In article below, Ricks is oversimplistic. Quality may be more important than quantity, but a certain amount of quantity is essential. We may not have months available for a buildup as in ODS/S and OIF. Capability and capacity are both required.)
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, December 6, 2013
Thomas E. Ricks is an adviser on national security at the New America Foundation, where he participates in its “Future of War” project. A former Post reporter, he has written five books about the U.S. military, most recently “The Generals: American Military Command From World War II to Today.”
Want a better U.S. military? Make it smaller. The bigger the military, the more time it must spend taking care of itself and maintaining its structure as it is, instead of changing with the times. And changing is what the U.S. military must begin to do as it recovers from the past decade’s two wars.
For example, the Navy recently christened the USS Gerald R. Ford , an aircraft carrier that cost perhaps $13.5 billion. Its modern aspects include a smaller crew, better radar and a different means of launching aircraft, but it basically looks like the carriers the United States has built for the past half-century. And that means it has a huge “radar signature,” making it highly visible. That could be dangerous in an era of global satellite imagery and long-range precision missiles, neither of which existed when the Ford’s first predecessors were built. As Capt. Henry Hendrix, a naval historian and aviator, wrote this year, today’s carrier, like the massive battleships that preceded it, is “big, expensive, vulnerable — and surprisingly irrelevant to the conflicts of the time.” What use is a carrier if the missiles that can hit it have a range twice as long as that of the carrier’s aircraft?