Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 12/12/2003 10:48:28 AM EDT
Especally as the Pentagon is actually OPPOSED to a major increase in force strength.


Congress Pushes for Larger Military

By Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress from both parties are pushing for the first significant increase in the size of the active-duty military in 16 years, despite resistance from the Pentagon. Call-ups of part-time troops from the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve to fill the ranks in Iraq have intensified the bipartisan sentiment that the Pentagon doesn't have enough troops to fight an extended war on terrorism while keeping enough well-rested, well-trained troops ready for an emergency.

"Momentum is building in Congress for" an increase, says Harald Stavenas, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "Finally, everyone has come around to see enough is enough."

"This recognizes the reality in the strain and the stretch in all the services," says Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Skelton promises "positive action by our committee early next year."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld strongly opposes increasing the size of the military on the grounds that the services are not efficiently using the personnel they already have, and increasing the number of troops is enormously expensive. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita says Rumsfeld "hasn't seen any analysis that convinces him there is a need" for a large increase in active-duty troops.

If Congress forces the administration to add troops, it would mark a turning point in the downsizing of the active-duty military that began before the end of the Cold War. These forces peaked at 2.2 million in 1987 and fell back slightly because of budget concerns. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 speeded up the cuts, shrinking the force to just under 1.5 million troops in 1998, where it has remained.

For years, Congress has generally deferred to the Pentagon on troop strength. But there appears to be growing concern over the issue, even among Republicans. Among the signs of a shift:

· Congress agreed this year to spend $68 million to increase the Army by 2,400 slots, about 0.5% of the current 480,000-strong force.

· A bill has been introduced in the House to increase the size of the Army, Marines and Air Force by roughly 8% over five years. The bill would add 40,000 troops to the Army, bringing it to 522,400, while the Air Force would grow by 28,700 to 388,000 and the Marines by 15,000 to 190,000. "If the administration is going to deploy thousands of troops across the globe, the size of our military needs to reflect that," says Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., author of the bill.

· Fifty-four of the 61 members of the House Armed Services Committee, joined by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, have sent President Bush a letter urging him to expand the U.S. combat force. The letter also asks Bush to reassess the ratio between active and reserve forces used in long deployments because of concerns that the military is overly reliant on the Guard and Reserve in the war on terrorism.

The drive to deal with the issue appears stronger in the House, where Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the No. 3 Republican leader, plans to push for action early next year. But the Senate has similar concerns.

"We are dangerously stretched thin in the Army and the other services," says Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a West Point graduate.

