US Reserve Forces Nearly 'Broken' says Chief

mactastic

macrumors 68040
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Apr 24, 2003
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The U.S. Army Reserve, tapped heavily to provide soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “degenerating into a ‘broken’ force” due to dysfunctional military policies, the Army Reserve’s chief said in a memo made public Wednesday.

“I do not wish to sound alarmist. I do wish to send a clear, distinctive signal of deepening concern,” Lt. Gen. James Helmly said in a Dec. 20 memo to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.

The Army Reserve is a force of 200,000 part-time soldiers who opted not to sign up for the active-duty Army but can be mobilized from their civilian lives in times of national need. About 52,000 Army Reserve soldiers are on active duty, with 17,000 in Iraq and 2,000 in Afghanistan, the Army said.

The Army Reserve has provided many military police, civil affairs soldiers, medics and truck drivers for the wars.

“While ability to meet the current demands associated with OIF (Operational Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan) is of great importance, the Army Reserve is additionally in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements including those in named OPLANS (operational plans) and CONUS (continental United States) emergencies, and is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken’ force,” Helmly wrote.

Helmly said military leaders had rebuffed his proposals for change. The memo’s purpose was to inform Schoomaker of the Army Reserve’s “inability — under current policies, procedures and practices governing mobilization, training and reserve component manpower management — to meet mission requirements” for the two wars, Helmly wrote.

'Dysfunctional practices’
In his eight-page memo, first disclosed by the Baltimore Sun, Helmly titled one section “US Army Reserve Readiness Discussion, Past Dysfunctional Practices/Policies.”

The Pentagon, maintaining higher-than-expected troop levels after failing to anticipate that a bloody guerrilla war would follow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003, has relied heavily on Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers. These part-time troops comprise about 40 percent of the U.S. force in Iraq.

Some reservists and families have complained about frequent and lengthy tours in war zones, inferior equipment and scant notice before being pressed into service.

Helmly’s remarks gave fuel to critics of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who argue that his policies and his resistance to a large increase in the active-duty Army are harming the all-volunteer military.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island called the memo ”deeply disturbing,” adding: “By consistently underestimating the number of troops necessary for the successful occupation of Iraq, the administration has placed a tremendous burden on the Army Reserve and created this crisis.”

Volunteer versus mercenary
Helmly referred to “potential ‘sociological’ damage” to the all-volunteer military by paying inducements of $1,000 extra per month to reservists who volunteer to remobilize.

“We must consider the point at which we confuse ’volunteer to become an American Soldier’ with 'mercenary,”’ Helmly said.

Helmly said Pentagon reluctance to issue orders calling reservists to active duty “in a timely manner” resulted in more than 10,000 reserve soldiers getting as little as three to five days notice before being compelled back into uniform.

A senior Army official said Schoomaker and Army Secretary Francis Harvey were reviewing the memo. “Changes are expected over time, and the Army is already working these issues. The memo just brings it to the forefront,” the official said.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
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Wow. Where on earth are the 50,000 extra troops going to come from that you need to achieve any semblance of order in Iraq? And this "war" was meant to enhance your security? Sounds like dereliction of duty as well as gross incompetence and mismanagement to me.
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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I guess at this stage the responsible thing to do would be to institute a limited draft.

Of course, this is near-political suicide for the Administration, but in order to adequately address the situation in Iraq and other potential problems that may need military attention (god forbid), it seems like a practical necessity.

Since neither Bush or Cheney need to be concerned with re-election in 2008, it is fairly easy for them to go back on their Campaign promise in this regard. The GOP Congress faces a tougher crisis of necessity vs political survival, but I do feel that the GOP is smart enough to phrase such an action in a way that paints them in the best possible light.

Arguments about mismanagement and incompetence aside, we are stuck with what we have, and I am am willing to entertain any policy, even one I disagree with like the draft, coming from either side.

I honestly think that most people, both politicians and citizens, regardless of party, would like a reasonable solution to the war and it's aftermath.

Besides, one of the few things I like about a draft is it's egalatarian nature, in that it brings together diverse groups of people, socially and economically, which fosters a greater unity and understanding among citenzenry who wouldn't normally associate with easch other.

Of course, this is all easy for me to say, as I am too old to be effected by all but the most emcompassing draft.

At this point I look towards the future, as an "I told you so" hardly gives me any satisfaction at this point.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,693
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I'm all for a draft...

