The Cato Institute’s Chris Preble writes, “The military is the most popular institution in America, and the men and women serving in the military are almost universally revered. Cutting the troops’ pay is about as popular as kicking Santa Claus on Christmas — but the opprobrium lasts 365 days of the year.”
America needs to reduce military personnel costs without cutting benefits for active duty men and women. How do we achieve this goal? Dr. Preble’s advice: “reduce the number of active-duty troops.”
In nearly every human endeavor, from farming to manufacturing, technology has reduced the number of people required to accomplish a task
However, one stubborn exception remains. Armed-nation building, what the military calls counterinsurgency (COIN), has proved nearly impervious to efficiency gains. When the United States chooses to shuffle the political deck in a weak or failing state, it needs men and women on the ground to do the work.
[T]he United States is ill suited to such missions precisely because Americans lack the will patience to sustain them.
The public’s instincts are correct. Fixing failed states, or rescuing weak ones, isn’t necessary to preserve U.S. security.