable Commander in Chief.

wolfe's picture

What do we cut? Everything.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_...

And in reference to the "free rider" problem. That's a red herring. That problem doesn't exist. Look at every major -supported- military action and you will see people sacrificing everything in support of it. Why should we fund for a war unless we are in a legitimate war?

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

The militia model also removes any vestige of concern about the

so-presumed "free-rider" problem.

Everyone of age and ability is required to be invested and trained.

I find it odd that you're worried about standing armies...

...but you're okay with the draft.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

But not 100%, and that's the point

Look at every major -supported- military action and you will see people sacrificing everything in support of it.

You will see (the vast majority of) people sacrificing deeply to support it ... and other people not supporting it. Those other people are the free riders. So what you're saying is that when a military action has very widespread support, it has fewer non-supporters, and therefore fewer free riders. But not zero.

And in WW2, some sacrifices were voluntary but much of it was forced. Look at the thriving black market in response to rationing and price controls. Is there any reason to think that the level of sacrifice would have been anything close to what it was, if it were purely optional for every individual?

wolfe's picture

read my other statements in regard to defending resources...

As far as the "free riders" you indicate that were implicitly included in my statement. The fact is those individuals made personal decisions that the Japanese/Germans were less of a threat to their survival than the USG. That is a fair assessment, especially given what we now know about the war. Who are you to hold a gun to their head and steal from them because you disagree?

You have an obligation as a war supporter to convince those people, not to steal from them.

Which to put a very distinct point on it, the increase in state powers following both Pearl Harbor and 911 were a direct referendum from the people as a whole. State power is granted at the consent (either direct or through non-action) and therefore, in and of itself was an expression of support.

And lastly. Their is NO example of those people you call free riders actually being protected. The free rider is someone who get's services that they didn't pay for. Not someone who managed to avoid being stolen from for services that never benefited him.

By all accounts, no more US attacks would have happened. Pearl Harbor was provoked. -AND- the allies had ALREADY won the war for the most part and we just stepped in for a bit of credit at the end.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

What could you possibly mean by that??

Their is NO example of those people you call free riders actually being protected. The free rider is someone who get's services that they didn't pay for. Not someone who managed to avoid being stolen from for services that never benefited him.

It looks like you perhaps have a completely different definition of "free rider" in mind from the usual. In the case of protection, the "managed to avoid being stolen from" *is* the result of the service rendered, if it's effective. If all my neighbors pay for a police force that I decline to pay for, and the police are effective at keeping potential burglars out of the community and as a result I "manage to avoid being stolen from," are you suggesting that I'm not a free rider by your definition?

To apply this to WW2: If the sacrifices that most people made were in part the way people paid for the war effort, then those who didn't sacrifice were free riders by the usual definition. If the US entering the war in Europe and the Pacific protected anyone on US soil, then it protected everyone, including the free riders.

Which part are you disagreeing with?

"the 'free rider' problem...doesn't exist"

People benefit from military defense whether they pay for it or not, so they have no incentive to pay for it. That's the free rider problem and it's very real.

For example: say some residents of a town pay a monthly subscription to a company which operates an air defense system. One day, there's an attack. There's no way for the company to only defend its customers, by the nature of war it has to defend the entire area. It has to shoot down all the incoming missiles or warplanes; it can't somehow shoot down only the ones that are attacking its customers. So the non-customers get the same benefits as the customers, but they didn't have to pay anything for it.

There have been times in history when property owners could gather together at the outbreak of war and defend themselves adequately, but that is no longer the case. To defend yourself against modern military weapons, you need your own modern military weapons, and these cannot be created at the outbreak of war. They must already exist. Which means someone must have already paid for them. And because of the free rider problem, no one has an incentive to pay for them. Therefore, they must be financed by taxes.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

wolfe's picture

uh hu...

"People benefit from military defense whether they pay for it or not, so they have no incentive to pay for it. That's the free rider problem and it's very real."

I understand what you -mean- when you say a free rider problem. I simply dispute it's validity.

When was the last time the US was invaded? Enough said.

Further, during WWII, when people actually believed in the war (whether misguided or not), everyone was sacrificing life, blood, and money for the effort without complaints. Once again, there is no free rider problem.

As far as who benefits? Well, the owners of the resources they are trying to defend (since all wars are over resources) are responsible for the defense of those resources and can choose to pass the cost onto the consumer in the form of higher prices. For instance, protection across shipping lanes.

You can make up imaginary hypotheticals all day long to support whatever your argument is, but the point is that it has no basis in reality.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Allow me to retort...

"When was the last time the US was invaded? Enough said."

The fact that we have a military might have something to do with that.

"Further, during WWII, when people actually believed in the war (whether misguided or not), everyone was sacrificing life, blood, and money for the effort without complaints. Once again, there is no free rider problem."

The idea that WWII was or could have been funded voluntarily is simply preposterous. The military machine during WWII was created and sustained by an unprecedented use of state power.

"As far as who benefits? Well, the owners of the resources they are trying to defend (since all wars are over resources) are responsible for the defense of those resources and can choose to pass the cost onto the consumer in the form of higher prices. For instance, protection across shipping lanes.[/quote]

There's no free rider problem with protecting individual ships, as the defense company can indeed protect some ships and not protect others. But in many other circumstances that could arise in war, it is not possible to exclude non-payers from the benefits of protection: as in my example with air defense. I might add, while there's no free rider problem in protecting individual ships, there is a problem for protecting shipping lanes: since you'd be protecting every ship on that route whether they chose to pay for protection or not.

