Leadership: August 2, 2001

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The U.S. Army is being attacked on all sides. Having decided that peacekeeping with light infantry is the future, the army formed easily transportable Medium Brigades. Thus encouraged, Congress is now discussing for cutbacks in two favorite army procurement projects; the Comanche helicopter and the Crusader self-propelled artillery. The Comanche is being hit as too expensive ($30 million each) and unreliable, while the Crusader is accused of being too heavy (at 40 tons), too expensive ($13 million each) and too unreliable. The army responds that it is supposed to be ready to fight all out wars requiring stuff like Comanche and Crusader, as well as peacekeeping. At the moment, the army is also asking for more troops, pointing out that with the added burden of peacekeeping, it had personnel shortages. Another 40,000 people (going from 480,000 to 520,000 troops) would fix that problem. But some critics are proposing wholesale cuts that would further reduce the army's size, responsibilities and budget. The air force says that it can take care of a lot of overseas troublemakers with long range aircraft dropping smart bombs. The navy says it is already overseas, and besides, no one is going to invade North America anytime soon because of American naval superiority. Plus, the navy has its marines to do any needed dirty work ashore. This debate is shaping up to be a long and loud one. 

 


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