Lots of commentators and armchair generals have shouted that the Army has to be grown, and fast. Some are even calling for a return to the draft. But so far, Phil Carter notes in a dynamite Slate essay, "no one is asking the most fundamental question of all: How many troops does the United States really need?"
Those who want to make the Army bigger assume that adding more troops will magically solve the military's overstretch problems, but that's not necessarily the case. Without an honest assessment of U.S. military requirements, we have no way of knowing how many troops to add (and what kind) or whether drastic measures (like a draft) might be necessary. More important, an honest study of U.S. military requirements may tell us that added manpower is not the answer and that other solutions will buy more bang for our taxpayer buck.