What Beltway Republicans Need To Do
The premier source for
California political news
your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
tOR Talk Radio
Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist,
author and a popular speaker. Born into a military
family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East
Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces
service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation
from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both
the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive
for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work,
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is
based in large part on his extensive experience in
Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman.
[go to Cucullu index]
a Superpower - Part II - The Troops
[Gordon Cucullu] 9/17/04
a Superpower - Part I - Equipment we see how material and weaponry
factors into calculations of US strength: nuclear
capability “necessary but a misleading indicator of strength,
military equipment - under funded and needing upgrades, and
intelligence gathering technology” a repository for blind
faith. We see that it is a uniquely American cultural proclivity
to fall in love with our gadgetry and rely heavily on it. But
that is only one facet of this complex issue. What else makes
America a superpower?
The simple answer is: the quality of the troops
who stand in the boots we put on the ground in dangerous places.
means much more than simply equipment. It takes special dedication,
commitment and hard work from people to build the kind of force
we take for granted. Runner Steve Prefontaine said that he didn’t
go out to see who could run the fastest but to see “who
has the most guts.” That’s the American spirit. Our
troops are imbued with this positive spirit. Sure you can find
a few in any group that large who fall short of expectations.
But taken collectively our soldiers, sailors, airman and marines
are far superior to any force that has ever been fielded in any
war, by any country. That says a lot but these men and women
have earned such accolades and more.
We have asked these men and women to move mountains
since the attack on America on September 11. They have performed
with utmost professionalism. Now it is time that we recognize,
as part of the comprehensive analysis of military and intelligence
preparedness in this War on Terror, that we need to do more for
our troops. For too long we have been operating on a shoestring,
depending on extension of service commitment for active duty
personnel, long deployments of National Guard and Reserve force
units and almost constant combat for special operations units
in order to have the troop strength necessary to fight the war.
The Guard and Reserves need a break; they are not configured
for such long deployments. We need to upgrade our forces on the
equipment side certainly, but more importantly we need urgently
to raise the force structure levels so we don’t wear our
There are bureaucratic methods that help and
the Pentagon is using most of them: hire more civilians to
free military for
combat roles, streamline units for increased efficiencies, and
recall some discharged reservists. These methods can relieve
short-term personnel pressure but have just about run their course.
We need more people in the proper places. Do we need to revive
conscription? Absolutely not. That is a red herring dragged out
by anti-war, anti-Bush politicians to try to scare Americans.
One day they’ll learn that the public is made of sterner
stuff than they are. No, raising the numbers of volunteers can
be done by a presidential appeal to the country. In time of national
crisis the American president has historically gone to the people
to ask for help in defending the country. It is a unifying move
and would elicit sufficient positive response to bring the additional
50,000-80,000 volunteers forth that would give our troops a chance
to rotate out of combat, regroup, refit and be ready for the
next round. For the next round will certainly come.
What new ground force units should we field?
We are in good shape as far as the conventional war-fighting
units are concerned.
We saw what our mechanized infantry, armored and Marine units
did in the last war. They were superb. We appear to have satisfactory
levels of those units. Where we appear to need beefing up are
in the special operations forces, airmobile and airborne units.
We now have only one division of paratroops, the 82nd and an
independent brigade, the 173rd. We have a single airmobile division,
the 101st. These units have been deployed extensively in Afghanistan
and Iraq. Given my preferences I would like to re-activate the
11th Airborne Division as a second full paratroop division, and
re-activate a proud unit like the 29th Infantry Division converting
it to Airmobile. This would seriously augment our battlefield
mobility capability ˆ though paratroop drops and helicopter
insertion and permit us to put the right force mix where it is
Additionally I would like to see at least another
Ranger regiment formed. Rangers are trained to work in conjunction
operations forces or alone against very difficult targets as
well as respond to rapidly developing situations. Rangers have “led
the way” as their motto asserts in recent combat operations
since Grenada in 1983. Ranger units have proven their mettle
for all to see. Along with the Rangers we urgently need to expand
the special operations in all services, primarily the Army Special
Forces, Delta Force, and Navy SEAL teams. Even more than is true
with the Airborne, Airmobile and Ranger units it is important
that expansion be consistent with high standards. It adds little
to sacrifice troop quality and unit performance simply to fill
a requirement. All of these units require special training in
various forms. To win membership in the most elite units can
take a soldier more than a year in some cases. Since we will
not be able to field them overnight we must begin this expansion
as soon as possible.
out intelligence gathering capability must be modernized and
improved. We’ll look at that next
time in Being a Superpower - Part III - Attitudes and Institutions CRO
a Superpower - Part III - Attitudes and Institutions
Gordon Cucullu 2004