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Efforts for larger Army face stiff resistance - Sen. Lieberman believes US needs bigger Army
Knight Ridder ^ | 07/18/2005 04:20:31 AM | PETER URBAN

Posted on 07/18/2005 9:12:08 PM PDT by Former Military Chick

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the United States needs a bigger Army. But U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rejects any contention that the Army, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, is stretched too thin, and argues that staffing issues are being addressed by ongoing transformation efforts.

Nevertheless, Lieberman and other Democrats want to increase the Army's ranks by 80,000 troops to ease the burden Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers have faced since the Iraq war started.

"Our Army is a magnificent force, and the men and women in today's Army are as good as any who have ever worn the uniform," said Lieberman, D-Conn. "The crisis is that there are not enough of them in today's Army."

Democratic lawmakers last week introduced legislation in the Senate and House to boost troop strength; they are also planning a shortcut by offering the proposal as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor later this month. The amendment faces an uphill battle given that neither the Pentagon nor the White House supports such an increase in troop strength.

The proposal comes as the military prepares to release a study suggesting the Army is stretched too thin, a claim Rumsfeld strongly denies. Also, the Army conceded recently it's unlikely to meet recruitment goals this fiscal year.

There are now about 499,000 active-duty Army troops and nearly 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. That total is a third less than the force on hand when the first Gulf War was fought in 1991.

The Democrats want to raise the Army's total force to 582,400 over the next four years.

Increased force requirements since 9-11 have resulted in soldiers facing constant deployments into war zones without rest, training and preparation. The Guard and Reserve have been strained to the breaking point for years, the Democratic lawmakers say.

The Army has fallen 40 percent short of its goal of recruiting about 80,000 new troops for the year. To meet that threshold, the Army will have to exceed recruiting goals by an average of 2,600 in each of the next four months.

The Army has been reorganizing to eventually raise the number of deployable brigades from 33 to 48. The military is also seeking to improve manpower efficiency by having civilians perform noncombat jobs now held by soldiers, officials say.

Charles S. Abell, the Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, testified before a House subcommittee this year that Pentagon transformation initiatives would relieve force stress without increasing numbers.

In 2004, DOD officials converted more than 7,600 military billets to be performed by Pentagon civilians or contractors.

And they plan to convert another 22,000 military billets to civilian slots during this fiscal year and the next, Abell said. Thomas Donnelly, a military analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said that raising the size of the Army is a costly endeavor. The annual cost to add 80,000 troops would amount to an estimated $9.6 billion.

"The question is, how do these guys intend to pay for it?" Donnelly said. That said, he would favor an even larger increase.

"I think the real requirement is closer to 125,000 troops," he said. "We have seen what the commitment to the Middle East is going to entail over the long haul, even if things go very well in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Donnelly also does not believe the Army should have trouble recruiting additional soldiers.

"It shouldn't," he said. "We had an all-volunteer force 10 years ago of 800,000 soldiers."

Meanwhile, the RAND Corp.'s Arroyo Center, the Army's federally funded research institute, is preparing to release a study finding that the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is straining the Army's capability to fight wars on several fronts simultaneously.

"The challenge the Army faces is profound," said senior RAND analyst Lynn Davis, lead author of the report. "Any approach is fraught with risks and uncertainties, along with significant costs and some possible changes in the Army's long-term goals."

The report — "Stretched Thin: Army Forces for Sustained Operations" — raises questions about the Army's future and the burdens the Pentagon and taxpayers will have to bear to field adequate forces for the country's needs.

It calls into question the Pentagon's ability to carry out its policy of maintaining the capacity to fight two regional wars while providing national security and waging the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

According to the RAND study, the strain on the Army is so great that combat units are spending one of every two years deployed on overseas battlefields, instead of one of every three years, as called for in Army troop deployment guidelines.

Even as the Army was studying the report last week, it announced it is augmenting troop strength in Afghanistan with a battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division that just returned from Iraq in March.

Knight Ridder contributed to this report.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 109th; afghanistan; dod; iraq; lieberman; nationaldefense; rumsfeld
Still digesting this article.
1 posted on 07/18/2005 9:12:13 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
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To: Former Military Chick

If RAND is to be believed the 80,000 might just be a start.


2 posted on 07/18/2005 9:13:51 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Former Military Chick
Nevertheless, Lieberman and other Democrats want to increase the Army's ranks by 80,000 troops to ease the burden Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers have faced since the Iraq war started.