"You can make up imaginary hypotheticals all day long to support whatever your argument is, but the point is that it has no basis in reality."

I gave an example of a case where the free rider problem would exist. You didn't dispute it, so I guess you agree the free rider problem would exist in that scenario. As for how realistic that scenario is, seems pretty realistic to me. Aerial attacks are part and parcel of modern warfare, are they not?

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Last US Invasion? 1916

Pancho Villa invaded Columbus, New Mexico. Stampeded women and raped cattle.
However, the media was busy covering an attack on the most powerful nation in the world at that time,(England) in Dublin Ireland. A few poets were rounded up and shot in retaliation, sparking an urban guerilla war masterminded by Michael Collins, which eventually ejected the Brits from most of the island, but the struggle continues. UP THE REBELS!!

“...taxes are not raised to carry on wars, but that wars are raised to carry on taxes”
Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

A one off border incursion does not constitute an "invasion"

Truly, the last time we were "invaded" was during the War of 1812, which while certainly the Brits were due for being put in their place with respect to our sovereignty, WE started that war by declaring it in response to "grievances" and not in response to any specific attack or list of attacks.

wolfe's picture

ok...

"I gave an example of a case where the free rider problem would exist. You didn't dispute it, so I guess you agree the free rider problem would exist in that scenario."

I did dispute it. You cannot name a real world scenario in which that has happened with the US. Given it's unique world geography (commented on by the founding fathers), and it's labor intensive resources, it simply doesn't make any sense.

And no, our standing military has never been used to defend the US. And the few times it could have been (Pearl Harbor, 911), it failed so miserably as to prove my point.

A standing military is indefensible. Pun intended.

Why would you protect a "shipping lane". That is protecting empty water. You protect resources and people. So you can protect a ship crossing a shipping lane, but you cannot protect, or at least should not protect empty water.

Once again, you are focused on the propaganda that they hate use for X or want to kill us for Y. While religious and idealogical reasons have been used to pound the war drums for all time, in reality, all wars are for resources.

Lastly, I am not trying to convince you of anything. I have long ago decided that it is a waste of time to convince most people because they are set in their ways. So we can agree to disagree and move on. If I have gotten you to think about the difference between violently defending resources (the purpose of self defense based wars), and violently defending "nothing" (the current apparent justification for government violence used against us to extract tax dollars) then that is enough... And if not, life goes on for both of us.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

You did not explain why

You did not explain why anyone in the town in my scenario would bother paying for defense services when they can get them for free. Nor did you explain why a scenario involving air attack is unrealistic.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

wolfe's picture

Your scenario has never happened.

The closest would be 911 and Pearl Harbor. Neither of which were prevented by your ill gotten gains supporting the military.

The burden of proof for you and your hypothetical is on you, and not me.

It is a ridiculous hypothetical. People do not go to war in an effort to kill people. They go to war for resources. Land, gold, etc. Resources can and should be protected by the owners. Period.

In addition, the argument is a little like me saying the sky is blue and you saying "what if it was pink". If we lived in the middle east, Iran, Israel, etc, this debate might go considerably differently due to the close proximity of those who wanted easily acquired resources. That isn't the case. We live in the US, fairly well isolated, and well within significant warning of any impending attack. In fact, our only real threat are the Mexican drug cartels which could be ended with legalization and in fact the US Military has done NOTHING to protect us from.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

The assumption...

...that no foreign power would ever attack the US, even if the US had no defense, is absurd wishful thinking, not worth further consideration on my part.

"People do not go to war in an effort to kill people."

I never said they did. There are various reasons for war, the one I had in mind was annexation of territory. Say a foreign state wants to conquer NYC. Is it possible for a defense company patronized by *some* of the inhabitants of the city to prevent its customers' property from being annexed, while allowing the property of their neighbors across the street to be annexed? Of course not. Defending a patchwork of properties distributed randomly through the city is impossible. Either the entire city (or at least a coherent section of it) is defended, or none of it is defended. You see why you can't defend Bob's house on 7th avenue, and Bill's house on 6th avenue, and three other houses on the West Side, a couple in the Bronx, but not anything in between? You see how that is impossible militarily? And how it's absurd to think that a invading state would agree to annex all of NYC except for a couple properties? It's all or nothing. If an area is being threatened with conquest, you have to defend everyone in that area or defend none of them, it is practically impossible to defend just some: i.e. just the ones who pay for your services. Hence, free rider problem. Everyone in the area gets the benefits of protection whether they pay for it or not.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

wolfe's picture

I never said that...

"...that no foreign power would ever attack the US, even if the US had no defense, is absurd wishful thinking, not worth further consideration on my part."

I never said any of that. You made the claim that security must be provided by an overarching state, funded at gunpoint by it's citizens.

"I never said they did. There are various reasons for war, the one I had in mind was annexation of territory.""

There is only ONE, count them, ONE reason for war. PERIOD. ZERO EXCEPTIONS. Resources. Which are the responsibility of the resource owners. Whether that is land, gold, or other.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/