2006 January 25 Wednesday
Two Reports See US Military As Overstretched

Two reports see the US military as overextended by Iraq and Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON - A pair of reports by outside experts in the last two days warn that the Army has been stretched thin by repeated combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and could soon reach the breaking point.

The first, a report on the Iraq war that was commissioned by the Pentagon and made public Tuesday, said defense officials risk "breaking the force" if current troop levels are maintained in both countries without increasing the size of the Army or slowing the pace of deployments.

The second, issued Wednesday by Democrats on Capitol Hill, warned that unless the strain on the Army and Marine Corps is relieved soon, "it will have highly corrosive and potentially long-term effects on the force." Over time, it argued, the services would be weakened and the country would be more vulnerable to potential enemies.

One report was done for the Pentagon.

The report's author, retired Lt Col Andrew Krepinevich, a Vietnam veteran and former adviser to three defence secretaries, says the decision to reduce troop numbers in Iraq was an admission that the military was overstretched.

If the 500,000 strong force does not win its "race against time", leaders "risk breaking the force in the form of a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and re-enlistment.

The recruiting slump could turn down even more drastically.

As evidence, Krepinevich points to the Army's 2005 recruiting slump -- missing its recruiting goal for the first time since 1999 -- and its decision to offer much bigger enlistment bonuses and other incentives.

"You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue," he said in an interview. He added that the Army is still a highly effective fighting force and is implementing a plan that will expand the number of combat brigades available for rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He wrote that the Army is "in a race against time" to adjust to the demands of war "or risk 'breaking' the force in the form of a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and re-enlistment.

The report from the Democrats was done by former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Perry and Albright advocate increasing the size of the deployable force.

The Perry/Albright report specifically recommends enlarging the Army's active-duty force by 30,000 troops and creating 48 combat brigades -- six more than the service now plans. The former officials recognize that, given the Army's failure to meet recruiting goals in 2005, substantially increasing the size of the force will take time.

It would come with a hefty price tag: about $1.5 billion to stand up and equip each new brigade, according to the study. Army leaders have opposed efforts in Congress to authorize a much larger force, arguing that doing so would jeopardize their high-priced plans to transform the service technologically.

But where could the US military get the troops to create new brigades? In an increasingly desperate attempt to find new soldiers the US military is already dipping much lower in the IQ scale (confirming what House Rep. John Murtha claimed) and offeriing bigger bonuses while still failing to recruit enough soldiers. The US military is becoming dumber.

Join the US Army and expect to go on multiple tours to Middle Eastern combat zones.

To support its conclusions, the Democrats' report noted that "every available combat brigade from the active Army has already been to Afghanistan or Iraq at least once" and many units are on a second tour. About 95 percent of the Army National Guard's combat battalions and special operations units have been activated since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, leaving little force available for call up without a new presidential declaration of a national emergency, it said.

Also, all active duty Marine Corps units "are being used on a tight rotation schedule" with less than a year home between seven-month deployments, it said.

The California-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force now is deploying to Iraq for the third time since early 2003. About one third of the enlisted Marines in those units are facing their third combat tour while another third will be going for a second time.

I can't see how the US could attack Iran except with air strikes. The US would first have to withdraw from most of Iraq in order to launch an attack and Iran has three times the population of Iraq. An Iran invasion would be much harder.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 January 25 08:56 PM  MidEast Iraq Military Needs

Invisible Scientist said at January 25, 2006 10:20 PM:

Randall Parker:
What you are saying is correct, but you are ignoring the time component: don't be so 3 dimensional.
In the future Robots will take over the battlefield. I bet that within 5 years we shall see thousands of war robots as capable as humans (if not more.) And within 10 years, there will be millions of them.

John S Bolton said at January 26, 2006 1:02 AM:

In wartime it is a high crime to use the military as a racial patronage machine for disadvantaged minorities.
This is the problem that very much needs to be mentioned; all the more so, in that officials, their scholars and regulated media are afraid to.
From the WSJ, 12-6-95, p. A20: "the merit promotion process... need not be utilized if it will not promote your 'diversity' goals." In case this is not clear, the Defense dept. says: "special permission will be required for the promotion of all white men without disabilities".
In order to avoid cancelling this traitorous executive policy, they're resorting to paying bonuses of tens of thousands, for retention. These soldiers would stay if they could get promotions, but that would upset the racial quota system.
For strictly racial reasons, the military refuses to promote 'white men without disabilities', in wartime, in the same manner and degree as they had in almost any other wars.
This a serious disincentive for retention and recruitment, which can only get much worse, as soldiers see that those who go into combat zones and do well, cannot be rewarded for this in the honorable and loyal manner; because the administration places the aggrandizement of disadvantaged minority numbers in the officer proportions.

John S Bolton said at January 26, 2006 1:23 AM:

(cont) ahead of the national security, in wartime no less. The government may pretend that it costs more to move someone up a rank, who then retires a few years later at a higher pension level. Actually, though, they can let officers retire on schedule, and promote others into their places. If they drop the quota considerations, the diversity goals, there will be a huge increase in incentive for recruitment and retention. The rank at which retirement occurs, affects pension levels; but is also a credential. Officials know this, but the quota system is a way to build up enmities between groups, from which increase of power flows.
They would rather compromise national security in wartime than use a merit system, over against diversity goals.

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