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U.S. struggles to find troops for Iraq, Afghanistan
WASHINGTON - The Army, which has been hard pressed to find enough soldiers to man the rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, may soon be faced with an urgent request to find another 5,000 to 7,000 troops to increase the number of boots on the ground in Iraq.
Commanders there have been quietly signaling an immediate need for at least that many more soldiers to add to the 138,000 Americans already there. This, they say, is the minimum number needed to allow them to pursue the offensive against the insurgents in the wake of the taking of Fallujah.
Army planners are looking at a number of temporary stop-gap measures to boost the strength in Iraq during January, including extension of the tours of thousands of soldiers nearing the end of their 12-month combat assignment and speeding up the deployment of the 3rd Mech Infantry Division so more of them arrive before January.
They are also reportedly eyeing the ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division - which stands by at Fort Bragg for rapid deployment anywhere in the world in a crisis - as one way to boost temporarily troop strength in Iraq. Those troops, however, are light infantry and do not come equipped with the Bradley fighting vehicles and M1A2 Abrams tanks that are increasingly needed for urban combat in Iraq.
Finding the rest of the troops that commanders want may be difficult. Getting them to Iraq in time and properly equipped to fight in that dangerous environment may be even more difficult; Army and Marine commanders have already used up most of their bag of tricks to find troops for the usual rotations to Iraq.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the Army is hard pressed to find enough officers for staff jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan and will double the length of their tours in those countries from 179 days at present to a full 12 months.
Other extraordinary steps ordered or under consideration include pulling officers out of military schools or delaying entry into such programs. They could also curtail family-oriented programs such as the one that allows soldiers to extend their tours at a stateside base so their children can finish their senior year in high school.
as posted by worldwatcher
Even if they take all currently active military personnel and station them in Iraq, how will they ever fill all the vacancies left?
Currently, there are 499,000 active duty Army troops, backed up by 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. That's a third less than when the U.S. fought its last big war in the Persian Gulf, in 1991;
130,000 Army troops are in Iraq. Pentagon officials had hoped to reduce that number, but the ongoing insurgency prevented it; 9,000 Army troops are in Afghanistan; 3,000 help keep the peace in Bosnia, as do 37,000 in South Korea.
whether the Army is too small to support its long-term commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Originally posted by worldwatcher
Now if mismanagement is to blame, why isn't management being changed???
Originally posted by Reverie
How about we stop looking for fights? Then we won't have to deploy anyone