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I think that you should view this still-born plan and the debate sparked by Franks in the context of other events, like the cancellation of the US Army’s $11-Billion Crusader program (the Crusader is a really big self-propelled 155-mm howitzer).

Increasingly, it’s getting harder and harder to justify the expense of maintaining a large standing infantry such as the US Army when the vast majority of global actions are conducted by SEALs (for highly tactical operations), the US Air Force (for ‘Asymmetric Warfare’), the US Navy (for mobile operations support), and the US Marines (for theatre control).

What we like to think of as “modern warfare” would seem to leave the US Army, with its current focus anyway, standing in the dark. In Desert Storm, even the great “Hail Mary” play where Swartzkopf had a massive force comprised of armoured divisions and mechanized infantry flanking the Republican Guard (not surprisingly, this battle group was commanded by one Frederick M. Franks) was largely symbolic.

More probably this isolates the problems with the traditional division of the US Military into four primary corps. Other nations (granted with smaller military forces) such as Israel and the UK have integrated their defense forces under a single command and they tend to develop more balanced operational plans as a result.

These days every time the US goes out to bloody someone’s nose, the in-fighting between the various corps is a cacophony. Each wants to take a leadership role in the mission in order to highlight its capabilities, so as to justify further budgetary extravagances, such as huge howitzers like the Crusader, which was commissioned in 1994 to fight the Cold War (which ended in 1989).


On 5/8/02 3:18 PM, “Richard Campbell” wrote:

> I dunno about you, but that whole scenario scares the bejeezus out of
> me.
> Gonna be a whole mess of dead Americans if Franks gets his way.