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.
The military’s current proposal to expand the force simply adds more troops to the existing structure. Expanding the ground forces is not just about having a larger force; it should be about adding new capabilities to the ground forces. A primary role of an expanded Marine Corps will be to respond rapidly to disasters and humanitarian crises around the globe. These operations should become a priority for the Marine Corps. The Army must also reform itself to improve their ability to conduct stability operations, since these operations are vital to the success of any mission.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on rebuilding the military after Iraq see: