In their May Front & Center article, “A Question of Balance,” Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, U.S. Army retired, and Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, U.S. Army retired, clearly point out the need to get the balance right in regard to the Army’s end strength. They suggest the balance requires a trained and ready force of 550,000. It should be pointed out, however, that an Army of that size was not adequate to accomplish our national military strategy this past decade, as manifested by the incredibly large number of what could be called casualties—suicides, cases of family violence, divorces, children with significant behavioral issues, the large number of soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and the extraordinary number of soldiers taking opioids and other mind-altering drugs.A major contributor to these issues has been the inappropriate sizing of the military for more than a decade at war, necessitating repeated deployments of our soldiers. The cost to our nation for this misguided strategy—in terms of health, in the quality of life for our soldiers and their families, and in money—is so enormous as to be incomprehensible.Once again, our Congress shows up after the fact, blaming not itself but rather the military medical system and the Veterans Health Administration for being unprepared to meet the overwhelming need for medical services to effectively deal with many of these issues. Given large boluses of dollars, both systems scrambled valiantly to catch up, but the reality is that these soldiers, their families and our nation will be paying the price for decades.It has been estimated that as many as 25 percent of the more than 2 million men and women who have been deployed suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often associated with depression and/or substance abuse. The number of soldiers left with a residual disability, at times catastrophic, is large and growing. There is an incredible cost to the soldier and his or her family and community from the resulting issues of substance abuse, family discord, and inability to hold a job or complete schooling, issues that are far more prevalent in those suffering from PTSD. How many soldiers with PTSD deployed a second, third or fourth time, and at what cost to the soldier and the nation?It is said that the signature injury of our current conflicts has been traumatic brain injury (TBI) or, more correctly stated, the recognition of closed head injury. What has become apparent is that the military health system, Veterans Health Administration and civilian sectors all lacked a comprehensive, longitudinal approach to the diagnosis, acute treatment, rehabilitation, education, research and family support for those suffering such debilitating injuries. Before we began to understand the significance of this injury, how many of our soldiers were sent back into harm’s way where further exposure only compounded the injury?It is interesting to note that the National Football League (NFL) is now wrestling with the same issue, and it is encouraging to see DoD and the NFL partnering in research to better understand, treat and, most importantly, prevent this injury. The National Intrepid Center of Excellence, an endeavor dedicated to TBI and its aftereffects, has satellite centers similar to the Fisher Houses in bringing together the expertise to address some of these issues.As we continue to focus on the soldier, we must remember that today we are an Army of married warriors, so we must not lose sight of the family. Since 9/11, surveys of military spouses have shown that family violence, substance abuse and financial difficulties are all too common. Is there any doubt that multiple deployments stretched over years have often had a negative impact on the family? On at least one major military installation, elementary schools have employed behavioral health providers to meet the previously unrecognized behavioral needs of our children, undoubtedly related to multiple deployments of a parent. What will be the long-term impact of this sad situation?The list goes on, but the bottom line remains: It is very probable that as a result of multiple deployments, there have been many costly, unintended consequences to our servicemembers and their families. My generation has already witnessed such consequences in so many Vietnam-era veterans.So, while Congress again is determined to shrink the size of our military while at the same time keeping tens of thousands forward-deployed across the globe, it should keep in mind that while the health care budgets for DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs have more than doubled in the past decade, these tens of billions of dollars could be better spent on a larger force that in the end would result in a far better return on our nation’s investment in treasure and blood.