How Should the US Military be Structured for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy?Submitted by NowOrNever on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 17:53
- 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.
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
- Total USMC (current budget) = $33B
- 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
**Ask me if you want to see sources for any data cited