The effect that the killing of Osama bin Laden will have on the struggle against terrorist groups with a global reach — like Al Qaeda — is yet to be determined. But its effect on the U.S. military strategy, force structure and defense spending is likely to be profound.
Bin Laden was captured and killed by a handful of Navy SEALs, relying on intelligence gathered by CIA operatives on the ground and drones in Pakistan’s airspace. The commandos were flown hundreds of miles into Pakistan by two Army Black Hawk helicopters and two backups, which cost $6 million a piece.
Clearly, to win the war on terror, we do not have to send hundreds of thousands of troops into countries in the Middle East and Asia to overthrow their leaders. Nor will we need to have large numbers of boots on the ground to win the hearts and minds of the local populace. We can easily save billions of dollars by reducing the size of our ground forces to pre-Sept. 11 levels and cutting back on big-ticket items, like the F-35 aircraft and aircraft carriers.This article was originally published in Politico.