Thursday, September 14, 2006

"during the Reagan administration"

Note the source in this Washington Post Op Ed:
Lawrence J. Korb was assistant secretary of defense for manpower, installations and logistics during the Reagan administration. He and Peter Ogden work on national security issues at the Center for American Progress.
They wrote:
Thus the simple fact is that the only way for Kristol and Lowry to put their new plan into action anytime soon without resorting to a draft -- and thereby dismantling the all-volunteer Army, which, as the authors themselves would certainly admit, could be strategically disastrous -- is by demanding even more from our soldiers by accelerating their training and rotation schedules. While there is no question that the soldiers would respond to more frequent calls to duty, it is doubtful that they would be supplied with proper equipment and training for their mission in the near term. Moreover, the long-term toll on the cost and quality of our troops would be threatened by the added strain.

First, the equipment shortage that the U.S. Army faces at the moment is making it difficult to train troops even at current levels. The service has been compensating for this $50 billion equipment shortfall by shipping to Iraq some of the equipment that it needs to train nondeployed and reserve units. Increasing the number of deployed troops would compound this readiness problem and leave the Army with little spare capacity to respond to other conflicts around the globe that might demand immediate and urgent action.

Second, the long-term costs of leaning even more heavily on our ground troops to fight what is an unpopular war will take its toll on the quality of our Army. At present the Army is compelled to offer promotions to an unprecedented number of its personnel to retain them. Some 98 percent of captains were promoted to major this year, and the quality of the next generation of military leaders will suffer if this process is not made more selective once again.

In addition, even the quadrupling of recruitment bonuses since 2003 has not been enough to attract adequate numbers of talented men and women to meet the Army's personnel goals. Although the Army has accepted more troops with lower aptitude scores and raised its maximum enlistment age, it still must grant waivers to about 1 out of 5 new recruits and has had to cut in half the number who "wash out" in basic training.

While we disagree with Kristol and Lowry's contention that sending more troops to Iraq would bring peace and stability to the country, the U.S. Army and National Guard and Reserve should nevertheless possess the capacity to respond to such a plan or other deployments without undue strain and long-term costs. The solution is to do two things that the Bush administration has not: permanently increase the number of troops in the active Army and fully fund its equipment needs. Let this, not the expenditure of more blood and treasure in Iraq, be the "courageous act of presidential leadership" that Kristol and Lowry desire.
In addition to this opinion piece, Jack Murtha has co-authored a report on Army readiness:
In effect, the Army has become a “hand-to-mouth” organization. Its inability to get ahead of the deployment and training curves is rooted in the Administration’s miscalculations and blind optimism about troop and industrial surge requirements for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The consequent failure to plan has forced the Army to play catch-up ever since the fall of Baghdad. Though senior Army leaders contend that equipment and personnel shortages thus far have not prevented the service from meeting the theater commanders’ needs, they allude to a widespread concern that the Army will emerge from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts as a weakened and worn-out force. Addressing the Army’s short- and long-term needs will require:

· Robust funding increases for rehabilitating and replacing equipment.

· A national commitment to improve Army readiness and focus attention on military service.

· A reduction in U.S. deployments to Iraq.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

"The solution is to do two things that the Bush administration has not: permanently increase the number of troops in the active Army and fully fund its equipment needs. Let this, not the expenditure of more blood and treasure in Iraq, be the "courageous act of presidential leadership" that Kristol and Lowry desire."

Yep.

Lawrence Korb is my hero!!

5:53 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Bush is such a legacy nitwit. History would shine approvingly on him if he'd admit his errors and rebuild the army. Heck, General McClellan is given regretful praise for instilling confidence and discipline in the Army of the Potomac. We need to rebuild that army. A high school kid who spends twelve minutes cramming on his car ride to school, before a big test, would figure that out.

5:58 PM  
Blogger zen said...

· A national commitment to improve Army readiness and focus attention on military service.

This is an interesting and vital point. It seems that throughout this struggle the public has remained very strongly behind our military—unlike unpopular wars in the past. But what kind of commitment is needed, or will be needed considering our unknowable future? I think a draft (which would likely be necessary if another major war becomes a reality) would completely ruin any chance for a national commitment. Maybe the WH knows Iran is off the table—invasion-wise at least.

But it also has ramifications based on how worn out and beat down the nation will be after a few more years of an ugly war. Mulitple rotations, poor care for returning vets in meeting their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
What's the incentive? National pride? I may be too cynical, and jaded to be very proud right now at how the people are being treated by our government to buy into that commitment.

11:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home