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New Conflict Would Strain Army

The Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said the Army, stretched by eight years of war in two distant theaters, would find it difficult to cope with another conflict such as Korea.

Casey said in remarks at the Brookings Institution today that the Army would have to "freeze" forces in Iraq should fighting break out in another theater and could manage an "80 percent solution" to such a threat. He said that would rise to about 90 percent "when Iraq draws down."

Casey also said he is "a little disappointed" that some lessons learned in Iraq are not being speedily implemented in the Afghan theater.

"I'm a little disappointed" that some lessons learned in Iraq were not speedily applied in Afghanistan. I asked Casey after his speech what had disappointed him and he pointed to the size of the training mission for the Afghan national forces and the national police, which means we don't have the forces "organized to grow the Afghan National force and the national police at the rate they had to grow.

Casey also said that "intelligence fusion centers are just starting migrate" to Afghanistan. Such fusion centers played critical roles in Iraq, allowing U.S. forces to get inside the decision loop of insurgents and of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Casey did not blame anyone for these issues. He said some of the slow response is due to "constraints with putting people" into theater.

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