As if this is the first war in US history where the National Guard was sent overseas. Please.
3 posted on 07/18/2005 9:15:39 PM PDT by Terpfen (Liberals call the Constitution a living document because they enjoy torturing it.)
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To: Former Military Chick
I always believe what President Ronald Reagan said,,, PEACE through strength.
Having a stronger military should NOT be a partisan issue.
It cost more in the long run, to ? cut back in military spending, and then having to rebuild again for the future, than ? , to keep the funding going to keep a well supplied military, and troops at a appropriate level.
4 posted on 07/18/2005 9:17:27 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Former Military Chick
There are now about 499,000 active-duty Army troops and nearly 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. That total is a third less than the force on hand when the first Gulf War was fought in 1991.
The Democrats want to raise the Army's total force to 582,400 over the next four years.

I'd say let them go ahead and pass the legislation. After all, this represents a total repudiation of the Clintoon years where they cut forces like crazy.

When they try to pin it on GWB, saying he exhausted the force, they can simply turn it around and say the Democrats were forced to admit they were wrong wrong wrong in their force reductions.

5 posted on 07/18/2005 9:20:59 PM PDT by konaice
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To: Zeroisanumber

Aren't these libs smart[barf]?
Now just how to they intend to increase our Military? Do they think the recruiters are turning down enlistments every day?

We are having trouble filling our requirements. They all know this.

What they are trying to do is force a draft.


6 posted on 07/18/2005 9:23:11 PM PDT by frannie (Be not afraid of tomorrow - God is already there!)
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Frankly, I am very disappointed with Rumsfeld about this issue. We need more soldiers. How anyone can deny that is beyond me.


7 posted on 07/18/2005 9:29:52 PM PDT by oolatec
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Since when is it permissable for political enemies of our administration to "improve" on the administration and the joint chiefs' job of running things?
Whether in Timbuctoo or at the capitol, Yahoos always have loads of "helpful hints" for the President.

The lot of them can take a flying leap.

That also applies equally to know-it-all freepers.


8 posted on 07/18/2005 9:30:47 PM PDT by CBart95
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To: CBart95

Since when is it permissable for political enemies of our administration to "improve" on the administration and the joint chiefs' job of running things?

...
You really don't understand anything beyond partisanship, least of all democracy, do you? We're always the ones trying to build up the military, but as soon as a democrat suggests it it becomes a treasonous affront to the president's 'divine right' as our leader. Take your head out of your ass for a second and look at what you're actually arguing about.


9 posted on 07/18/2005 9:51:37 PM PDT by 23o23 (Socialism is the path to serfdom)
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To: 23o23

Aw come on.
Tell us what you really mean.


10 posted on 07/18/2005 10:01:50 PM PDT by CBart95
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To: CBart95
I am just saying, that, what I believe in, and I whole heartedly believe in what Ronald Reagan believed in.

Peace thourgh strenth.

I am not a ( as you sugested ) a ( KNOW IT ALL ) , but, I do VOTE , and I vote for a candidate who believes in a Strong military , and I love this country.

The defense of this country should NOT be a partisan issue, it should be a concern for ALL Americans, and those who love this country.

If you think, by what I said about keeping the military budget ALWAYS on a level were we don't have to rebuild it back up in the future ( at a higher cost ) is in your perception, as being a KNOW IT ALL,, ( for GOD sakes ) it is just common sense to keep our military, and troops at a appropriate level.

If you VOTE, then, you should have a right and say ( after all ? this is suppose to be a repersentitive government ) as to what goes on in Washington.

Once again, to keep the military at a appropriate level and not have to waste money to rebuild it back up again is ( JUST COMMON SENSE ) and it does not have to take much brain power to understand that, and it does not make a person a KNOW IT ALL ).
Good day.
11 posted on 07/18/2005 10:11:06 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: konaice

When they try to pin it on GWB, saying he exhausted the force, they can simply turn it around and say the Democrats were forced to admit they were wrong wrong wrong in their force reductions.

Hitlery was on board with Leiberman supporting the increase. Triple that figure and you'll almost get back to the number that we had while Hitlery was Co-President.


12 posted on 07/18/2005 10:13:04 PM PDT by conshack ((Our porous southern border will result in another terrorist attack))
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To: CBart95

By the way ? my nephew was in Iraq ( US Marine ) getting shot at ( he got hit by 5 bullets ) for fighting for YOUR FREEDOM.


