It may be surmised that this legitimate complaint about bloat in the Army's officer corps is not solely about a disproportionate ratio of officers to enlisted men -
In most armies, there are about seven officers to 100 enlisted men, or an officer-to-enlisted ratio of 7 percent (as low as 5 percent in the German army of World War II). In the U.S. Army today, that ratio stands at more than 15 percent (19 percent by some calculations).
And all of the concomitant bureaucratization and inefficiency. Those are all legitimate concerns; however, this discussion is unfolding against the backdrop of a departure of many talented young officers, precipitated by the calamitous Iraq policy and the untenable strains it imposes upon the Army. In other words, the very real conflict between factions within the officer corps noted by Koehl -
In fact, it is not too much to say that there is a fight going on for the soul of the Army today, between the old guard of the Big Army, fighting budget battles to preserve expensive and only marginally useful programs such as the Future Combat System, who see the future of the Army revolving around major conventional wars; and the Small Army of bright young company, battalion, and even brigade commanders, who understand that most of our future wars will look a lot more like Iraq, and who are developing the skills, tactics and equipment to fight them.
Creates a 'strategic opportunity' to conduct a purge of the officer corps, sidelining, dead-ending, or forcing into early retirement not merely a bit of deadwood, but those among the officer corps who, like Tilghman and Nagl, have 'absorbed the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan' but consider the animating strategy, along with the execution, to be irredeemably flawed. The goal is not merely a more efficient army directed by a more competent officer corps, but a more ideologically homogeneous and deferential - to the grand strategists of the foreign policy establishment and think tanks - officer corps. The army is to be the tool of the imperium, with dissent rigorously proscribed. The problematic nature of such a goal is obvious, though it is not without recent precedent.