Is the U.S. Army Really Shrinking to Pre-World War II Levels?
Conor Friedersdorf exposes the misleading claim that the Obama administration’s military budget will shrink the army to “pre-World War II levels.”
“Will our national defense be roughly as strong as it was right before we fought Germany and Japan, as a casual reader might assume? Not even close. What about the Army taken in isolation? No, that isn’t accurate either.”
The military in 1940 totaled 458,355 (no Air Force yet) and “sufficient as a base from which to declare war on Japan and Germany in 1941, ramp up personnel, and win that war.”
Today, the military totals 1,369,532, with just the Marine Corps and Air Force alone at 523,425 people.
“Circa 1940, the U.S. had a grand total of zero nuclear weapons. Today the U.S. has 5,113 nuclear warheads, [at least] 7,494 drones, including 161 Predators,” and ten aircraft carriers (compared to the one of its closest military rival).
“The military is orders of magnitude bigger and stronger than it was in 1940. That’s true even if every proposed personnel cut gets through Congress .”
And let’s not forget about American military strength relative to the rest of the world. The BBC’s graphic clearly illustrates the disparity.
Crossposted at Wonk Wire .