Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Thursday, January 20, 2005
Is the Army Broken?
Here's a question for any readers that support(ed) the war in Iraq (I know of at least one): Do you also support a draft?
I don't want to get bogged down in the political scare tactic that even John Kerry used to some degree during the campaign, but the former Secretary of the Army, Thomas Whitein this fascinating interview makes the point that we probably cannot conduct an operation like this one with an all-volunteer army:
Q: Is the Army broken?
A: Yeah, I think so. We're on the brink. We are in a situation where we are grossly overdeployed, and it is unlike any other period in the 229-year history of the Army. We have never conducted a sustained combat operation with a volunteer force, with a force that we have to compete in the job market to hire every year. Every other force that we've ever done this with, going back to the Vietnam period to something comparable, has been a draftee conscript force.
So what we are all worried about is that the manpower situation will come unglued. ... The Army is people; it's not weapons or platforms. Somebody once said, "A soldier's not in the Army; they are the Army." And the quality of the soldiers [has] been the enormous advantage we've had since the volunteer force was put in place, and the quality of the noncommissioned officers corps.
Well, that is a married Army, among other things. You may recruit soldiers, but you retain families. And I think we're all concerned that we are teetering on the brink here and that if we can't get to a lower operational tempo, or at least have some point in the future that we can set our sails against where it might occur, that the Army on the manpower side's going to come unglued.