Army in Trouble
How do you know when your Army is f*cked? There are several questions wannabe-Kings should ask when it comes to wars. The answers can point toward an Army – and a quest for empire – that’s headed straight into FUBAR territory, if it’s not already there.
Here’s one that got a couple dictators: “Is it winter, and are you determined to attack Russia anyway?” Things didn’t go so well for Napolean or Hitler after answering yes to this one.
Another is: “Is your technologically-superior and extremely large army going to attack a small country whose populace has a history of rebelling against their ‘liberators’?” Romans in Scotland, Russia in Afghanistan, the US in Vietnam, and Britain in India, the Middle East, the Far East, several places in Africa, and [though it doesn’t quite meet the criteria] the good ol’ USA.
I’m fairly sure the next question would be, “Is your Army so stretched that the ‘ready brigade’ isn’t?”
From the New York Times:
For decades, the Army has kept a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on round-the-clock alert, poised to respond to a crisis anywhere in 18 to 72 hours.
Today, the so-called ready brigade is no longer so ready. Its soldiers are not fully trained, much of its equipment is elsewhere, and for the past two weeks the unit has been far from the cargo aircraft it would need in an emergency.
Army officials concede that the unit is not capable of getting at least an initial force of several hundred to a war zone within 18 hours, a standard once considered inviolate.
Since President Bush ordered reinforcements to Iraq and Afghanistan in January, roughly half of the Army’s 43 active-duty combat brigades are now deployed overseas, Army officials said. A brigade has about 3,500 soldiers.
Pentagon officials worry that among the just over 20 Army brigades left in the United States or at Army bases in Europe and Asia, none has enough equipment and manpower to be sent quickly into combat, except for an armored unit stationed permanently in South Korea, several senior Army officers said.
“We are fully committed right now,” said Col. Charles Hardy of the Forces Command, which oversees Army training and equipping of troops to be sent overseas. “If we had a fully trained-up brigade, hell, it’d be the next one to deploy.”
In effect, the Army has become a “just in time” organization: every combat brigade that finishes training is sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan almost immediately. Equipment vital for protecting troops, like armored vehicles, roadside bomb jammers and night vision goggles, is rushed to Iraq as quickly as it is made, officials say.
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