A unit of the Minnesota National Guard is about to go to Afghanistan for the second time in four years. This time, its mission is likely to include helping prepare for the eventual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. President Obama has promised to withdraw troops from that country next year.
But the military's departure from Afghanistan after more than a decade of war is not the only change awaiting it. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is trying to work with a smaller budget. It seems inevitable that the Army will have to be smaller — but some voices within the defense community are saying that it can be stronger at the same time.
Retired Adm. Mark Fitzgerald and two other former senior officers recently wrote an article for The National Interest arguing that "there is a way to reform and reorganize the U.S. military within the constraints of smaller budgets that not only doesn't put national security at risk, but actually increases combat power, especially that of the army." Key points to their argument include more integration with joint forces and more restraint.
The retired officers say their vision would "in the end produce a force that has greater combat capability, costs less to operate, is more sustainable over the long term, and is more strategically and operationally responsive to joint-force operations."
Retired Col. Douglas Macgregor has been talking and writing about similar strategies for decades. In fact, it's the "Macgregor Transformation Model" that Fitzgerald and his colleagues use as the key to their proposal.
Macgregor and Fitzgerald join The Daily Circuit to share their ideas and talk about how a smaller Army could be an advantage.