Here's something I wrote on the topic a while back -
What Would A Constitutional Military Look Like?
A Constitutional Military would call for far more than just an end of our overseas military bases.
A standing peacetime Army is unconstitutional, our Founding Fathers abhorred them and warned us not to keep them.
From Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution -
"To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy"
The Founders made a clear distinction there between an Army to be called up when needed and a full time Navy.
"I am for relying for internal defense on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy which, by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burthens and sink us under them." --Thomas Jefferson
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” - James Madison, Father of the Constitution
What would a Constitutional military look like?
End the branch I myself served in, the Army and the Army Reserves. Save the Ranger battalions, Special Forces, and Delta units and their respective support units from the chopping block, because warfare has changed since the days of flintlocks and block formations. They would from then on serve as U.S. Marines. The Department of the Navy, which oversees both the Marine Corps and the Navy, is the only professional time of peace force the Constitution allows for.
End the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard. Any planes that the Navy deem necessary to their new defensive mission will become Naval aircraft.
An end of The Militia Act of 1903 would return control of the National Guard to the States, and each State would have a choice of keeping the status quo of a paid force, returning to a militia or a hybrid of the two. My guess is most States would return to a militia or at least a hybrid when they also get to foot the bill again.
Guarding the coast would once again become the Navy’s job, and so the Coast Guard can go back to being the Revenue Cutter Service as originally established.
This would leave us with the Navy, Navy Reserves and “the Navy’s Infantry,” the Marines and Marine Reserves, plenty of firepower to keep any enemy at bay. Reduction of those forces to reflect a defensive mission would follow. Letters of Marque and Reprisal would fill any gaps in Federal military capabilities.
Our debt is currently our biggest national security risk, and we have to cut back everywhere. Returning to the Constitution will show us the way.
"There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war." -Thomas Jefferson
“Interventionism opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.'' - George Washington
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