Bent but Not Broken: The Military Challenge for the Next Commander-in-Chief

Peter W. Singer
Peter W. Singer Former Brookings Expert, Strategist and Senior Fellow - New America

February 28, 2007

Our military has been stretched to nearly the breaking point. Recruitment and retention are down. And our troops often lack adequate supplies and equipment. If we are to maintain a military unmatched in its power and capability, our next Commander-in-Chief must ensure that the ranks of our military continue to grow and that our troops have the resources they need to remain ready and capable.

The next President should commission plans of action for adequately filling the military’s personnel and equipment needs. Specifically, the new President should:

  • formulate a national call to service that would support recruitment efforts
  • ensure that recruiting standards are not lowered
  • restore funding of troop levels now deemed “temporary”
  • expand the force only in a manner that addresses severe gaps and needs
  • create a Joint Stabilization Command to better plan and support operations
  • answer troops’ quality-of-life concerns and establish a Military Families Advisory Board to better support retention
  • end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that puts social politics above national security
  • make sure our troops have the supplies and equipment they need
  • reevaluate weapons acquisitions to meet the realities of the post-9/11 world
  • end abuse of the supplemental budget appropriations mechanism
  • eliminate and punish waste and corruption that undermine security and
  • reform the acquisition process to work the market rather than be worked by it

Download Position Paper (PDF) 

Download Fact Sheet (PDF)

Opportunity 08 aims to help 2008 presidential candidates and the public focus on critical issues facing the nation, presenting policy ideas on a wide array of domestic and foreign policy questions. The project is committed to providing both independent policy solutions and background material on issues of concern to voters.