Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is Redundancy a Valid Argument?

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Interservice competition has always been a problem since the creation of the different branches of the U.S. military. Over time, cooperation has indeed increased, leaving little room for competition, however, this issue still remains. Some reasons why competition thrives and cooperation is dwindled are redundancy, service culture, quest for autonomy, resource conflicts, and turf battles. It is not uncommon for redundancy to be listed as one of the reasons why interservice cooperation is impeded. However is this reason actually rational?

The United States services/branches have broken down along a sea, air, land medium logic. The United States Armed Forces consist of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Each unit is designed to work individually and as a team. Instead of unified services in accord, we have services competing to be the most relevant and while some inter service competition can be positive, it is mostly negative. The argument of redundancy is made because there are supposedly many overlapping capabilities which are both a cause and consequence of fighting.

Each branch of the Armed Forces has been equipped with its own mission, vision and culture. They each have their own goals and mediums of operation. Why then do these military branches blame redundancy for their inability to cooperate? On April 7th, the US Navy carried out a strike against Syria. The USS Porter fired a Tomahawk Cruise Missile from the Mediterranean Sea. On April 13th 7:32pm local time, The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) was dropped by the United States Air Force on a network of fortified underground tunnels that ISIS had been using to stage attacks on government forces. On April 13th, it was confirmed that 40 more U.S. Army soldiers will be sent into Somalia to train Somali soldiers. In the argument of redundancy, any branch could have performed any of these operations.
For the most part, it seems the only redundant part of this is national security. If everyone focused on their medium of operation and set goals, there would be little concern about who can do what best. The Air Force training allows for Air Forces officers to excel above and beyond in the air. Sending Air Force officials into Somalia to train Somalian Forces might be successful as well but arguably not as effective as the Army. Lastly, the separation of Forces allows for efficient delegation of tasks. When an operation is to be carried out, given the description of the mission, it is obvious what military branch is responsible for carrying out that mission. Having just one joint military would just turn an already chaotic situation into a more chaotic one.

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