To meet the challenges of the 21st century, the U.S. military force of the future must be more mobile and flexible, as well as robust. It must be able to respond to many different types of operations. It must have the agility to respond rapidly anywhere in the world, yet be robust enough to sustain operations over the long-term. U.S. ground forces must be able to muster hundreds of thousands of people to engage in conventional combat or manpower-intensive counterinsurgency operations. But the U.S. also needs a force that is agile and mobile enough to quickly respond to crises around the world in order to conduct combat operations, as well as more delicate peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Rebuilding and expanding the military’s ground forces would enable the Army to become less dependent on the Army National Guard, decrease our excessive reliance on private contractors to perform military functions, and ensure that the soldiers and Marines receive adequate time at home between deployments.
One key step to expanding the capabilities of the force is forming specialized counterinsurgency and peacekeeping units. The military has had the view that if our forces are able to conduct high-end conventional operations, they will be able to carry out lower intensity stability and support missions. This is not necessarily the case. The military must have units that specialize in counterinsurgency and stability operations and develop the techniques associated with operating in densely populated, complex, urban environments. These units should have a greater number of personnel trained in policing, civil affairs, engineering, and medicine than are in the current Army divisions.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on rebuilding the military after Iraq see: