Military Space News  





. Building A Bigger US Army
File photo of President Bush with US Soldiers. Photo courtesy AFP.
File photo of President Bush with US Soldiers. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Daniel Goure And Loren B. Thompson
UPI Outside View commentators
Arlington (UPI) Dec 27, 2006
Remember the optimism that greeted the new millennium? Communism was a fading memory, U.S. air power had just won a war in the Balkans, and threats to national security seemed so modest that a new administration in Washington decided to take some risks to transform America's military into an information-age force. Back then, the active-duty component of the U,S. Army -- the full-time, professional warfighters -- totaled 482,000 soldiers.

That was way down from the 732,000 soldiers filling the ranks at the end of the Cold War, but overseas challenges requiring major troop deployments had become so scarce that the Bush administration considered eliminating two more of the Army's 10 active divisions.

That golden age when philosophers thought history might have ended and armchair strategists thought air power could police the world is now long gone. Like most golden ages, it was short-lived. The first decade of the new millennium will be remembered for Sept. 11, 2001, the launching of a global war on terror, and the grinding counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq. So of course, the Army has gotten much bigger as new threats requiring ground forces have arisen, right?

Wrong. The active-duty U.S. Army today numbers 507,000 soldiers, barely five percent bigger than it was before Sept. 11, 2001. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been fought by mobilizing reserves and demanding much, much more from each member of the active-duty force. If the Iraq operation had been concluded quickly, as the Bush administration originally forecast, that would have been enough. But the war has now been going on for nearly four years with no end in sight, and the Army is running out of options for fielding an adequate force.

Although 186,000 members of the Army National Guard and 164,000 members of the Army Reserve have been called up since Sept. 11, 2001, those forces are largely tapped out. As Ann Scott Tyson reported in the Washington Post on Dec. 15, only 90,000 members of the Army Guard and Reserve (out of 522,000) are still eligible for mobilization under current personnel policies.

In the near term, the Army has little choice but to request that personnel policies be adjusted to allow greater access to the Guard and Reserve (as Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker proposed earlier this month).

But that is a stop-gap. Over the longer term, it is obvious the United States needs a bigger active-duty Army. Not just the 20,000-30,000 increment that might have been useful in supporting a surge of troops to stabilize Baghdad, but an increase sizable enough so the Army can do other things at the same time -- like cope with a new outbreak of violence in Afghanistan or Korea or the Balkans. The right number is probably in the 80,000-100,000 troop range, which would add $10-12 billion in personnel costs to the Army's annual budget, and additional billions for equipment and infrastructure.

Neither of us likes recommending this increase. We have both resisted increasing the size of the Army in the past. But unless the American people are prepared to accept defeat in Iraq and the broader war on terror, we see no alternative to growing the size of the Army, because the nation is likely to be at war for a long time to come.

Congress acknowledged that fact when it authorized an increase in active-duty headcount to 512,000 after Sept. 11, 2001, but given the slow pace of progress in Iraq, that isn't going to be enough. The nation needs an active-duty Army of 600,000 well-equipped soldiers. And we shouldn't fool ourselves that the money for that increase can come from the Air Force or Navy Departments, which have their own problems coping with terrorism and an aging arsenal. The defense budget will have to rise to a level that matches the threat until the war on terror is won.

Daniel Goure is a vice president with the Lexington Institute, an Arlingotn, Va.-based think tank that supports democracy and the free market. He spent two years in the U.S. Government as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Loren B. Thompson is chief executive officer of the Lexington Institute.

United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com

Russia Against US Missile Defense Plans For Europe
Lekhtusi, Russia (RIA Novosti) Dec 27, 2006
Russia is opposed to the United States' plans to deploy an anti-missile shield in Central Europe, the defense minister said Friday. Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said these plans do not even make "political sense, to say nothing of military sense". He said deployment of a missile defense system will not affect Russia's security in any way.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Building A Bigger US Army
  • Russia Against US Missile Defense Plans For Europe
  • Analysis: Three crises pileup?
  • Policy Watch: U.S.' adversaries and Iraq

  • Eight Nations Now Building ICBM Nuclear Missiles
  • US Sought Two-Month Nuclear Deadline For North Korea
  • Russia Seeking To Extend Use Of Cold War Missile Stocks
  • US Naval Buildup In Gulf Shows Enduring Presence

  • LockMart-Built Trident II D5 Launched In Two-Missile US Navy Test
  • LockMart Announces Firing Of Hellfire II Missile During French Evaluation
  • Raytheon Awarded Contract For Missile Launcher Production
  • Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

  • New Radar At Lekhtusi: A Shield Against Missile Attacks
  • South Korea Eyes Independent Missile Defense System
  • BMD Watch: Bob Gates backs BMD
  • BMD Focus: Collision course with Russia

  • IATA Gives Cautious Welcome To EU Emissions Trading Plan
  • EU Proposes CO2 Emission Quotas For Airlines
  • Shoulder Ligament A Linchpin In The Evolution Of Flight
  • EU Compromises On Airlines In Carbon-Trading Scheme

  • Warfare Center To Host Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle Fest 2007
  • Northrop Grumman Lifts US Navy To New Era For Unmanned Flight
  • Boeing Australia To Provide Australia Its First Tactical UAV
  • Boeing, U.S. Air Force Demonstrate UAV Automated Aerial Refueling Capability

  • Facing A Shiite Baghdad
  • Outside View: Short-changing Iraq
  • Outside View: Syria must be involved
  • Analysis: Bush's last attempt in Iraq

  • New Antenna Begins Testing
  • Crews Test Latest Stryker Vehicle
  • ATK Pioneering Air Bursting Ammunition Technology Selected by US Navy
  • Star-P Uses Supercomputers In Support Of Futuristic Military Vehicles

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement