The Atlantic, US News and World Report, and the Congressional Research Service all do a much better job of providing contextual figures. Trump has 88 signatures; Mitts on our Money/Romney had the support of 500 last election cycle, and war hero Sen. John McCain had 300 such endorsements. Wow! Triple Digits!
Except NO. Not a big deal. Rather we have nearly 900 CURRENTLY serving top brass, and THOUSANDS with that rank who are retired. Our armed forces are top heavy to the point of being dangerously ineffectual and inefficient.
From the Congressional Research Service, this past February:
From the US News and World Report, regarding the efforts by then DOD head Robert Gates’ efforts in 2010 to reduce the high costs of this arguably unnecessary parts of our military:…the general and flag officer corps has increased as a percentage of the total force over the past five decades. GFOs made up about one-twentieth of one percent (0.048%) of the total force in 1965, while they made up about one-fifteenth of one percent (0.069%) of the total forcein 2015, indicating that the share of the total force made up of GFOs increased by 43%. Some argue that this increased proportion of GFOs is wasteful and contributes to more bureaucratic decision making processes.
A May 2013 GAO analysis found that the number of support staff at DoD’s Combatant Command headquarters grew “by about 50 percent from fiscal years 2001 through 2012.” This has created added distance between commanders and warfighters. “In some cases the gap between me and an action officer may be as high as 30 layers,” Gates once stated, resulting in a “bureaucracy which has the fine motor skills of a dinosaur.”
A top-heavy military also has serious financial costs. Despite a declining defense budget, generals and admirals continue to live like kings, living in mansions and surrounding themselves with entourages that would make Jay-Z envious. In fact, according to a recent Los Angeles Times report, there are “hundreds of high-priced homes in the Pentagon inventory.” Just operating and maintaining these homes can exceed $100,000 annually; some homes, like those on prime waterfront real estate at D.C.’s Fort McNair, cost around $1 million to renovate.It is my considered opinion that no matter how much patriotism you demonstrate in military service, when you openly hate so many Americans — 3% of Americans are Muslim, another 8-10% are LGBTQ, and women at 50,8%, then you are un-American and even anti-American. That is not the path to American greatness.
None of the signatories [to the Trump letter] was a service chief or led a major combatant command. The most prominent ex-military official backing Trump remains Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who served in senior intelligence roles in Afghanistan but is best known as Obama’s appointee to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn delivered a lengthy and impassioned address in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention and was reportedly under consideration to be his running mate. As The New York Times noted, two of the signatories on the letter are best known for their controversial statements about Islam and, in the case of Lieutenant General Thomas McInerey, for filing court documents challenging Obama’s eligibility to serve as president and command the military. Another signatory is listed as a major general in the California State Military Reserve, which is not a branch of the U.S. armed forces (although he did previously serve in the U.S. Army reserve).
It is worth noting in passing that near the top of the list of the rightwingers supporting Trump is Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has in the past been notoriously DISINVITED from this year’s Army prayer breakfast, has been reprimanded in the past for his extreme views, including anti-Islam, and he currently one of the heads of the bigot spigot hate group The Family Research Council. He is pro-torture and has been reprimanded for leaking classified information. This is highly hypocritical when Boykin who has received strong support from Trump is noted by the WaPo for releasing highly classified military information:
The Army struck back last year, quietly issuing him a scathing reprimand following a criminal investigation that concluded he had wrongfully released classified information, according to an Army document obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.This is the height of hypocrisy, far worse than anything Hillary Clinton has been accused and acquitted of doing regarding national security.
According to the Jan. 23, 2013, memorandum, the Army determined that Boykin’s book disclosed “classified information concerning cover methods, counterterrorism/counter-proliferation operations, operational deployments, infiltration methods, pictures, and tactics, techniques and procedures that may compromise ongoing operations.”
I suppose we should be thankful there are so few top brass bigots like Boykin who support Trump, relative to past conservative presidential candidates. Better if there were none.