The Republicans have pledged $100 billion for new arms to "catch up with the Russians." This will presumably include new missiles, the B-1 bomber, super submarines, more surface naval ships beefed up tactical forces that can be flown to any part of the world.

The country is all for it. The only thing the GOP hasn't explained is where they are going to get the personnel to man the new hardware.

The truth of the matter is the Air Force, Navy and Army cannot find the crews for the equipment they have now. The mood of the country is to spend money on anything the military says it needs, as long as American sons and daughters are not required to put on a uniform and use it.

What is the answer?

The solution is to draft all the illegal aliens that have come to the United States and swear them into the armed forces.

While military pay may be a pittance to an American, it is a fortune to an illegal South American, Mexican or Haitian refugee. Rather than pick tomatoes or grapes, the illegals would be trained to use our new military equipment, and be taught all the latest methods of warfare.

Instead of being hounded by immigration officials, they would be given PX privileges, USO dances and food stamps for their families. We would have Cuban submariners, Ecuadorian pilots, Chinese tank drivers, and Vietnamese missile men.

The officer corps would be made up of foreign generals, colonels, majors and admirals and captains who have been overthrown in their respective countries by Communist takeovers as well as those who have failed in rightwing junta revolutions in their respective countries.

By the time the $100 billion allocated by the Republicans would be accounted for, not one American would have to spend a day in the military to defend the country.

It is estimated that there are over 10 million illegal aliens in the United States right now. All we need is 5 million for a respectable defense capability. The other 5 million could be signed up for the reserve, and be permitted to work in the fields until an emergency required them to be called up.

While the illegals would only be required to serve for four years, those who refused to en-list would be immediately deported to their country of origin for being in the United States without a visa.

The beauty of this plan is that we could fulfill all our military commitments without fear of political falout because we were endangering the lives of American boys. It would also resolve the debate as to whether American women should be required to serve in the armed forces.

But best of all, it would alleviate the bitterness that some Americans feel toward various boat people arriving in the United States. Instead of wanting to send them back, we would welcome these refugees with open arms as fresh mercenaries ready to fight to keep America free.

If the United States wants to become No. 1 in the world again, as the Republicans intend us to be, we are going to need all the illegal foreigners we can get.