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Army 'Struggling' for Flexible Forces

The Army is "struggling" during this Quadrennial Defense Review to find the right force sizing model, the head of the Army's QDR effort, Maj. Gen. Robert Lennox, said during an interview today.

Lennox provided a few specifics during an hour-long interview about the service's QDR efforts. He did outline basic parameters of the kind of Army force that might come into force by 2016. It would be designed to handle homeland defense, deter others, fight and win today's wars, and provide security assistance. But, while Lennox averred that the service doesn't face any outright fiscal constraints as it does the QDR analysis and crafts its recommendations he conceded that the service doesn’t have an open checkbook to build the force that has the right balance.

I asked him about the call by the Army Chief of Staff to scrap the two major combat operations construct. As the largest force with the widest array of missions, this has always affected the Army more than the other services. It has been a key determinant in the past of just how large the Army needs to be and where it should be located.

Lennox, instead of addressing the MCO question, steered us back to the issue of balance, mentioning Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ now famous Foreign Affairs article. The service must strive to create an institutional ability to be flexible. Key to this would be training, the ability to reshape a brigade through cultural, language and other training specific to its mission. The model to avoid, he said, would be the highly specialized approach that shaped the Army during the Cold War to field the finest force available to master the Fulda Gap.

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