2 more divisions needed for the Army?

I was reading this article on Fox’s web site and thought it might be an interesting debate. Appearently Kerry feels that the army needs to be expanded by 2 additional divisions (as well as a doubling of Special Forces), while Bush is saying that re-organization of our existing force structure should be enough.

So, what do you think? Expand the military or re-organize? I have to say I find it ironic this seeming reversal of positions by the two candidates. I wonder what, if any, effect this will have on the two candidates core voters. :smiley:


The Army says Nein!

Let the Army continue with its reorganization; The new ‘Medium Brigade’ concept is working pretty damned well (far better than I predicted back in the day), and as more troops are moved from non-combatant to combatant jobs, we’ll get our ‘extra’ troops. Hey, it doesn’t matter how big the army is overall; It’s important how many troops we can get to where we need them. Reorganization is a better way of doing that, for now.

Once the anschluss with Canada occurs, we’ll probably need even more troops for garrison duty, but for the time being, I think we are better served by modernization than by expanding the ranks the old fashioned way.

General Schoomaker is quite obviously using the Administration’s talking points. To wit, “Gen. Peter Schoomaker told the House Armed Services Committee today that an unfunded end-strength increase “puts readiness at risk, it puts training at risk, it puts modernization at risk, it puts transformation at risk - and that’s why I’m resisting it.”” Well, no kidding, Sherlock. Of course we should pay for increasing the size of the military.

The great irony is that the Administration has been, and continues to, increase the size of the Army without paying for it. Yes, the White House and the Army Chief of Staff are, indeed, talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Forgive me for the agonizing details, but here’s the scoop. Congress sets the annual endstrength for all military services each year. Right now, it’s 482,400 for the Army. However, in 2001, shortly after the 9-11 attacks, Congress basically told the President, “Forget the law. You can have more troops, provided that you really think it’s an emergency.” Right now, endstrength is somewhere around 12,000 above what is authorized by law.

So, Rumsfeld has drawn up plans using this flexible authority, to grow the Army above its authorized endstrength by 30,000 over the next four years.

What Kerry is saying is, yeah, that’s the right idea, but if we know we’re going to need that many troops, let’s just change the law to provide that many troops.

The White House basically counters, Aaack! If we change the law to have that many soldiers, then we have to budget out the costs of paying for those 30,000 troops… and we can get by just fine if we simply ask for more money each year for emergency military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, er, we don’t think those extra troops will be needed in four years… that’s why we only want to temporarily increase the endstrength.

So Kerry, McCain, Hagel, and others have basically said, Well, fine. We think we need that many troops, so we’re going to change the law. They offered an amendment this year to expand the Army, which was overwhelmingly approved in the Senate.

So then Gen. Schoomaker is asked a narrow question: should the lawful size of the Army increase if the Administration doesn’t want to budget for it? Reference the press release Brutus linked to, and Schoomaker’s answer is, of course, no.

Kerry, McCain, Hagel, and others are on the right track. The White House is really only trying to hide the cost of these extra troops. I have no idea what its motivation is for doing so, but it’s a stupid policy. Even an idiot knows that the US needs more troops, and even a dunce knows that we should budget for them.

Expand the army. Here’s the problem: Yes, our small, modern, efficient army can spank most foes on the battlefield.

But, sadly, 99% of our troops’ time these days is not spent on traditional battlefields. It’s spent on police and security work.

The Bush-era army was designed to win battles and avoid “nation-building” schemes, which everyone on his team, pre-9/11, thought was a bad idea. But now we’re mainly involved in nation-building and heavy-duty SWAT work. We need more people on the beat, period.

And fewer reservists and N.G. soldiers on permanent “temporary duty.” Call me crazy, but I think the National Guard should be there to defend our nation (i.e., here), not someone else’s nation. Send the regular army to do that as needed.

Well troop withdrawls from Europe and Asia should help… so strictly speaking I don’t think new divisions should be added. Especially once Iraq is given up or US troops withdraw for whatever reason.

