Nancy Pelosi ordinarily bugs the living hell out of me. Every time I see her botoxed face on TV, I cringe. But someone one her staff Congressmen Dave Obey and John Murtha have just put together an extremely smart and provacative report on the state of Army readiness. Take a read, and post your thoughts. Here's a snip:
In June of 2003, the Pentagons planners assumed that the U.S. would withdraw all of its combat brigades from Iraq roughly 20 months after the end of major combat operations. Those plans were revised in September of that year, and assumed a complete withdrawal about one year later than had previously been expected. Today, there are 16 U.S. combat brigades in Iraq (including 2 Marine Corps regiments), and there is little prospect that the deployment rate will decrease in the near future...The Army currently has 39 active-duty combat brigades, as it builds to a total of 42 under the restructuring plan known as modularity. Over the coming months, roughly 19.5 combat brigades will be committed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Army doctrine calls for 2 units to be held in reserve (for rest and training) for every unit deployed. As of today, the Army has only one unit in reserve for every unit deployed a ratio that history shows cannot be sustained for any length of time without serious adverse consequences to the force...Army military readiness rates have declined to levels not seen since the end of the Vietnam War. Roughly one-half of all Army units (deployed and non-deployed, active and reserves) received the lowest readiness rating any fully formed unit can receive. Prior to 9/11, only about 20 percent of the Army received this lowest rating a fact driven almost exclusively by shortfalls in the reserves...Of the 16 active-duty, non-deployed combat brigades in the United States managed by the Armys Forces Command, the vast majority of them are rated at the lowest readiness ratings. These ratings are caused by severe equipment shortages.Of particular concern is the readiness rates of the units scheduled to deploy later this year, particularly the 1st Cavalry Division. This division and its 4 brigades will deploy to Iraq in October at the lowest level of readiness because of equipment shortfalls. To meet its needs, this unit like virtually all other units that have recently deployed or will soon deploy to Iraq must fall-in on equipment in theater. Operating unfamiliar, battle weary equipment increases the potential for casualties and accidents...Funding shortfalls have created backlogs at all of the Armys key depot maintenance facilities. At Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, some 600 M1 tanks sit in disuse. At Red River Army Depot in Texas, 700 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and over 450 trucks have not been serviced. Roughly 2,600 Humvees are sitting idle at various Army depots. Tens of thousands of small arms, communications sets, and other key items have been similarly backlogged.UPDATE 7:18 PM: It should be noted that this assessment closely mirrors what the Army has been saying itself, again and again, in private meetings on Capitol Hill."There are no more troops to send to Iraq," Daniel Benjamin writes in Slate. "That is the unmistakable message of an Army briefing making the rounds in Washington. According to in-house assessments... not a single one of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams its core fighting units currently in the United States is ready to deploy. In short, the Army has no strategic reserve to speak of."