Contributing: Dave Moniz and Kathy Kiely


12-12-03 07:36 EST

© Copyright 2003 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc

Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:05:57 AM EDT
To answer your original question: Who cares? If the military is to be expanded, GOOD, so long as it is done wisely and with an eye toward making it absolutely savage in its ability to decimate the enemy, no matter what form he takes. I never complain about increases in military spending. Best money we could possibly spend. Hopefully some of that will go toward pay raises for our boys.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:12:08 AM EDT
The article doesn't address this but we actually have flying saucers on the dark side of the moon ready to strike at our enemies at any given moment. [:D]
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:22:36 AM EDT
Did I read in Ann Coulter's column that there are more people in the USPS than in the military?
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:28:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Malpaso: Did I read in Ann Coulter's column that there are more people in the USPS than in the military?
View Quote
The USPS has more than 1.5 Million employees?
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:30:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Zaphod: To answer your original question: Who cares? If the military is to be expanded, GOOD, so long as it is done wisely and with an eye toward making it absolutely savage in its ability to decimate the enemy, no matter what form he takes. I never complain about increases in military spending. Best money we could possibly spend. Hopefully some of that will go toward pay raises for our boys.
View Quote
But the military doesn't want it expanded. Congress does. Usually when Congress forces something on the military, it doesn't turn out that good. Who is right this time? And why are so many Democrats lobbying for the force increase?
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:32:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Originally Posted By Malpaso: Did I read in Ann Coulter's column that there are more people in the USPS than in the military?
View Quote
The USPS has more than 1.5 Million employees?
View Quote
I went back and checked. This is how she worded it: <>
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:38:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Malpaso:
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Originally Posted By Malpaso: Did I read in Ann Coulter's column that there are more people in the USPS than in the military?
View Quote
The USPS has more than 1.5 Million employees?
View Quote
I went back and checked. This is how she worded it: <>
View Quote
That's the sloppiest, most agonizing pair of sentances I've ever read.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:41:58 AM EDT
Why, DF?
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 1:12:01 PM EDT
Pork or prudence? The answer is some of both. There are those in Congress who truly believe that a larger military is necessary to execute not just its current missions world-wide, but that the military was not large enough to carry out the dramatically expanded roles it acquired following the end of the cold war. Sen McCain is an example of those with this belief. Others are cynically agitating for a larger to discredit the administrations current military policy. Knowing that personnel costs are the largest expenditure in the military budget, they hope that by expanding the size of the force they can drive up the cost of doing business. Then they can use the cost as a club to beat the administration. Look for reduction in forces proposal once political power shifts hands. Charles Rangel may be one of these folks. The third group thinks that the military is large enough, but has its people doing the wrong kind of jobs. Outsourcing, reorganization, and conversion of heavy cold-war forces to lighter forces capable of fast deployment are the hallmarks of this type. Secretary Rumsfeld is an example. Personally I lean towards the third group, but am open to the possibility that the military may need to grow if reorganization isn't enough. Suffice to say that there are lots of studies going on at OSD about what to do.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 1:36:16 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 1:41:12 PM EDT
Yeah. I saw 'em too on my last fly by.
Originally Posted By StariVojnik: The article doesn't address this but we actually have flying saucers on the dark side of the moon ready to strike at our enemies at any given moment. [:D]
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 2:02:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy: The problem is the heavy reliance on Reservists. Reservists are cheap, because you only have to pay them when they're deployed (yes, they get *some* pay during their "one weekend a month", but you know what I mean). And that's a fine solution, as long as you only OCCASIONALLY need to use the Reserves. In our present situation, we have many Reservists who are on their THIRD year-long deployment in 6-8 years. That level of reliance on the Reserves results in lives and families being torn apart and morale to plummet. It's hard to be a soldier when the wife is writing you letters telling you how the house is falling apart and the bills aren't being paid because the husband is earning half (or less) of his normal wages despite a much higher risk of being killed. And the families of many of those Reservists have been writing letters and making calls to their Congress-folk (it's usually not the Reservists themselves, BTW). Thus, both Demos and Repubs are feeling the heat. -Troy
View Quote
Bingo! We have Winner! Yes, this is all getting propelled by the massive call up of the part timers. The system of relying heavily on Guard and Reserve works great, as long as you don't actually have to call them up very often. The present system was never designed for this kind of usage. My guess is they will have no choice but to increase the Regulars because re-enlistment rates for Guard and Reserve units are likely to fall thru the floor.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 2:07:55 PM EDT
There's definately a political side to this, or your Congress wouldn't even care about it. Reserve components are now being used quite often. They are voters, and that upsets Congress. Having reserve units actively engaged in combat is the way to go. It sucks for the Reservist, but it does insure that the will of the people is actually behind the war effort. If all you do is send active units to the war zone, frankly most civillians will give a rat's-ass what is going on. The use of reserve forces should be looked at as one of the checks and balances for a deployment. If Clinton had to explain why he would be sending a Guard unit from Michigan or Nevada to every one of his BS deployments, there would have be a political backlash. That's why he never used them. Clinton also used the military more times than any other peacetime president before him. He got away with it because the people didn't really notice what was going on. If he had to use RC units, they sure would have noticed. If a war is worth fighting, the American people WILL fight it. We've proven that time and again, and I have full faith in the American youth doing the right thing when it comes crunch time. Using RC units won't be a problem for a war that's just. These people will want to go. For some idiotically conceived scheme that is politically driven to hide the latest scandal, or to make-up for a lack of ability in diplomacy, then the use of RC units will cause political backlash. These folks will be wanting to know why they have to go to do something stupid. Now we do have a real war. We also have a real leader in the Whitehouse. I'm no great fan of GWB personally. I don't agree with alot of his stuff, but in the handling of the war, he's tops in my book. Should he get us involved in somewhere we shouldn't be, then the presence of RC units will cause political problems. This is a GOOD THING! It provides the ultimate check and balance to war-the will of the people. A larger military is unneeded at this point. I agree that while much restructuring has been done, more needs to be done. It's obvious that the Civil Affairs branch of the Army is going to get a heck of a workout in the next decade. CA is all USAR. It would make more sense to build some CA units into the regular Army. There are probably a multitude of other type units that similar things should be done with, but it does not mean the Army, or the military, needs to be bigger. It just needs to be the right mix. The military always changes the mix regularly to reflect the threat. I'm sure this will happen now as well. I would trust the Pentagon to do this. I WOULD NOT trust Congress to do it. Ross
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 2:19:07 PM EDT
Ross you are dead on. This is what Rumsfeld has been trying to get the Army to do. To be fair, he is not the first and there have been voices from within the Army saying that they needed to go in that direction. The change in force structure faces some challenges though. First Civil Affairs troops don't require expensive weapons platforms that get built in some Congressman's district so it perfectly acceptable to them to add these folks to the Army mix as long as none of the money to fund it comes from the project in any Congressman's district. Second, there are rice bowl issues. I doubt that there are many CA general officers in the Army. Without advocates at the 3 and 4 star level it is pretty tough to get money into any program. Finally, if you build a CA capability you will be expected to use it. The military's response to Vietnam wasn't "we need to restructure to fight this kind of war" but rather "this nation building counter-insurgency thing is hard so we are going to stick to tank battles and airstrikes against the Russkies/Chinese/Iraqis/North Koreans". While this may have been valid during the Cold War, it surely isn't in the post Cold-War world where the US lacks a peer competitor. Current mid-grade and junior officers in the military get this and while opinions differ on how to get there, the general consensus is that we need to do much more in the low-intensity arena and if necessary throttle back on the high intensity side in the active force and move more of the high intensity heavy stuff to the reserves so that those guys are not rode hard and put away wet.
Top Top