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Avoiding the Hollow Force: Modernizing for the Future

Recorded on April 28, 2006

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

This lecture will be the fourth and final in our series on whether the United States Military is heading toward a "Hollow Force." Hollow Force was a term used to describe the United States military at various times in its history, when it maintained a large number of troops without an adequate budget to pay for training, operations and equipment modernization. The periods most often referred to in this sense are the years between World War II and the Korean War and the period following Vietnam.

Today, the United States' Armed Forces are fighting a global war against terror. The operational tempo demanded by this type of fight potentially places great stress on our personnel and equipment, leading to concerns about whether the U.S. can continue its modernization plans. Insufficient funds could exacerbate the acquisition system's biggest problems - high unit costs for weapons and equipment and diminished competition in the defense industry due to consolidation. To avoid returning to a "hollow force," the United States will need to allocate adequate resources, both financial and intellectual, to its modernization efforts. What aspects of the military need the most attention? How can congress restore balance in the 2007 budget to allow for increased modernization spending? Join us as our experts address these critical issues in the conclusion to our Hollow Force Series.