Grow the Army?

Call me a crank, but when everyone starts agreeing on something, I start looking for flaws in the argument. I get the feeling that Steven Metz is the same way, which is probably why I get such a kick out of reading his work. In this case it’s a short op-ed (.pdf) from the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute questioning the gathering consensus that the U.S. Army needs to be expanded. Metz points out that the troops needed to ease the strain caused by Iraq and Afghanistan will take five years to generate, especially the officer corps. If we still need them at that point, it’s worth questioning whether we ought to be in Iraq and Afghanistan to begin with. Beyond that, the larger force structure is mainly applicable to the kinds of boot-heavy, longterm counterinsurgency campaigns justified by what Metz argues is a flawed causal link between unstable conflict zones and the global terror threat. Worth a read, as always.