(DCWatchdog.com) – Some high-ranking Republicans are floating the idea of reducing the number of generals and admirals in the US military to reduce defense spending, a report has revealed.
GOP figures who think that some 900 active-duty generals and admirals are too many for the US military point out that the ratio of top commanders to enlisted service personnel has spiked out of control, The Washington Times reported.
It cited Congressional Research Service data as showing the percentage of generals and admirals out of the total armed forces personnel is close to the highest in modern American history.
At the same time, however, analysts and critics of slashing top commander numbers point out such a move would provide small savings unless accompanied by broader cuts of entire commands, bases, and operations.
“[However,] that type of broad dismantling of military infrastructure would raise a new set of questions with significant national security implications,” the report noted.
“Maybe if we would focus our military spending on the soldiers and not having so many generals — the ratio of general officers to enlisted individuals now is so out of whack from where it used to be in our military,” US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently told Fox News.
“Maybe if we focused on that — helping the troops who do so much of the work out there for our great country and maybe focus on getting rid of all the woke policies in our military — we’d have the money we need to make sure our troops get the pay raise they deserve, we have the weapons systems and the training that needs to be done, so we’re ready to deal with our adversaries around the planet,” elaborated the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Critics, however, have reacted that forcing generals and admirals into retirement would be only a symbolic move that could even negatively affect the nation’s defense capabilities.
One such critic, retired Army Gen. Tom Spoehr, who heads the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, said axing all 900-plus admirals and generals would save about $1 billion against a military budget of $847 billion.
“Let’s say we wake up tomorrow and there’s zero [generals and admirals]. You’ve saved about $1 billion. That’s not nothing, but on the other hand, you can’t run an organization without the senior leaders. “It would be like a corporation saying, ‘We’re cutting all of the C suite guys.’ It’s mostly symbolic,” Spoehr explained.
He also emphasized the reason for the high commander-to-personnel ratio was due to the reduction was due to decline in servicemen and servicewomen numbers.
“The actual count of generals or admirals hasn’t gone up that much. What has gone up is the ratio of these senior guys to the troops. The reason that happened, by and large, is because we cut the forces, not because we grew a bunch of generals,” the retired general explained.
The report said in 1965, the US military had 1,284 generals and flag officers, who were 0.048% of a force of 2.7 million.
In 1990, it had 1,054 generals and admirals – 0.052% of a force of 2 million.
In 2018, America had 921 top commanders, who made up 0.07% of a total force of 1.3 million.
Brass bloat? Republican leaders float plan to cut the number of U.S. generals, admiralshttps://t.co/3uSZAVSkXf pic.twitter.com/JypHtD2wt8
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 23, 2023