QOW: Should there be Another Armed Force in the US?
I've been thinking about this for a while now. Just what is the purpose of the US Military?
I mean, it used to be we had the services to defend the country. When there wasn't a war, we didn't have a War Department. Then, around 1880 or so, we had the armed services to "protect national interests." That meant keeping the sea lanes and ports open for commerce. But even then, in between wars we let the services run down a lot. We were lucky to have troops enough to get into WW II without losing the Pacific, and even that was really just poor planning on the part of the Japanese instead of anything we did.
Then we had to have DoD to fight the Russians. Now we have the war on terror. But something very unusual has happened along the way: we're paying more for less troops, and we've had massive mission creep.
Any more, you can see US forces delivering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, providing "peacekeeping" forces for governments who can't do it, or providing civil services to places all around the globe. These missions all require boots on the ground. Meanwhile, we're spending trillions (over time) in high tech gear to fight the Chinese some day -- or at least to deter the Chinese from acting stupid. The money is going for the gear, while the missions are spreading out all over the place for actual humans on the ground to complete.
It seems to me that having a definition of what you are trying to do is a pretty good way to measure how well you are doing. And just what is DoD trying to do? Can we put it in a sentence or two? I don't think so.
I think at the least we should have another branch of the armed forces for civilian work. Call it the "Civilian Corps" or something like that. You could try to make them non-combatants, but that would not work because of the need for military policemen and police/military operations. In either case, we do not need Marine units in the desert of Iraq performing civilian support roles. The Navy should not be tasking carrier groups to provide tsunami relief. It's not that these things are not important -- they're very important. They're just not what we're paying those guys to do.
So what do you think? Have we lost our way at the Department of Defense? Should we have a branch of service just for helping governments and people out, instead of blowing up things?