Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Well, It is Good Practice

It would be cheaper to base American units in eastern NATO or in South Korea rather than rotate new units in continuously. Which is true. But rotating units in is good practice in case we need to move in a lot of reinforcements rapidly.

This is true:

The downsizing of the Army overseas has cost more money than expected because of a reliance on expensive rotational forces when forward-based units can perform the same roles more cheaply, according to a new U.S. Army War College report.

An examination of the costs of troop rotations during the past several years in Europe and South Korea undermines a decade-old Defense Department argument that shuttling units back and forth from the United States is a more efficient way of doing business than basing them overseas, said report author John R. Deni, a War College professor.

This is true and eventually the Army should reinforce the units stationed in Europe, at least, and possibly in South Korea.

I'd like the backbone of a heavy corps of two divisions plus supporting units in Germany and enough brigades and supporting forces in South Korea to flesh out a joint US-ROK division, fleshed out with prepositioned equipment sets so troops can be flown in quickly.

As I side note, my motivation for wanting a lighter corps in Europe (see page 15--and I will again note that I do not have a PhD. I have an MA in history. I should be flattered they assumed my bio was wrong; and at one time they corrected the error at my urging; but the error has returned) was to avoid giving Russia an excuse to be hostile. That ship sailed, so I want the heavy units back in Europe.

But in the meantime, this fact from that Stars and Stripes article makes the rotations useful:

Today, about 91 percent of the Army is stationed in the United States compared to about 78 percent a few years ago.

We need the practice of moving entire units from the US to Europe and South Korea.

And the logistics desert in eastern NATO makes this deployment practice even more essential.

Eventually, we'll be good to go in having the infrastructure, equipment, and skill sets to move an army overseas. Then we should permanently station more troops in Europe and South Korea.

UPDATE: Well, yeah:

Twenty years on, the NATO-Russia Founding Act ought to be considered a dead letter—an agreement that remains in force in name only. NATO should ignore its provisions in order to more effectively and efficiently safeguard the security of its most vulnerable members.

It was a gentleman's agreement. The Russians stopped being gentlemen whose word means a damn thing.