As long as those who voted for Kerry are exempt. And rich kids (including children of politicians) have to go too. No Daddy's getting them into the National Guard. Better yet, send the ChickenHawks like Rush, O'Reily, and the lot. Hell, send Bush and Cheney, let them fight it out. They want to support a war, let them fight it (for once). Of course, they got out of Vietnam, I'm sure they'd find a way to get out of this.

If I do get drafted, I have no problem pretending I'm gay. Actually, I almost did join the Air Force under Clinton. Clinton had a pretty good military apparently. Luckily I changed my mind when I thought people like Bush could be in office someday, and get me killed over something like oil.

Some of my friends were not as lucky.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
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MSNBC is reporting that the Army is looking to extend reservist time in Iraq even longer and calling up more reservist. How far back are they going to go? I would like to know where the regular Army is? They reinstate the Draft i think ill send my son to Canada. Not going to have anyone my family die over Bush's stupid stupid foreign policy. Reminds me of Vietnam, thousands being killed for what? sorry George you may be President but you should have listen to your Daddy.
 

coconn06

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2003
197
0
King of Prussia, PA
blackfox said:
I guess at this stage the responsible thing to do would be to institute a limited draft.

Of course, this is near-political suicide for the Administration, but in order to adequately address the situation in Iraq and other potential problems that may need military attention (god forbid), it seems like a practical necessity.

Since neither Bush or Cheney need to be concerned with re-election in 2008, it is fairly easy for them to go back on their Campaign promise in this regard. The GOP Congress faces a tougher crisis of necessity vs political survival, but I do feel that the GOP is smart enough to phrase such an action in a way that paints them in the best possible light.

Arguments about mismanagement and incompetence aside, we are stuck with what we have, and I am am willing to entertain any policy, even one I disagree with like the draft, coming from either side.

I honestly think that most people, both politicians and citizens, regardless of party, would like a reasonable solution to the war and it's aftermath.

Besides, one of the few things I like about a draft is it's egalatarian nature, in that it brings together diverse groups of people, socially and economically, which fosters a greater unity and understanding among citenzenry who wouldn't normally associate with easch other.

Of course, this is all easy for me to say, as I am too old to be effected by all but the most emcompassing draft.

At this point I look towards the future, as an "I told you so" hardly gives me any satisfaction at this point.
False.

The only responsible thing to do now, as it has always been, is to pull our troops out of Iraq.

We have no business being there, except to kill innocent Americans and Iraqis on a daily basis, and to protect the oil we're so dependent on.

Let's stop killing innocent people, destroying our economy by building up the deficit to absurd levels, and start concentrating on the thing that convinced the American people to support the war in the first place: national defense!
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
http://nytimes.com/2005/01/07/international/middleeast/07military.html
Rumsfeld Seeks Broad Review of Iraq Policy
By ERIC SCHMITT and THOM SHANKER

Published: January 7, 2005


WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 - The Pentagon is sending a retired four-star Army general to Iraq next week to conduct an unusual "open-ended" review of the military's entire Iraq policy, including troop levels, training programs for Iraqi security forces and the strategy for fighting the insurgency, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday.

The extraordinary leeway given to the highly regarded officer, Gen. Gary E. Luck, a former head of American forces in South Korea and currently a senior adviser to the military's Joint Forces Command, underscores the deep concern by senior Pentagon officials and top American commanders over the direction that the operation in Iraq is taking, and its broad ramifications for the military, said some members of Congress and military analysts.

In another sign that the Iraq campaign is forcing reassessments of Pentagon policies, Army officials are now considering whether to request that the temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers approved by Congress be made permanent. One senior Army official said Thursday that the increase is likely to be needed on a permanent basis if the service is to meet its global commitments - despite the additional cost of $3 billion per year.

At a meeting Thursday with his top military and civilian aides, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld instructed that General Luck look at all areas of the operation, identify any weaknesses and report back in a few weeks with a confidential assessment, senior defense officials said.​
What happens if he tells them the truth?
 

Thanatoast

macrumors 65816
Dec 3, 2002
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At a meeting Thursday with his top military and civilian aides, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld instructed that General Luck look at all areas of the operation, identify any weaknesses and report back in a few weeks with a confidential assessment, senior defense officials said.
Ha.

"Weak areas in the command chain include: the Commander in Chief, for ordering the armed forces to "spread freedom" without giving any specific objectives or methods. The Secretary of Defense, for ensuring that more money, matriel and soldiers than he was willing to give were required to meet those amorphous "objectives". The current nominee for Attorney General, for endangering our soldiers and smearing our reputation by supporting heinous torture techniques as legitimate. The Secretary of State, for bowing like a supplicant to the President, rather than fighting for a reasonable, reality-based solution to the President's need to "spread freedom". The Republican leadership for backing the President to the hilt, despite the fact that he obviously lacks grounding in reality and moral rectitude."
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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coconn06 said:
False.

