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Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources [Paperback]

Thomas Donnelly , Gary J. Schmitt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 5, 2007 084474249X 978-0844742496
Most Americans believe that our military has been strengthened in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks; unfortunately, that is not the case. The core strength of American military forces has continued to erode. Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources, explores a problem that has been building quietly for years: The military has been expending without expanding or even replacing what has been spent.

Today, our forces are stretched painfully thin by the grinding pace of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world. We have spent billions of dollars on the operational costs of these wars, but very little has been available to replenish the military's equipment or increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps. The result has been a "hollow buildup."

The closer one looks at this problem, the greater the strains and potential problems appear: Contributing authors Frederick W. Kagan, Loren Thompson, Robert Work, and Francis G. Hoffman examine the state of each branch of the military, underscoring a range of shortfalls in force strength, structure, and equipment.

A simple truth emerges from each of these essays: a military that has less will do less. This is a dangerous situation for a nation with expansive foreign policy goals and global security commitments. The American military may well be the finest fighting force in history, but it cannot escape the fact that numbers matter. This is not the first time the United States has been confronted by sizeable gaps between its strategic ends and its military means, but the stakes in this battle have never been higher.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Donnelly is a resident fellow in defense and security policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor to Armed Forces Journal.

Gary J. Schmitt is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of AEI's Program on Advanced Strategic Studies.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Aei Press (February 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084474249X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844742496
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,707,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book's main point is that numbers matter. We need well trained and motivated people to provide the defense our country needs. Those people need the best in equipment that is well maintained and in sufficient quantities not only to fight but to train. The book demonstrates that the Clinton administrations cut defense spending far too much and to historically low levels and that the Bush administrations have not done enough to replace the equipment used up in the current wars and that gap is harming readiness through cutbacks in training as well as supply to the battlefield.

The book has five chapters. The first by Gary J. Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly take us through the problem and show us why spending 5% of GDP on defense will get us where we need to be and still be within the historic norms - and actually low for wartime.

Chapters 2-5 take us through the major branches of the military. Frederick W. Kagan walks us through the issues with the army. Loren Thompson makes a case for our air power being eroded and how wasteful mistakes have been made. Robert O. Work looks at the Navy and Francis G. Hoffman, the Marines.

Not surprisingly, all see a need for more money and more equipment and some more soldiers. Kagan points out how are using the National Guard as active army is not only a poor plan for the Army, but breaks faith with those who signed on to the National Guard. I think he is correct. One point that kept nagging at me during all this discussion of high tech equipment is one raised by Ralph Peters and others. What good does a $50 million jet fighter or a billion dollar ship do against a suicide bomber or an IED? This must be addressed and really was not dealt with in this book.

Still, it is a great way to get up to date on some of the issues our military faces in a short and easy to read manner. There are some charts and tables to aid in the discussion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended. April 9, 2007
Format:Paperback
Co-edited by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Gary J. Schmitt and resident AEI fellow and "Armed Forces Journal" contributing editor Thomas Donnelly, Of Men and Material: the Crisis in Military Resources is a collection of scholarly essays discussing a very real problem - the erosion of cores strength in American military forces. From the billions of dollars spent on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, to the under-replenishment of military equipment, to the difficulty in successfully recruiting sufficient warm bodies for the Army and Marine Corps, the United States military has undergone a "hollow buildup" with dangerous shortfalls. The essays are "Numbers Matter", "Protracted Wars and the Army's Future", "Age and Indifference Erode U.S. Air Power", "Number and Capabilities: Building a Navy for the Twenty-First Century", and "The Marine Corps: A Hybrid Force for a Hybrid World". Each underscores key weaknesses and sizeable gaps between America's strategic ends and military means, and exhorts difficult choices that must be made soon given the current rate of expending resources while failing to properly replenish them. Highly recommended.
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