Gen. Frederick Kroesen Published Articles
Why Rebuild the Army?
Last month, this column addressed three requirements for rebuilding the Army (''Road to Restore, Refurbish, Reconstitute''). First, recognize the Army is too small and authorize an immediate addition to the end strength. Second, direct Army leadership to design the force actually needed to satisfy the National Military Strategy. Third, recognize that a commitment to a winning military effort requires the commitment of all the joint forces; no war has been won by our individual services operating alone.
Road to Restore, Refurbish, Reconstitute
No Can Do
Once again, the can-do determination of the U.S. Army becomes apparent with its reaction to the recent announcement of resource reductions. The choice to ‘‘slow the growth,’’ which subjects military personnel to a reduction of future pay increases so money can be diverted to readiness and research and development, is now partnered with another end-strength reduction of 50,000 to save more money.
More Than Eavesdropping at NSA
The electromagnetic spectrum, now called cyberspace, is a vast medium through which signals, communications, radio, television and all other electronic transmissions are possible. For the most part, what goes out into cyberspace is the business of the transmitter, although governments and international agreements establish some controls guiding and restricting usage in order to prevent chaos. These controls do not relieve the transmitter of the responsibility for the content of those signals, all of which are subject to intercept by someone or some agency.
More Than a Fair Share of Sacrifice
The size of the Army appears to be the critical factor in determining how the latest defense budget reduction and potential sequestration requirements will be met. The Secretary of Defense has proposed reducing the projected number of 490,000 to $450,000 or perhaps 440,000. Speculation about that proposal among columnists and other seers identifies 420,000 as more likely. Then there are the oracles who promise that an additional 100,000 or so will not endanger our national security. Our esteemed colleague, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos, is reported to have advocated an Army of 125,000 if we keep the Marine Corps at adequate strength and buy into the AirSea Battle strategy. That would return the Army to its post World War I condition and the inadequacies faced in 1940. Meanwhile, air-sea strategy will cope with a Ukraine crisis, threats to NATO's eastern borders, worldwide terrorism, and peer threats to Israel, Korea, Japan or the Philippines, as well as prevent Muslim expansion of control in Africa.
There is no shortage of historical stories, anecdotes and remembrances that highlight the importance of personal trust as an absolute requirement for the success of military operations. The Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, has made the development of trust a concerted effort. It is a requirement that permeates all echelons of the Army, beginning with the trust every soldier must have in the other members of his or her squad, squad leader and the chain of command that directs his or her action.
The Best and the Brightest - Again
There is one topic that rolls around on an inconsistent timetable but shows up periodically, always to question (if not to castigate) the Army's retention and promotion policies. The authors frequently deplore the loss of the ''best and brightest'' who have resigned or not reenlisted because promotions are not made ''on merit,'' or coveted assignments are not available or are given to the unqualified or deserving. The ''brain drain'' then assures both the remaining officer and NCO corps are less qualified, less competent and less representative of good leadership. Those revelations are always accompanied by glaring examples of generals, colonels, and perhaps sergeants major who are corrupt, sexual predators, demanding autocrats or have less-than-admirable reputations.
Marshall Wisdom: Lessons From the Past
The GEN George C. Marshall ''Interviews and Reminiscences,'' published in 1991 by the George C. Marshall Foundation, provides an abundance of sage observations concerning the need for an Army, the building of an Army and the challenges of coping with the political and economic influences on those requirements. Marshall's lifetime of service from World War I until the late 1950s is without parallel in our history. He completed a remarkable military career and followed it with years of civilian leadership in both the Defense and State departments. His views deserve respect and consideration, especially today as we consider our national strategy and the commitment of programs and resources to our future requirements. The following aspects of Marshall's work are germane to our current situation.
Sequestration is still the law of the land, and we are now one-quarter through fiscal year 2014 with no apparent relief. Congress is concerned about the impact and expressing varied forms of relief, almost none of which address the defense situation. It is beyond time to worry about the effect. We must get on with how to live through it.
What Is The Requirement?
Recently, a local newspaper published a 12-page special section entitled ''Aerospace, Defense and Homeland Security.'' Twelve members of Congress were among those who wrote columns regarding their concerns about our capabilities in those general areas, as these capabilities have been affected by past and current budget appropriations - and might be affected in the future.
The Spirit of' 45
This article is a transcript of GEN Frederick J. Kroesen’s keynote speech at the “Spirit of ’45 Day” ceremony on August 11 at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The ceremony marks a national day of remembrance that honors the legacy of the men and women of the World War II generation. While the theme of GEN Kroesen’s speech is centered on World War II and the celebration of V-J Day, which effectively ended the war, his remarks are also appropriate on Veterans Day.
An Argument for National Service
Periodically, our commentators and columnists bring up the always controversial subject of returning to the draft. Not long ago, one wrote about the unaffordability of the volunteer Army. More recently, there have been articles regarding sequestration and its impact on recruiting when potential volunteers consider reduced end strengths, reductions in force, stretchedout promotions, curtailment of family programs and medical services, and threatened retirement changes. There have always been good, logical arguments favoring a draft.
Remembering a Sine Wave
The 20th century gave us a long history in which the resources needed to fight wars and maintain credible fighting forces during periods of peace varied from surfeit to meagerness, from feast to famine. The impact of each of these identifiable periods on the mission effectiveness of the Army and on the lives of soldiers and their families is both a lesson of history and, perhaps, a worrisome portent for the 21st century.
The Fourth of July
On the Fourth of July, we will once again celebrate the birth of our nation and the power and prosperity that have devolved on us during the past 237 years. We can honestly and without qualification credit our forebears with providing our common defense, promoting the general welfare and guaranteeing the blessings of liberty that we continue to enjoy. And we can be proud, without arrogance, that we have provided the opportunity for a great segment of mankind beyond our borders to enjoy those same blessings.