The only responsible thing to do now, as it has always been, is to pull our troops out of Iraq.

We have no business being there, except to kill innocent Americans and Iraqis on a daily basis, and to protect the oil we're so dependent on.

Let's stop killing innocent people, destroying our economy by building up the deficit to absurd levels, and start concentrating on the thing that convinced the American people to support the war in the first place: national defense!
I respectfully disagree.

While I agree that our reasons for going into Iraq were flimsy at best and that our handling of things during occupation had been deploreable and inept, we cannot just cut-and-run.

The violence and chaos in Iraq will not subside with the exit of our troops, and may very likely spread and/or destabilize neighboring countries in the Region. On a moral level, it is unacceptable to leave so many people with the fate we've made for them. On a political level, a rapid exit could effect our influence in the Region, notably with Saudi Arabia, whom we have influence with, in return for military protection. This is not in the interests of the US.

Several decades ago, around the time of the Iranian revolution, when US embassies were closing around the ME, a single group of embassy diplomats kept their embassy open in Ridyah, while the French were whispering to the King to kick out the Americans and deal with them instead. Our continued presence saved our relationship with the Saudis, and cemented the economic/military partnership we currently have.

If we were to rapididly leave the ME, the destabilization and negative public sentiment in the ME towards our actions could permanently damage important diplomatic relationships with SA and other significant regional players. We may find ourselves replaced with someone like France once again, or more likely perhaps, China.

As amoral as much of our interests are in the ME, they are important priorities to the US, both as a large energy user and as geopolitical strategy. As such, it is important for the US to remain in the region and hopefully engage the Region to bring stability to the mess it has created.

This will need much larger troop levels, allowing for increased security and infrastructure rebuilding. This will take several years to accomplish, even in best case scenarios. A draft will be needed.

Ironically, if a draft is re-established, you may very well see your wish sooner than later, as it will pique and galvanize public interest in the War, making it susceptible to public opinion about the manner and length of it's continuation.

As far as the deficit is concerned, the Bush tax-cuts are a bigger factor than our War spending. Bush is the only president I can remember who did not raise taxes during war-time. A rescinding of the tax-cuts would go a fair way in addressing our deficit situation, though of course I am not holding my breath...which would allow for more flexibility on spending, including National Defense.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
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blackfox said:
While I agree that our reasons for going into Iraq were flimsy at best and that our handling of things during occupation had been deploreable and inept, we cannot just cut-and-run.

The violence and chaos in Iraq will not subside with the exit of our troops, and may very likely spread and/or destabilize neighboring countries in the Region.
What makes you think it will be any different if you stay?

On a moral level, it is unacceptable to leave so many people with the fate we've made for them. On a political level, a rapid exit could effect our influence in the Region, notably with Saudi Arabia, whom we have influence with, in return for military protection. This is not in the interests of the US.
The interests of the US be damned. Your influence in the region has already been irrevocably damaged. Why should the US decide what's right for anyone over there? Self-determination is what they're always banging on about when it suits them to see some other country destabilized. The Saudi regime should be allowed to stand or fall on its own: if it's so inept and corrupt itself that it can't maintain the support of its own population, is it either useful or moral for the US to prop it up?

Several decades ago, around the time of the Iranian revolution, when US embassies were closing around the ME, a single group of embassy diplomats kept their embassy open in Ridyah, while the French were whispering to the King to kick out the Americans and deal with them instead. Our continued presence saved our relationship with the Saudis, and cemented the economic/military partnership we currently have.
What are you on about? You don't need a relationship with the Saudi regime. They are murdering, theocratic bastards who don't give a toss about anybody. Leave them to the French: they'd probably get on like a house on fire - as the House of Saud probably will be.

If we were to rapididly leave the ME, the destabilization and negative public sentiment in the ME towards our actions could permanently damage important diplomatic relationships with SA and other significant regional players. We may find ourselves replaced with someone like France once again, or more likely perhaps, China.
What is there to recommend these "important diplomatic relationships with SA and other significant regional players"? Most of them are vile outfits who are only in power because the US supports their repressive rule in exchange for some intangible and unnecessary "geopolitical advantage". How does the rest of the world manage without? Whoever has the oil will sell it to whoever has the money. Let it go already. You don't need to get into bed with every two-bit gang of thugs to have influence or support your excessive consumption: you just need to put your hand in your pocket.

