Dunford: Military Should Put Capabilities Over Force Expansion

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. military should prioritize new capabilities over additional forces to maintain dominance amid modernization of adversaries, National Defense Magazine reported Wednesday. He said defense officials should avoid over expanding forces, which could affect how the military acquires high-tech capabilities.

“When you have to make a choice between capacity and capability, I would go with capability,” Dunford said during a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “I would make sure every unit that we have actually has the level of readiness to meet its requirements. And I wouldn’t grow the force in a way that exceeds what we predict is going to be sustainable.”

The Navy and Air Force are planning to grow their forces. Naval forces are expected to get a 355-ship fleet by 2034, while the Air Force seeks to increase its squadrons by nearly 25 percent before 2030. Meanwhile, a joint study by the Pentagon and intelligence community suggests the military needs to invest in space, cyber and electronic warfare, among other technologies, to stay ahead of adversaries.

Dunford will retire from service and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October.

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