I do suspect that troop withdrawls might just be a way to make possible new invasions… but not too sure.

From the DefenseLINK article:

If you tried to sound more insulting, you could. But you’d have to try hard.

Permanently expanding the army before reorganization is complete would be a waste of resources. Let the Army transition to the new ‘Units of Action’ model, and then see where we are at. And as Rashak, we are going to be seeing a ‘influx’ of troops soon from the global redeployments which will soon begin. We still retain large amounts of reserves to cover gaps until that time.

Regardless, since it would take a year or two to raise a pair of divisions from scratch, does Kerry still think we will need them then?

Well, that isn’t really true. The ‘Stryker Brigade Combat Teams’ are far more suited to the sort of things we are doing now in Iraq than are more-traditional mechanized or amored brigades. We have one over there right now, and it is doing a bang-up job.

I have to ask - where are those 40,000 troops going to come from? Has the U.S. Army been turning down 40,000 volunteers a year? I haven’t heard of a spike in the desire to enlist. The Army can say it wants to expand as much as it wants, but it’s demographics that will determine actual numbers. I have a feeling that right now, anyone who wants to be in the U.S. military already is.

The armed forces can always find ways to expand. Simply offer higher enlistment/re-enlistment bonus’s, perhaps pay incentives (though I doubt you would need to do this), expand recruitment marketing (especially to high schools), and expand the amount of billets available to recruiters and you will get more warm bodies in. We could easily double the size of our military (if warm bodies were the only issue).


Quite possibly. They could easily loosen a few of the requirements and get more people.

I don’t know about a “spike,” but most of the hard statistics I’ve seen indicate that the number of volunteers is still been higher than pre-9/11. I’d expect that to hold steady for as long as a significant percentage of young people support in the US’ current policies (noble patriots or misguided youths, your call); and as a rule the young are the most likely to support war.

OK, let’s see: reorganization would involve changing around the structure within the Army itself to go from 33 maneuver brigades to about 40. That is about the equivalent of adding two current-type light divisions. And yes, the reorganization should be completed before expansion is considered, because then you’d have to also reorganize the 2 extra divs. I can go along with that. And Stryker Brigades are a good mix for these oddball conflicts we’re getting into.

However, some of the “ways and means” mentioned to accomplish this do worry me, such as handing over some support roles to civilian contractors. Sure this frees up soldiers for actual combat-arms formations… but I get the feeling that those civilians are going to cost us a pretty penny; and you can’t command civilians to march into near-certain death – which, considering the fluidity of fronts, may not be so unlikely. And more SOC forces are a good idea that you may not be able to get by mere reshuffling. There’s also the issue of the relative unit mix of Guard/Reserve vs. Regular (as in, if what you need for long-term occupations is MPs, should we not have more Regular MP units?) And it may yet come to be, that the post-reorg Army may then want to have a little more “depth” if only in case of a situation where you’re prepared to fight “1 and a half wars” and suddenly you have two whole ones, because that “half” war refuses to go away

Also, of course they oppose an unfunded expansion. Who the hell would support an unfunded expansion?

Me, I was skeptical when Bush-I started the fire-sale cashing-in of the post-Cold-War “Peace Dividend” just after Desert Storm and we went from 16 to 10 divisions. However, OTOH I can see how retaining more nominal commands for their own sake would involve a high risk of going back to the “hollow Army” of the late 70s. Our 10 Regular divisions may not be at full-strength with units of Regulars alone, they need Guards/Reserves to be at fighting strength, but even in the middle of the Reagan build-up, you had divisions where a whole third of their nominal fighting force was Guard.

All in all, this one looks like it has pros and cons on both sides.

“Soon” ? :slight_smile: More like 2006 from what I read. Just in time for another silly invasion of some other ME country…

After reading the book on John Boyd recently I am very skeptical of the pentagon and the armed forces managing to change anything. These “action models” are for real ? hmmm

It is a war. War is a waste of resources. The only resource I am concerned about is blood.

