Restructure, reorganize, grow, and change

Strategy Page has more on the growth of the US Army. They start with the McCainian view that promotes more soldiers as raw bulk then show the Rumsfeldian legacy of a new structure using knowledge and finesse.

The change is about changing the independent operational unit from a division of 20,000 or so to a Brigade Combat Team of perhaps 4.000.

The current army organization is different from what it had fifteen years ago. The army is a leaner organization, with more support services outsourced to civilian firms, and a larger proportion of troops in combat units.

The actual number of infantrymen and tanks didn’t change, but the number of communications, maintenance and intelligence support did. For example, increased use of robots, sensors and computerized vidcam surveillance systems makes it possible to do the same amount of work in combat, with fewer troops. A lot of these new ideas, and equipment, is being tested in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of these items work well in combat.

This change is of the type that has had significant influence on our economy in the private sector. Since Taylor started the formal study of management in 1912, there has been an ever increasing efficiency and effectiveness in producing goods and services. Coupled with the information technologies (filing systems only go back to the late 19th century), and other technological advances, the result has been an astounding growth in productivity that has generated near unbelievable wealth and prosperity.

The fact that so much of this change has crept up on us, or many have been so distracted by the outliers of rapid change, is visible in how much is taken for granted. One result is that the economy is used as a cudgel in political campaigns representing a grossly inaccurate propaganda. Those who think the country is going down the tubes only need to look at their own life and compare that to their grandparents in terms of available health care, circle of acquaintances, choices available for everything, toys, and housing. Think WalMart, for instance, and how it has benefited many in reduced cost of living while offering more choice at the same time. Then there are the numbers of GDP and so on the be examined.

Things change. The Army and the rest of the military is no longer just a mass of people thrown at a problem. We are doing much more with less and doing it better. You can see if you look.

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