It’s been over 20 years since Desert Storm. In that time, we’ve had the “peace dividend” of the Clinton years, and, in spite of a modest build up during the Global War on Terror, we’re again facing a cut in substantial numbers of troop units.

I came across this graphic recently. It’s old. I remember seeing it almost immediately after I got home.


Click to embiggenfy.

Quite a few of those units are gone, and likely to never return. Further, there was still a substantial strategic reserve of active forces left stateside. Could we ever field such a large force again?

In these austere budgetary times, many folks will point to our new strategic emphasis on the Pacific, and the need to maintain or even grow our Navy and Air Force. I’m not hostile to that. But at the start of 1990, no one foresaw the need for a massive contingency operation in the Middle East. We can choose where we place our emphasis, but we can’t always choose where we will be forced to act.

2 thoughts on “Drawdowns”

  1. Not only did we have those heavy divisions from Germany, but we had six carriers. We were serious about retaking Kuwait.

    I would not expect to see that large of a commitment in the lifetime of our current administration, even for home defense. We certainly will see nothing similar in the Middle East. Israel is totally on it’s own, with no resupply a la 1973 offered by the US.

    The only plausible event that could trigger something of a similar scale is if events in Mexico go pear-shaped in the next election. A full-on Narco-kingdom pushing drug gang sovereignty and no-go zones deep into America may, in a non-Democratic administration, lead to a major ground war effort. IMHO.

    Korea and Taiwan are on their own, as is Southern Europe and the Baltic States.

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