One of the nation's most distinguished old warriors, who describes himself as "a hawk very much afraid we're going to spend our money badly," questions the need to deploy the MX missile.
Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, who was brought out of retirement by President Kennedy in 1962 to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declares, "I don't think there's a threat to our silo-based ICBMS." Soviet disinclination to attack US missile bases, he believes, stems from an awareness both of the "uncertain performance" of their own missiles as well as the devastation a US retaliatory strike would wreak.
Consequently, he contends there is an "unproved requirement" for the MX. In his view, US Titan II missiles, which were first deployed 18 years ago, could still inflict an enormous amount of damage on the USSR. "I don't know what an outmoded missile is," he says.
The general also questions the need for three new Nimitz-class supercarriers, two additional divisions for the Army and 300 Harrier jump jets for the Marine Corps.
At a recent meetin with reporters, General Taylor called for a rationalization of the nation's military establishment to ensure that US forces are more exactly crafted to support foreign policy goals.
He added that President Reagan's rearmament of America will require a return to the draft. He stressed the need to defend areas of crucial importance to the country with conventional forces in order to avoid recourse to nuclear war.
General Taylor said he would like to see the administration ship weapons to the Afghan freedom fighters and suggested that the Pentagon might be able to pinpoint potential flash points in the third world by a study of population growth. Burgeoning growth there, he contends, can often lead to tension and war.