US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today the new Pentagon proposal for the future structure of the US Armed Forces. The New York Times carried an article yesterday giving an overview of the planned restructuring, which, in a nutshell, is all about downsizing. At first glance, this might look like: less troops = less fighting power. But wars, and confrontations are not, and never where, about the number of troops. They are all about the utility of force.
The paradigm of industrial war is over. That is not to say that peace has broken out. It is just that wars are no longer a force-on-force confrontation confined in space and time. War spills over into areas outside the military domain: economic and financial power, cultural domination, cognitive warfare, demographic and political power are all means by which wars are fought, but none of them involve military force, still less force numbers.
The Armed Forces are but one weapon in the US arsenal. I don’t see any decrease in the size of the other weapons.