As amoral as much of our interests are in the ME, they are important priorities to the US, both as a large energy user and as geopolitical strategy. As such, it is important for the US to remain in the region and hopefully engage the Region to bring stability to the mess it has created.
(a) See above.
(b) Dream on.

This will need much larger troop levels, allowing for increased security and infrastructure rebuilding. This will take several years to accomplish, even in best case scenarios. A draft will be needed.
It ain't gonna happen. This is piling unreality upon unreality, which is just what the Mal-administration has been doing up till now.

By avoiding the obvious necessity of putting in another 100,000 troops, and treating everyone else so badly that they wouldn't contribute anything, Bush & Co have painted themselves, and us, and you, into a corner. There are no neat solutions now, where everybody can save face and walk away. The thing is already broken, and the best thing you - and we - can do is tell the world (in the form of the UN) that you can't hack it, and leave before we do any more damage. You did it in Vietnam, you can do it again. And let it serve as a lesson to all. Much better to suffer the trauma of a failure now than to allow any future administration to believe it can get away with this kind of gangsterism again.
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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Well, fine Skunk.

Look I am not privy to the compexities of geopolitics, only to an opinion. Some say the US has a responsibility to exercise it's power as a powerful nation, and while my personal opinion is not yet decided on the viability of such a policy, I must say that our influence is often more benign than others who might choose to take our place.

I am somewhat perturbed of your moral stance on supporting reprehensibe regimes, as the US is hardly the only one engaging in such behavior, and the reasons so many do must at least be looked at, if only for their ubiquity. It is true that the Saudi Regime, and many others are certainly despotic in nature, but as Iraq has shown, the destabilization of such regimes can make an even more catastrophic scenario.

Look, we are in agreement that the US, through pursuance of a neoconservative ideology in foreign policy, which fails to take into account reality, have created a horrible mess. At this point, however, I do feel that the US needs to up troop levels and try to create a modicum of stability.

Is this wishful thinking, in both the chance it will happen and that it will help? Could be. Nevertheless, what do you think would come out of a withdrawl? Unlike Vietnam, there is no Communism to come in and fill the vacuum.

It is a difficult situation, with no easy answers. Your seemingly inflexible moral stance, while laudatory, hardly addresses any pragmatic solution.

The US has not yet had to negotiate it's fall from pre-eminent power, something the UK was able to do with an uncommon grace and wisdom, in part brought upon by circumstance and the ascension of the US.

Once upon a time, the UK created much of the lingering problems in the ME, by allowing the creation of Iraq by the likes of Gertrude Bell, the splitting up of Greater Syria and the creation of Lebanon, all in part rewards to the leaders of the Arab Revolt against the Sultanate. You guys also promised Palestine twice over to the Jews and the Palestinians, and failed to honor an agreement for an independent Kurdistan promised post WWI.

So might you get off your high-horse a little bit, and entertain a discussion about solutions to problems that you guys created and we merely exarcerbated, huh? Unfortunately, their is no clear-cut solution out there that does not involve repugnant components. Just do level criticism at the US for doing what the UK did a Century ago for the same reasons, is not enough.

I am the last person to apologize for the insanely inept handling of the situation in Iraq by the US by Bush, but now that it has been done, I am honestly looking at what I feel to be the best option for mitigating the mess. I certainly don't have all the answers, but would be interested in what you might have in mind and why.

BTW, nice avatar there Mate...
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
First of all, I know that we share many opinions on Iraq and Bush. I'm not having a go at you or your politics, and I'm not trying to blame the US alone for something that both our nations (in your case, I suppose, both your nations!) are historically responsible for: I just think that it's time to face a few unpalatable realities.

blackfox said:
Some say the US has a responsibility to exercise it's power as a powerful nation, and while my personal opinion is not yet decided on the viability of such a policy, I must say that our influence is often more benign than others who might choose to take our place.
The US has a responsibility to exercise power responsibly, which may in some circumstances mean not exercising its power at all. The benignity of US power over the last several decades is certainly open to question.

I am somewhat perturbed of your moral stance on supporting reprehensible regimes, as the US is hardly the only one engaging in such behavior, and the reasons so many do must at least be looked at, if only for their ubiquity. It is true that the Saudi Regime, and many others are certainly despotic in nature, but as Iraq has shown, the destabilization of such regimes can make an even more catastrophic scenario.
How do we know? There is a strong whiff of control-freakery about these unsavoury alliances, which merely serve to defer the inevitable explosion, not avert it. Meanwhile, repression, hatred and further outrages make the situation ever less tenable.

