the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a peacetimenestabhshment of 23 active Army divisions,nfour Marine amphibious forces,n24 Navy carrier groups, and 30 activenAir Force tactical fighter wings. Even ifnPresident Reagan’s complete programnhad been implemented, force levelsnwould not have reached these goals. Activenforces peaked at 18 Army divisions,nthree Marine amphibious forces, 14 carrierngroups, and 24 fighter wings. ThenArmy peaked at 770,000 men in 1989,nstill far below the 950,000 it had in 1964,nthe last year of peace before Vietnam.nThe Reagan program modernized Americannforces, but the Pentagon never recoverednthe numerical strength it lostnduring the malaise of the 1970’s. Now thenArmy is to be cut to 500,000 men.nDuring the Persian Gulf War thenArmy’s crack “heavy divisions” werenshipped from Germany to Saudi Arabianalong with other units earmarked fornNATO. Over 223,000 reservists werencalled to the colors. This indicates thatnthe United States does not have a post-nCold War “military surplus.” Throughoutnthe Cold War, troops deployed tonface the Soviets were used for a variety ofnother missions.n’fet defense cuts are proceeding as if thenPersian Gulf War never took place. Byn1995 the Army will lose six divisions, thenNavy two carrier groups, and the Air Forcennine fighter wings. The Armed Servicesnwill lose 25 percent of their personnel.nCounting civilian Defense Departmentnemployees, over one million people willnleave the military establishment. Whatnthis means was stated by Defense SecretarynDick Cheney: “If you take all of thenforce that’s deployed in support of OperationnDesert Storm … that’s a little overn500,000 people. We’re going to take anforce of that size out of the United Statesnmilitary over the next five years.”nProduction lines for aircraft and heavynweapons are shutting down in an industrialnsector where the number of firms engagednin defense work was already shrinking.nIt will be very difficult to (in currentnjargon) “reconstitute” the nation’s fightingnforces. In their J 99J Joint Net Assessmentnthe Joint Chiefs estimated thatnby 1997 “it would take two to four yearsnto restore production capability to 1990nlevels for items whose lines have gonencold.” And 1990 was a year of peacetimenproduction levels after real defense spendingnhad already been falling for four years.nTo make the current plan look reasonable,nthe administration is assuming that thenUnited States will have two years ofn”strategic warning” before anything dangerousnhappens. Apparently future enemiesnare expected to be very cooperative.nDefense Secretary Cheney says,” Whatnwe have presented here is a force that wenthink is the absolute minimum, irreduciblencapability that we have to havenin order to defend the United States—nunder certain positive assumptions.”nCongress, though, sees the plan notnas a minimum but as a starting point fornmore cuts. Yet the demands of war arenalways greater than anticipated even whennrealistic rather than “positive” assumptionsnare used.nFor example, in 1979, the Pentagonndrew up a plan for combating an Iraqi invasionnof Kuwait. It was thought that fournArmy divisions (two mechanized and twonairborne), three Marine brigades, andnthree aircraft carriers would be required.nWhen the real situation materialized,nthe United States sent seven Army divisionsn(three armored, two mechanized,nand two airborne), two marine divisions,nand six aircraft carriers plus the equivalentnof a dozen Air Force fightand a hostnof support units including armored cavalrynand extra artillery—a force more thanntriple what was originally planned. Evennthis was not considered sufficient. Forcesnfrom Britain, France, and various Arabnstates were also called upon. Nearly halfnthe conventional military might of thenUnited States was needed to confront onenThird Worid despot. The notion that thenUnited States only needs a small “contingencynarmy” should have been buriednin the desert. But the notion persists becausenit serves those who want to raid thenPentagon budget. Whether the objectivenis to buy votes through “middle-class taxncuts” or to nationalize the health insurancenindustry, whenever anyone raises thenquestion of where the money is to comenfrom, the answer is “the peace dividend.”nLiberals see defense as the only placenin a budget of over $1.5 trillion where extranmoney can be found for new socialnprograms. Yet fiscal exigency cannot providenthe rationale for American disarmamentnon the scale contemplated. Thenfive-year plan adopted in the 1990 budgetnagreement cut $246.4 billion from thenprior July 1990 baseline projection forn1991-1995 defense spending. Yet this representsnonly 3 percent of estimated totalnfederal spending during this period.nBush’s new cuts will not make much differencento the overall budget even if doublednas the Democrats want, but they willnnndo substantial damage to the Pentagon.nThe reduction in military capability is thusndisproportionately large given the meagernfiscal benefits. And no money will ben”saved.” It will all be spent elsewhere.nOver the next five years, defense spendingnwill fall from about 20 percent of thenbudget to 15 percent. In 1992 the budgetndeficit was larger than the entirenPentagon budget. In contrast major domesticnprograms are expanding at doubledigitnrates. It is clear that the military isnneither the cause nor the solution of thengovernment’s money problems.nBy 1996 defense spending will representnless than 3.5 percent of the GNP, thenlowest level since 1948. A great manynAmerican soldiers paid for this eariier boutnof parsimony with their lives when the KoreannWar broke out in 1950. Wars arenfought, at least initially, with the forcesnbuilt during the prior decade. Can anyonenreally be so optimistic as to place suchna heavy bet on there not being a warnon the scale of Korea or the Gulf duringnthe next twenty years?nThe 1990’s have started out as a verynviolent decade. Conflicts are brewingnthroughout the world as new power centersnand economic capabilities are created,nproviding the means to carry out oldnfeuds as well as new ambitions. A failurento provide military forces commensuratenwith America’s global interests will costnfar more than money. It will cost livesnin a future war that the United Statesnmight not find as easy to win as in thenGulf.nDisarmarnent programs are no morenviable in the I990’s than they were in thenI920’s and I930’s when another eranof supposed peace turned out to benmerely another interwar period. PresidentnBush seems bent on following thendismal examples of the Republican administrationsnof Harding, Coolidge, andnHoover. Then, as now, in the name ofnpeace, arms control, and fiscal restraintnthe military was dropped to such a lownlevel that it was unprepared for the nextnset of challenges and thus invited war.nOnly the President’s continued supportnfor missile defense systems shows anynregard for reality.nSince the left actively promotes disarmament,nit is up to conservatives whonunderstand the lessons of history tonchampion the abiding value of a strongnmilitary. The failure of the conservativenmovement to do so bodes ill for the nation’snfuture security.n—William R. HawkinsnJUNE 1992/9n