The Army is wrong. The professionals are often wrong. Congress is right. Amateurs are right more often than you would think.

Well, ‘soon’ is relative, I suppose. We’ll start seeing troops coming back home at roughly the same time we would see Kerry’s new divisions raised, if not sooner. Shrug

Besides, maybe by 2006 GW will develop a taste for churrascaria instead of oil?.. :wink:

You’ll notice that our armed forces have pretty successfully managed quite a few changes in the past century. It’s always a messy process, but I have faith that the end result will be great.

The ‘Units of Action’ (which quite a few people in the Army think is a stupid name, and will probably get changed.)

I don’t have much esteem in Schoomaker, I’ll gladly admit. In my view, he was brought back from retirement to be the Army CoS for the same reason that John Snow was chosen to be the new Treasury Secretary: the last guy said what he thought, and the Administration wanted someone who would tow the White House line and not a single thing besides.

Temporary or not, there is a national security imperative to have more troops in the field soon. The White House has made a terrible mistake: it has relied on the Reserves, the National Guard, and a stop-loss policy to provide those troops. That brain-dead reliance on manpower that either have civilian careers that they’re missing or on folks who would prefer to leave the service just isn’t a good move. We need more recruits, not more involuntary calls to duty. (I do not mean to disparage the Reserve Component nor the Total Force; I just disagree with a military policy that is completely reliant on reserve manpower.)

This rosy scenario about the need for additional soldiers disappearing in four to five years is just plain misleading. It basically implies that we will be completely out of Iraq by that point, which, regardless of my druthers, is a questionable proposition. It’s the same kind of shallow, uncritical thinking that completely blocked out any possibilty of a worst-case scenario; in the same way that, in the runup to this war in Iraq, the Adminsitration failed to disspell the notion that it would be Desert Storm II: six weeks of fighting and then come the victory parades.

Yeah… so we move retain some accountants to riflemen, and then five years later, we assess where we are, and possibly make a decision that will take another five years to fully implement. I can’t figure out why so many hawks are so reluctant about increasing the size of the military in light of (a) overwhelming overseas missions and (b) a global war on terrorism that will last for the foreseeable future.

It will take about five years, maybe four. Roughly three or so to train and equip the first division, a little less for the second.

[quote}Well, ‘soon’ is relative, I suppose. We’ll start seeing troops coming back home at roughly the same time we would see Kerry’s new divisions raised, if not sooner. [/quote]
Bringing soldiers back from Germany doesn’t increase the Army’s capabilities. It just means that they have to sit on an airplane longer before arriving in Iraq.

The dude is a snake-eater. Just the sort of guy I would think that we want to command during the transition. Of course, if you have some evidence that he is just there to toe the line…

Well that is really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Our armed forces cannot deploy, as organized, in significant numbers for sustained periods of time without Reservists. (Guardsmen, whatever.) If you don’t think that reservists should be used, we are going to need a helluva lot more than only 40,000 troops. We have 161,646 activated reservists right now.

Not hardly. 3ID and 101AD are undergoing ‘UA’ tranisition now; 3ID is slated to go to Iraq in 2005. We’ll know sooner than 5 years from now how things are going and what efficiencies can be realized from the new organization.

We have some 120,000 troops in EUCOM. Of those, about 70,000 are slated for redeployment and job reassignment.

I am open to the possibility that at some point, we need to increase the size of our Army (and decrease the size of the reserves.) But the new organizational doctrine will act as a sort of ‘army-wide comb out’. Add that to the international redeployments, and give it a some time, and then we can see what our actual needs are.

Bush has given us another million people in poverty. Surely we can find 40,000 of them – a measly 4% – desperate enough to enlist.

There is historical precident to this. Britain couldn’t have its 19th century Empire if the Industrial Revolution hadn’t created such a vast underclass. Still, we’re talking about different levels of poverty here.