Look, we are in agreement that the US, through pursuance of a neoconservative ideology in foreign policy, which fails to take into account reality, have created a horrible mess. At this point, however, I do feel that the US needs to up troop levels and try to create a modicum of stability.
Perhaps the only way out is to institute the draft, increase troop levels dramatically, say by 150,000 men, so that at least you/we - yes, I know our damned fool of a PM has dragged us into it too - can provide the security which is (y)our obligation to provide under the GC or any other criterion of international justice. But this promised election is not likely going to provide an exit point either: I believe we have to say: "OK, we have the manpower in place, we have six months to stabilize the country, hold elections, in whatever form is possible, and then immediately hand over control without preconditions to the newly-constituted government. And in future we'll work with the UN to resolve international problems. And we're really sorry." And then get the f**k out.

Nevertheless, what do you think would come out of a withdrawl?
Who knows? A withdrawal (your version sounds too slow and languorous ;) ) would leave a state in danger of partition, for sure. That's tough, but so what? Any other route, and we continue to own the problem for the foreseeable future, to nobody's long-term benefit. I don't believe your economy could stand it, nor ours. It's not like war ever produces anything for the investment.

It is a difficult situation, with no easy answers.
You're damned right there. Actually, we all are....

Your seemingly inflexible moral stance, while laudatory, hardly addresses any pragmatic solution.
I know, I know. (Actually it's more laudable, I hope, than laudatory)

The US has not yet had to negotiate it's fall from pre-eminent power, something the UK was able to do with an uncommon grace and wisdom, in part brought upon by circumstance and the ascension of the US.
Now might be a good time to start practising. It took us a while - and a couple of World Wars. May your decline be less costly.

Once upon a time, the UK created much of the lingering problems in the ME, by allowing the creation of Iraq by the likes of Gertrude Bell, the splitting up of Greater Syria and the creation of Lebanon, all in part rewards to the leaders of the Arab Revolt against the Sultanate. You guys also promised Palestine twice over to the Jews and the Palestinians, and failed to honor an agreement for an independent Kurdistan promised post WWI.

So might you get off your high-horse a little bit, and entertain a discussion about solutions to problems that you guys created and we merely exarcerbated, huh?
Yup. But that chapter of history has been written: no chance to rewrite it now. You had an object-lesson from the masters, but would you listen? Would you ****!

I am the last person to apologize for the insanely inept handling of the situation in Iraq by the US by Bush, but now that it has been done, I am honestly looking at what I feel to be the best option for mitigating the mess. I certainly don't have all the answers, but would be interested in what you might have in mind and why. :(
Have I made myself any clearer? Probably not, but I feel that far too much wishful thinking, lies, violence and distortion have been applied to date. We should all be REALLY ANGRY, and show it. A responsible and thoughtful foreign policy would have avoided this situation, and it won't end until the goons who led us to this pass have paid the political price for their wretched machinations. It's time to ditch the assumption that, whatever happens, it's best that it happens on our terms.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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I think so. For one thing, most alliances are "unsavory" on some level. They are born of common interests, whatever they may be -- geopolitical, philosophical, economic, and just plain pragmatic. The binary approach to these matters that you seem to be suggesting is not much less likely to lead to military results than the confrontational approach being pursued by our governments presently. And ironically, on a basic level both are similar, as they assume the possession of ultimate moral rightness.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
IJ Reilly said:
I think so. For one thing, most alliances are "unsavory" on some level.
Whew! That's quite a broad brush you're using there, IJ!

They are born of common interests, whatever they may be -- geopolitical, philosophical, economic, and just plain pragmatic.
But are they really? I certainly hope we don't share a philosophical interest with Saudi Arabia. The economic interest is just money: you don't have to get into bed with them to buy their oil. It's clearly not very pragmatic. And geopolitics is so twentieth century: it's only of importance to power-freaks and empire-builders.

The binary approach to these matters that you seem to be suggesting is not much less likely to lead to military results than the confrontational approach being pursued by our governments presently.
Probably not. C'est la vie.

And ironically, on a basic level both are similar, as they assume the possession of ultimate moral rightness.
Possession by whom? I'm saying that we should stop thinking everything would be fine if only everybody thought like us. I mean, look at us!

(It's past 3am here now. I'll be back on the case in the morning. 'Night all!)