View Full Version : Army is stretched to breaking point

02-06-06, 08:52 AM
Editorial: Army is stretched to breaking point
Flawed strategy, insufficient forces are to blame.
Minneapolis Star/Tribune (aka The Red Star) ^ | 2/06/06

The Marines may be the most celebrated of the American armed forces, but it's the Army that does most of the heavy lifting, as it is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the process, the Army is being battered and shattered in the same way that it was in Vietnam.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that isn't the case; everything's fine. But a recent authoritative study says he is wrong. Commissioned by the Pentagon, the study was done by Andrew Krepinevich of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He's a West Point graduate who served in a variety of Army roles, including a stint on the strategic plans and policy division, before retiring. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University.

Krepinevich says that coming out of Vietnam, military leaders were determined never again to get bogged down in prolonged small-unit combat. If the Army must fight, it would hit with overwhelming force, achieve its objectives and get out. The need to behave that way was reinforced by the end of the draft late in the Vietnam War. U.S. military forces now needed to focus on their ability to attract new recruits and retain experienced personnel.

That doctrine dictated how the Army was organized for Afghanistan and Iraq. It was totally unprepared to cope with extended battles against insurgencies; the Bush administration's strategy didn't take them into account.

Krepinevich says the Army can deploy no more than 13 brigades to hardship tours at one time. It now has 19 brigades deployed. To fill the gap, two Marine brigades have been sent to Iraq. "Stop loss" and "stop move" orders have been implemented. The reserves have been well tapped out. Active duty personnel now are commonly on their third rotation into Iraq.

The effects of this flawed strategy have been dramatic. The Army has no strategic reserve to call on if another threat were to develop. Divorce rates, domestic abuse and all kinds of mental and physical problems are on the rise among active duty soldiers. In sum, the Army is headed for a "catastrophic decline in recruitment and retention" unless something is done. The "thin green line," Krepinevich says, will break. And don't look to NATO, the United Nations or private contractors for more help, or expect Iraqi forces to develop without many years of effort.

Adding an additional 30,000 to 40,000 personnel, "if aggressively executed, could create a force sufficient to sustain current force levels indefinitely, while maintaining a modest strategic reserve," Krepinevich writes. But even that wouldn't help unless the Pentagon's strategy is changed. From a force organized "to compete as a world-class sprinter," Krepinevich says, the Army must recast itself to run marathons -- to put a "greater priority on stability operations." That, he says, will take years, and there are no good options for getting through the transition, even if nothing else happens in the world requiring the Army's attention.

Thus the Army finds itself just where it was in Vietnam, and without a draft. Its near-term future looks bleak, thanks to the flawed vision of Rumsfeld and Bush.

02-06-06, 09:43 AM
or expect Iraqi forces to develop without many years of effort
It would be a huge mistake to leave without assuring that they could take care of themselves. Like it or not we are there with Boots on the Ground. Almost 60% don't like it. But hey, every Veteran knows to suck it up and take a bite.

The politicos and pundits do not talk about it, but I think we still owe a debt of honor to the Iraqis. We encouraged them to revolt back in 1991 and then we left them hanging. Literally.

We do not need an Iranian puppet state that can take power just by making a mean face. A half million properly trained Iraqi troops can prevent that. They are not much different than us. They love their country and are willing to fight for her.

30 years from now when someone asks, "What did your generation do?" Our Corps Veterans can answer back proudly, "We freed Iraq!"

02-06-06, 09:51 AM
Why would Rumsfeld ever admit he is wrong.. it takes integrity to do that, its not his arse on the line in Iraq.. and as we all have seen, it's better to take a "few casualties", rather than take a few hits in the polls.. and it is my firm belief that is what dictates policy.. the proof is all in hind sight. Yes I know integrity is a lost art outside our beloved Corps, but I would still like to see it found in other places.

Out of line.. if I am not, I might be close.. but I am sick of seeing things done half right.. and left that way, while our brothers and sisters are killed and mauled in the process of some suit making up his mind based on the way the political winds are blowing.

Yellowwing I agree we walked in their door as said we are going to change your house.. now me MUST do what we said we would do if we as a nation are to ever be trusted by anyone, it goes to our integrity and honor as a nation.

02-08-06, 03:18 PM
Good words, Yellowwing.
George Washington took all kinds of crap for more than eight years. Continental Congress spent more time making sure they profited from the war, other generals and media types sniped at him constantly (just didn't have a TV bully pulpit like today's "experts"), and troops, other than a hard core of believers, fled the field like rats.
Washington had his hard core. I hope Bush has his hard Corps.

02-08-06, 04:11 PM
Almost 60% don't like it.
As in 60% of the public. Not to referring to our troops.

02-08-06, 08:14 PM
What is this? The army cant do the Job hell we have all known that from the get go. The Army couldnt do the job in Vietnam either, I have made the statement then and i will make the statement again. We need to disband the US Army and let the Marine Corps run the whole show with no ifs and or butts about it. No strings attached if our Marine Corps is called in NO BARS HELD let our Marines fight it the way we were taught and take no prisoners... enuff said...

02-08-06, 09:04 PM
I dont know hrscowboy, I think a lot of those air cav, and some others like 3rd mobile strike earned their right to stand up and be counted in Vietnam.. it feels rather strange speaking for the Army.. I think I will go wash my mouth out with some good old fashoned lye soap.

02-08-06, 09:29 PM
Though I respect the views here that I read I also question the idea of " freeing Iraq". We did not go there to free Iraqis. We went there to stop the building and use of WMD's or so we were told. We were lead to believe that we would march through the country like Paton through Europe. That's exactly what our troops did, and they did it even better then expected! Now we go to the real problem---The war planners seem to not have had a clear vision of the culture and religion there. Both of these have prevented our exit and now the administration creates all kinds of "new reasons" for us being there. One of these is to "free Iraqis". As I see it, it's just a cover for a well planned entry with a "not a clue" planned exit.

Semper Fi,

02-09-06, 12:04 AM
yup sgt hit the lye soap and fast