The thing is, now that new recruits are almost certain to see combat, and more important, now that they know that they can be called back to serve indefinitely, I don’t think all that many will be eager to recruit who haven’t already done so. The prospect of being taken away from your life years after your discharge has got to discourage some potentials. Additionally, while I don’t know that much about recruiters, but my imprssion is that they’re a type of salesman. I find it hard to imagine that many young people will make such an important decision as joining the military based on a hard sell, and even if they do - are those the type of people the military actually wants?

Somehow Rumsfeld found that there was not a single 3- or 4-star general in Army green that could be chief of staff. He turns to a retired general with whom he’s had a continuting relationship, and is nominated specifically because he sees eye to eye with Rumsfeld on transformation. (As if Shinseki were not serious about transformation… perhaps just not Rumsfeld’s transformation?)

Yes. “As organized.” I happen to think that we should have a military strategy more based around using allies for the support functions typically served by Reservists, that more combat support and service support should be moved into the Active forces (as is being done), and that RC combat units should only be called up when the s— really hits the fan, not for peacekeeping or anti-insurgency operations. I also think that there might be a damn good case for expanding the RC, but nobody seems to be talking about that now. After the Balkans and three years of the war on terrorism, I think they’ve been called on for too many deployments, and there’s too many coming down the pike, too.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will take three years to organize 32,000 soldiers into a new light division and hire the civilians necessary to replace those billets. Cite. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll also see that CBO estimated that creating a second new division would take five years (see around footnote 26). Obviously, the Administration hasn’t really been putting these timetables out there. But if you have some opposing cites that estimate a quicker transition, I’d love to see them. For now, I’ll stand by my statement.

What you seem to be saying, Brutus, is that our Army doesn’t need any more troops. Rumsfeld disagrees with you, and plans to add 30,000 more without budgeting for them.

For the life of me, I still can’t understand why so many hawks are opposed to increasing the end-strength of the Army in a fiscally responsible way. That’s what Kerry, McCain, Hagel and others are trying to do. Why is that so unreasonable?

Hey, it happened once before. I certainly don’t the dossiers of all the qualified candidates for the job, so I can’t say is Schoomaker is more or less qualified than other candidates; But he certainly seems qualified, glancing at his career.

That would be quite a trick. Hey, maybe some of them could start by picking up our duties over in Kosovo…(Nudge nudge, France, Germany, and Belgium. They have such fine armies; Why not deploy them?)

Nice cite. It estimates that between 32,000 and 65,000 military positions could be transitioned to civilian positions. As far as the timeline goes, I’ll accept the 3-year figure for raising a new division. But how does tacking on two divisions’ worth of recruits, rather than transitioning ‘civilianable’ jobs, save time? Either way, it’s roughly three years, if the desired end result is a new division, right?

Well, I am saying that the Army doesn’t need a permanent increase in troops stregnth. I recognize that current deployments are stressing the system; But under our current doctrine, the way to deal with that is to call up reserves. But wait!, you say…No, I also recognize that calling up reserves is no way to do business for protractred periods of time. But if we want to maintain current deployments indefinitely, without touching the reserves, the only solution is to add roughly 160,000 thousand troops to the list, not 40,000. No easy solution.

But I also don’t think that we are looking at an actual long-term problem. The next rotation of forces in Iraq will see our troop level there drop by about 10,000. Other efficiencies will be gained through the pullback of troops from abroad, coupled with putting more troops in combat jobs. We are over the hump, as it were. IMO, of course.

I am not dead-set against temporary, or even permanent, troop-level increases, as the need for either shows itself. Thing is, I don’t see a need for a permanent increase in troop levels. Not yet, in any case.

For American imperialism to have any remote chance of working would mean the expansion of just the army by many more than two miserable divisions. Hollywood and Mac’s are not enough.
You are not up to it. Admit it! It is too much of a contradiction to work. You already suck up too much of everything anyways. Just go back to the Monroe doctrine, please!