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Is The Army At The Breaking Point?

 
LTC Peachblossom
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09/27/2006 03:04 PM
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Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
The harsh reality seems to be knocking at the door.

Love,
/LTC Peachblossom

[link to www.cbsnews.com]
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Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
Combat Tours In Iraq Lengthened By 45-60 Days For Nearly 4,000 Soldiers

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2006

"The Army is coming to the end of its rope in Iraq. It simply does not have enough active-duty military personnel to sustain the current level of effort."


(CBS/AP) The Army is stretched so thin by the war in Iraq that it is again extending the combat tours of thousands of soldiers beyond the promised 12 months the second such move since August.

A brigade of the 1st Armored Division about 3,800 troops is having its one-year tour of duty extended by 45 to 60 days, reported CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. That will allow the 3rd Infantry Division to have a full year at home before going back to Iraq.

Soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division had been expecting to return to their home base in Friedberg, Germany, in early January. Instead, they will stay in Iraq at least until late February, several officials said Monday. The soldiers are operating in western Anbar province, one of the most violent and dangerous parts of Iraq.

"The Army is coming to the end of its rope in Iraq," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a private research group. "It simply does not have enough active-duty military personnel to sustain the current level of effort."

Of the 142,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, nearly 120,000 are Army soldiers. The tour extension affects between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers in the brigade, officials said.

The Army's original goal was to give soldiers two years at home for every year in Iraq, reports Martin. It first slipped to 18 months at home, and now it's just 14 months between tours.

Last month, the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade was ordered to extend its tour in Iraq by up to four months. Some members of that unit had already returned to the brigade's home base in Alaska when the decision was announced. About 300 soldiers had to go back to Iraq, drawing public complaints from some families.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hinted at other adjustments to the troop-rotation plan.

"We're also bringing some other units in earlier, which is another way of dealing with that issue" of how to keep a sufficient number of troops in Iraq with a limited number of combat brigades available, Rumsfeld said.

Last Edited by Phennommennonn on 10/04/2011 12:24 PM
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F.B. Nyte
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09/27/2006 03:08 PM
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Re: Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
And then we have this:

Army Warns Rumsfeld It's Billions Short
An extraordinary action by the chief of staff sends a message: The Pentagon must increase the budget or reduce commitments in Iraq and elsewhere.
By Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
September 25, 2006

WASHINGTON The Army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.

The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.


"This is unusual, but hell, we're in unusual times," said a senior Pentagon official involved in the budget discussions.

Schoomaker failed to submit the budget plan by an Aug. 15 deadline. The protest followed a series of cuts in the service's funding requests by both the White House and Congress over the last four months.

According to a senior Army official involved in budget talks, Schoomaker is now seeking $138.8 billion in 2008, nearly $25 billion above budget limits originally set by Rumsfeld. The Army's budget this year is $98.2 billion, making Schoomaker's request a 41% increase over current levels.

"It's incredibly huge," said the Army official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity when commenting on internal deliberations. "These are just incredible numbers."

Most funding for the fighting in Iraq has come from annual emergency spending bills, with the regular defense budget going to normal personnel, procurement and operational expenses, such as salaries and new weapons systems.

About $400 billion has been appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through emergency funding measures since Sept. 11, 2001, with the money divided among military branches and government agencies.

But in recent budget negotiations, Army officials argued that the service's expanding global role in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism outlined in strategic plans issued this year as well as fast-growing personnel and equipment costs tied to the Iraq war, have put intense pressure on its normal budget.

"It's kind of like the old rancher saying: 'I'm going to size the herd to the amount of hay that I have,' " said Lt. Gen. Jerry L. Sinn, the Army's top budget official. "[Schoomaker] can't size the herd to the size of the amount of hay that he has because he's got to maintain the herd to meet the current operating environment."

The Army, with an active-duty force of 504,000, has been stretched by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. About 400,000 have done at least one tour of combat duty, and more than a third of those have been deployed twice. Commanders have increasingly complained of the strain, saying last week that sustaining current levels will require more help from the National Guard and Reserve or an increase in the active-duty force.

Schoomaker first raised alarms with Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in June after he received new Army budget outlines from Rumsfeld's office. Those outlines called for an Army budget of about $114 billion, a $2-billion cut from previous guidelines. The cuts would grow to $7 billion a year after six years, the senior Army official said.

After Schoomaker confronted Rumsfeld with the Army's own estimates for maintaining the current size and commitments and the steps that would have to be taken to meet the lower figure, which included cutting four combat brigades and an entire division headquarters unit Rumsfeld agreed to set up a task force to investigate Army funding.

Although no formal notification is required, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, who has backed Schoomaker in his push for additional funding, wrote to Rumsfeld early last month to inform him that the Army would miss the Aug. 15 deadline for its budget plan. Harvey said the delay in submitting the plan, formally called a Program Objective Memorandum, was the result of the extended review by the task force.

The study group which included three-star officers from the Army and Rumsfeld's office has since agreed with the Army's initial assessment. Officials say negotiations have moved to higher levels of the Bush administration, involving top aides to Rumsfeld and White House Budget Director Rob Portman.

"Now the discussion is: Where are we going to go? Do we lower our strategy or do we raise our resources?" said the senior Pentagon official. "That's where we're at."

Pressure on the Army budget has been growing since late May, when the House and Senate appropriations committees proposed defense spending for 2007 of $4 billion to $9 billion below the White House's original request.

Funding was further complicated this summer, when rising sectarian violence in Baghdad forced the Pentagon to shelve plans to gradually reduce troops in Iraq.

Because of those pressures, the Army in July announced it was freezing civilian hiring and new weapons contract awards and was scaling back on personnel travel restrictions, among other cost cuts.

Schoomaker has been vocal in recent months about a need to expand war funding legislation to pay for repair of hundreds of tanks and armored fighting vehicles after heavy use in Iraq.
Anonymous Coward
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09/27/2006 03:09 PM
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Re: Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
They are beginning to see the big picture which means there may be no end to this fraudulent war on terror.
Idol1
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09/27/2006 03:32 PM
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Re: Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
The army may not be at the breaking point yet, but TPTB are starting to see that cutting their funding the past decade hasn't done them any good, either.
Anonymous Coward
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09/27/2006 03:36 PM
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Re: Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
they have been going "light" since the 80's.and clinton/gore cut 15 bases.with wmd's there is less need for huge armies.
LTC Peachblossom  (OP)

User ID: 89830
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09/27/2006 04:03 PM
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Re: Is The Army At The Breaking Point?
The way I see it, a crucial part of the project of having an army being ready and willing to put up a good fight is the moral part of it.

Everyone knows this. In my opinion, this is where USAF appears to have failed most miserably, at home and out in the war theatres, then in the media reporting back home and to the world.

I don't blame the fighting forces for this error, they were sent into combat on false intelligence to begin with. We all know that, I suppose. No media machine in the world has been able to make up for the fundamental errors committed by top US administrators.

I just hope the US boys all come home safely and are able to build up a good life for themselves. I also hope it will happen very soon.

Love,
/LTC Peachblossom
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