After Thanksgiving, waistlines aren’t the only things that are bloated–the Pentagon’s top ranks are fattening at an alarming rate. Despite a plan set forth by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to rein in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) increasingly top-heavy force and assurances from Pentagon personnel that these plans were being enacted, the U.S. military is still adding top brass faster than you can say tryptophan.
My concern here isn’t so much with the direct costs of having so many general/flag officers, nor even the indirect financial costs. My heartburn is that the increasing numbers of senior officers adds undue bureaucracy and complexity.
One of the things that always astounded me when I started studying the Army in World War II was the immense responsibilities placed on relatively junior officers. Today, a Lieutenant Colonel wouldn’t be trusted to stock the office coffee nook.
We have a defense overhead today that dwarfs the 16 million man force we fielded in World War II. Does that make sense to anyone?