Saturday, March 19, 2005

Another Sign of the Draft: All-Volunteer Army About to Break

You know it's coming. Hell, we all know it's coming. What I'm interested in seeing is how this generation will react to a draft. What will all those people who swore up and down that there'd never be another draft do? It'll be interesting to watch..

Army vice chief of staff Cody worried about future of all-volunteer military

By Jon R. Anderson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Saturday, March 19, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Army’s vice chief of staff says he’s been losing sleep lately over the future of the all-volunteer force.

“What keeps me awake at night is what this all-volunteer force will look like in 2007,” Gen. Richard Cody told lawmakers recently on Capital Hill.

It’s a concern others should share, he says.

“I think it ought to keep all of you awake,” he told a gathering of reporters Wednesday.

Nearly 31 years since it replaced the draft Army of both world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the all-volunteer force is facing its first real test, Cody said. snip

“The all-volunteer force is close to breaking right now,” said retired Maj. Gen. Edward Atkeson, now a prolific author on military affairs and a senior fellow at the Institute of Land Warfare. “When it does break, that’s when you’ll see the draft come back.”

More at Stars and Stripes.

And on the heels of that, this lovely piece:

Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military
Heavy Demands Offset Combat Experience

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page A01

Two years after the United States launched a war in Iraq with a crushing display of power, a guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military and casting uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, according to senior military leaders, lawmakers and defense experts.

The unexpectedly heavy demands of sustained ground combat are depleting military manpower and gear faster than they can be fully replenished. Shortfalls in recruiting and backlogs in needed equipment are taking a toll, and growing numbers of units have been broken apart or taxed by repeated deployments, particularly in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

"What keeps me awake at night is, what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?" Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, said at a Senate hearing this week.

The Iraq war has also led to a drop in the overall readiness of U.S. ground forces to handle threats at home and abroad, forcing the Pentagon to accept new risks -- even as military planners prepare for a global anti-terrorism campaign that administration officials say could last for a generation.

Stretched by Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States lacks a sufficiently robust ability to put large numbers of "boots on the ground" in case of a major emergency elsewhere, such as the Korean Peninsula, in the view of some Republican and Democratic lawmakers and some military leaders.

They are skeptical of the Pentagon's ability to substitute air and naval power, and they believe strongly that what the country needs is a bigger Army. "The U.S. military will respond if there are vital threats, but will it respond with as many forces as it needs, with equipment that is in excellent condition? The answer is no," said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

To be sure, the military has also benefited from two years of war-zone rotations, and from a historical perspective it is holding up better than many analysts expected. U.S. troops are the most combat-hardened the nation has had for decades, and reenlistment levels have generally remained high. The war has also spurred technological innovation while providing momentum for a reorganization of a military that in many ways is still designed for the Cold War.

More at the Washington Post.

Posted by crimnos @ 9:54 PM