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Research Report

Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources

Gary J. Schmitt
Thomas Donnelly
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2007
Pages: 180
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-4)

    The following chapters were written to examine each of the military services and the Marine Corps with an eye toward what resources they will need in order to meet America’s strategic needs, rather than what current and projected budgets will allow.

    In the first chapter, “Numbers Matter,” we attempt to place the current crisis in defense resources in a broader strategic and historical context. The fact that there is a crisis at all will certainly come as a surprise to many. Most Americans assume that the growth in defense spending since September 11, 2001, has corrected the widely reported gap...

  2. (pp. 5-29)
    Gary J. Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly

    At the end of the nineteenth century, American politicians and policymakers began to grasp that the geopolitical position of the United States was changing profoundly. Not only had the country’s economy become the largest in the world, but its ability to stand aloof from international politics had disappeared: the rise of Germany made the European balance of power increasingly unstable, and that of Japan posed a potential challenge to existing and growing American interests in East Asia.

    “We cannot,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt at the time, “sit huddled within our own borders and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters...

  3. (pp. 30-51)
    Frederick W. Kagan

    In 1986, Charles Heller and William Stofft published a book entitled America’s First Battles that explored why U.S. forces had lost the first major battle of every war between 1776 and 1965.¹ The thesis, part of a larger argument motivating transformation of the U.S. Army in the 1970s and 1980s, was that future wars would be short, sharp affairs in which such a performance would lead not to subsequent rebirth and triumph but to rapid defeat. A similar book written today about the military struggles of the past two decades might be called instead America’s Long Wars. From 1989 to...

  4. (pp. 52-81)
    Loren Thompson

    America’s armed forces fare best in the political system when the nation is in danger and the military is performing well. If danger recedes or defeat looms, they can fare very poorly.

    That certainly has been the experience of the Air Force during most of its brief history. Success in World War II brought the Air Force independence from the Army, and the primacy of the nuclear strike mission in early Cold War years made the youngest service first among equals in military councils. During the Vietnam War, in contrast, public dissatisfaction with military performance translated into budget cuts and...

  5. (pp. 82-113)
    Robert O. Work

    Naval warfare—that is, fleet-on-fleet combat—is essentially about sinking another navy’s ships. In competitions among naval powers, then, those that have bigger navies have an inherent advantage. In the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, a period marked by intense naval competition, the relative ranking of navies was often derived by comparing their overall fleet numbers, and particularly their number of “capital ships.”¹

    After 1890, when the United States decided to compete against the world’s top naval powers, the U.S. Navy became obsessed with metrics, such as its overall number of ships and aggregate fleet tonnage. In 1945, as...

  6. (pp. 114-136)
    Francis G. Hoffman

    The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) should have provided the Marine Corps with a coherent map to train, equip, and organize forces for the world it faces today and the one it will face in the future. It didn’t.

    On its face, the QDR was a well-constructed report, with clear prose that identified four clear priorities: defeating terrorist networks; defending the homeland in depth; shaping the choices of countries at “strategic crossroads”; and preventing hostile states and nonstate actors from acquiring or using weapons of mass destruction.¹

    And, indeed, the QDR’s final report shares many of the themes and priorities...