13 posted on 07/18/2005 10:16:03 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Former Military Chick

I voted for Bush and support a very agressive war on terror.

But Bush has failed to do the right thing by stopping "easy" immigration.

And it is very difficult to believe we don't need a bigger military, to confront islam in coming years. Or some other threat (China, No. Korea).

If we are strained to execute what is now on the table, how would we respond to another front?

Those two issues are available to the next Presidential candidates. I expect candidates from both parties will make these big issues.


14 posted on 07/18/2005 10:22:08 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: CBart95
The lot of them can take a flying leap.

That also applies equally to know-it-all freepers.

And what does that make you?
I think we need a larger military.  I guess I'm a know-it-all since I'm a vet, a former Intel type, a defense contractor on Intel projects since '96 and a contractor working in Iraq right now.

What would I know?

Many hands lighten the load.
Agree with me or not but don't presume to tell me what I can or can not suggest to an elected official, especially regarding things I actually understand.

15 posted on 07/18/2005 10:45:32 PM PDT by nerdwithamachinegun (All generalizations are wrong.)
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To: Former Military Chick

don't close my base - get more troops. House the troops we need, to defen America in my state. hire more sailors, send them at my navy base. build more ships, we need jobs - just don't send any to war. the mantra of the left.


16 posted on 07/19/2005 4:59:45 AM PDT by q_an_a
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To: centurion316

ping


17 posted on 07/19/2005 5:34:13 AM PDT by centurion316 (Honey, I'm going to the field, handle it.)
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To: Former Military Chick

I'm inclined to also think that more soldiers are a necessity in today's uncertain and dangerous world.

Defending the country is one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government, so spending money on troops would be one of the few things it does that is actually constitutional. That alone would be a refreshing change.


18 posted on 07/19/2005 5:44:29 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: CBart95
That also applies equally to know-it-all freepers.

As compared to the know-it-all Secretary of Defense?

The Secretary of Defense has pursued three main goals:

1) Reform of the Defense Department

2) Waging war against Global Terrorism.

3) Transformation of the military from a Cold War posture.

Worthy goals all, and much needed after the damages inflicted by the last administration. But, the Secretary and his team have made several critical errors in implementing this policy. The biggest mistake that they have made is assuming that future warfare would not require large numbers of ground forces, but rather an integrated network of sensors and precision weapons launched primarily from air and sea platforms. Kosovo provided an early model for this idea and our successes in Afghanistan reinforced this notion. Wars could be won quickly and decisivly through the application of overwhelming precision effects without exposing ground forces to casualties and without entangling the U.S. in a nasty ground campaign. You could therefore, cut the Army by two divisions, reduce the size of the Marine Corps, and use the money saved to transform the Air Force and Navy.

Unfortunately, things haven't worked out. The current war is nasty, as all wars tend to be, and we need a large ground force to ensure success. While Rumsfeld has backed off of his plan to reduce the Army by two divisions, he has not thought it necessary to increase the size of the Army. Many believe that he is wrong, but he is a stubborn man and seems determined to prove his point in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I am not a know-it-all, but I do know more than most about this issue and have an informed opinion. While I strongly support the President in his policies in the Global War on Terror, I will not stand up and blindly go along with whatever scheme the Secretary of Defense puts forward. Many other military professionals think the same way.

We are also keenly aware that the only reasons that Democrats are pushing the increase in the size of the Army is that they can thereby demonstrate a difference with the Administration in a way that makes them seem to be strong on defense. Of course, they are no such thing. If given power, they will cut and run at the first opportunity and then proclaim that the need for a strong military has passed allowing them to cut defense spending to help pay for much needed programs.

19 posted on 07/19/2005 8:53:34 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: centurion316

With all your remarkable wisdom and insight perhaps it is just impossible to expect you to support the war versus nitpicking it to death.


20 posted on 07/19/2005 10:46:33 PM PDT by CBart95
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To: CBart95

On that point you could not be more wrong. I strongly support the war and believe that it is essential to our eventual success in the war on terror. I also support the President and his Secretary of Defense and thank God that the election of 2000 turned out the way it did. However, my support of the policy and the strategy does not require that I agree with narrow minded decisions that cost soldiers lives.


21 posted on 07/20/2005 5:03:06 AM PDT by centurion316
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