Chris Pook said:
OK - I feel better now.
An opportunity to disagree. [
The US is contributing 3.6% of GDP to its defence. IN ADDITION it provides all the other services that Byers describes to its citizens.
If the US (and NATO) agree to the Byers model then the US will claim a budget of 5? 6? 10%? of GDP. So, will 2% still be the standard?
And, indeed, while not all of the 3.6% of GDP is committed to NATO, NATO has access to all of the capability that that 3.6% of GDP buys.
Meanwhile, in Canada, we get covered not only by the NATO committed budget (of 2%) but also the NORAD committed budget. Arguably we should be committing MORE than 2%.
I think we generally agree (and I think that the US Coast Guard is already part of the US Armed Forces and therefore within the 3.6% - not sure if they count Border Security)
I quite frankly think that we can and should put more into the defence budget but it needs to be for a meaningful use and not to create bigger and fatter headquarters.
I'm still a big believer that we do not need a larger regular force. What we need is a bigger and fully equipped reserve force that translates into more deployable field force which would allow us to meet commitments. How that's legislated, recruited, organised, trained, equipped and deployed are details. What we need first of all is a commitment which takes us away from the fiction that only full time personnel will do the job.
If we're letting the US dictate our GDP numbers then maybe we should look at the US active component to reserve (NG and AR) ratios:
Army: Active 487k, NG/AR 660k;
Navy: Active 323k, NR 111k;
Air Force: Active 307k, ANG/AFR 211k;
Marines: Active 183k, MR 111k;
Coast Guard: Active 39k, CGR 8k
Our numbers are:
Army: Reg 23k, Res 17k, Rangers 5k;
Navy: Reg 8.5k, Res 5.1k
Air Force: Reg 14.5k Res 2.6k
Other: Reg F 22k, Res 1.8k
With the exception of the navy, our reg to Res ratios are all skewed significantly in favour of the Reg F. This is especially true for the army where much of the US heavy combat power and sustainment organizations (those forces primarily required for major operations) are contained in the ANG and AR respectively while lighter rapid deployment and special forces are in the Active componenet. On the other hand our Army reservists have no equipment (much less heavy equipment) to speak of.
The same holds true (even more so) for the US Air Force where significant war fighting equipment is in the hands of the AirNG and Air Res.
Long story short, while I favour an increased defence budget, in my humble opinion we should not give one more nickle to the defence budget until the senior command comes up with a plan to first create significant and fully equipped and deployable war fighting formations predominantly staffed by the Res F.