The Pentagon January 2008.jpgAfter a decade of pratfalls in the Middle East with occupation armies that became easy targets for opposing militants, the Department of Defense is making some changes. In a new budget plan spearheaded by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel the Pentagon will be reducing the army to levels not seen since before World War II. Instead of preparing to occupy multiple countries at the same time the agility of Special Operation hit squads and total domination of the internet have become prioritized.

Though, of course, Congress and it’s many appropriators have yet to weigh in on the plan.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001…

The new American way of war will be underscored in Mr. Hagel’s budget, which protects money for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. And in an indication of the priority given to overseas military presence that does not require a land force, the proposal will — at least for one year — maintain the current number of aircraft carriers at 11.

Surgical strikes based on information dominance or what is called in defense parlance “network centric warfare.” Standing on Mount Olympus an American president may merely point somewhere on the planet and down come the lightning bolts.

While less Americans will surely get killed under this model it does nothing to address the grievances of those unhappy with the power dynamics of the US Empire. There are many concerns about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that go beyond the loss of over 8,200 Americans with 50,000 wounded (and counting). Should America really be an empire at all? Is it possible to maintain a democracy and be an empire? These questions are especially troubling when you factor in that the justification for the national security state was the Soviet Union – which doesn’t exist any longer.

If the Pentagon really wants to rethink strategy to conform more to new realities perhaps it’s time to rethink 800 military bases and a $700 billion annual budget to defend against an enemy that no longer exists.

Photo by David Gleason under Creative Commons license.