In 1971, then Army Col. Robert D. Heinl Jr. penned what remains today one of the most famous articles published in Armed Forces Journal’s 144-year history. “The collapse of the armed forces” was a damning assessment of the morale, discipline and battle-worthiness of the U.S. military. Heinl wrote: “the trouble of the services is above all a crisis of soul and backbone. It entails — the word is not too strong — something very near a collapse of the command authority and leadership George Washington saw as the soul of the military forces. This collapse results, at least in part, from a concurrent collapse of public confidence in the military establishment.”
Heinl’s grim article was set against the backdrop of an unpopular war, Vietnam, and a conscript Army. Iraq is today’s unpopular war, but our all-volunteer force has popular and bipartisan support and respect. Yet soldiers and Marines have been stretched too far for too long. Our cover package authors take varying views on how best to expand the Army and Marine Corps. Max Boot, author of “War Made New,” and Brookings Scholar Michael O’ Hanlon propose a foreign recruitment campaign. Associate Editor Seth Cropsey pens the opposing view. Tom Donnelly, Fred Kagan and Gary Schmitt, meanwhile, provide a focused look at the military resources crisis from their recently published collection of essays, “Of Men and Material.”
In a separate perspective, Army Special Forces Capt. James Alden argues that the Army’s process of change is handicapped by a rigidity of doctrine and stalwart commitment to organizational structure.
O’Hanlon also examines post-Rumsfeld Army transformation and what remains of this concept. His conclusion: a solid foundation for a process that promotes innovation.
For an air perspective, Chris Griffin examines prospects for the |F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Asia, the only theater in which its capabilities are necessary and where the proliferation of new fighters poses a real threat.
And Ralph Peters questions the U.S. government’s tendency to ignore Latin America. Our neighbors in the Southern Hemisphere are a rich source of potential strategic cooperation.