RUMMY SPEAKS OUT
Donald Rumsfeld is interviewed in the new Time about troop strength and other issues. The article, at least the online version, is presented as a series of quote excerpts. Among the more notable:
It takes time to hire people and recruit them and train them and get value out of them. The personnel experts say it would be probably a couple of years. There’s no quick fix. We feel an obligation before recommending an increase in end strength to be respectful of the taxpayers and make darn sure that when we do it and commit to that long-term cost, we’re right.
This is obvious to anyone who knows anything about the military; which apparently excludes virtually the entire press corps.
Some decades back, they made a conscious decision to put into the reserves–and almost only the reserves–certain skill sets so that if the country was ever tempted to do something militarily, they’d have to call the reserves, which means that it would have to be supported broadly. The problem with that is, it turns out that those skill sets are the ones we keep calling up, and they happen to be the ones that are badly needed in the world we’re living in–civil affairs and the like, military police. All the services are currently coming up with proposals as to what skills they think ought to be on active duty so that we don’t have to be so disrespectful of the circumstances of the reservists that we call them up every year.
This is exactly right, albeit belated. I was writing about this problem as a lowly grad student over a decade ago and certainly wasn’t the only one noticing it. That we haven’t made any progress in fixing it is just shameful.