Can a fragile U.S. economy sustain the extreme costs of prolonged military missions such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially if the Department of Defense engages in large-scale spending on expensive weaponry?
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Military Conflicts: More Warfare with Less Resources

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By May 2010, according to Marine Corps General James Cartwright, U.S. military involvement in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan were deemed likely to continue for "...as far as the eye can see," despite the threat of both military physical and fiscal limitations.

Can a fragile U.S. economy sustain the extreme costs of prolonged military missions such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially if the Department of Defense engages in large-scale spending on expensive weaponry?

MILITARY MISSIONS: QUANTITY OR QUALITY?

With spending and warfare continuing to escalate by 2010, it was anticipated that the U.S. military would only be able to afford limited amounts of effort and resources towards each separate military mission. Thus, by 2010, military and defense forces were stretched thin with limited continued funding.

According to General Cartwright, the military could be moving towards a path of being unable to complete its started missions. Quantity over quality, he noted, was the result of many missions where U.S. military presence was demanded.

SHARING COSTS WITH U.S. ALLIES

In 2010, it was suggested by Cartwright that the Pentagon begin working more with U.S. allies to share the cost burdens of warfare and weaponry development, for the various military missions where allies shared common goals.

In addition, Cartwright suggested that the Pentagon shift its perspective to long term thinking, beyond the immediate consideration of which weapons to buy for current or future operations. The longer term view would launch into long-range consideration of the effects of prolonged warfare on the U.S. economy and the overall affect on the future of the U.S. military.

CONFLICT DEMANDS ON THE MILITARY

Cartwright believed that more civil affairs troops would be needed if the U.S. was to continue to participate in conflicts such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But along with the key military issue of military growth in these regions was the goal of directing growing U.S. military involvement efficiently, to create a positive and effective outcome as a result of using US military resources.

For example, how many bomber squadrons vs. how many troops are needed to create a stability operation? Where is the military best moving in attack mode, and where are U.S. military efforts best directed at helping nations to rebuild and stabilize their governments?

General Cartwright's position on continuing warfare suggested that solutions needed to be found in order to ensure the success of long term US military involvement in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan, and any others that might demand US military action.



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