UPSIZING THE ARMY?

Joseph Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers Once–And Young, joins the chorus of those calling for an increase in the size of the Army.

The Army has 368,900 soldiers deployed overseas in 120 countries — 215,000 of them unaccompanied by their families. Besides the 167,000 based in Iraq and Kuwait, there are 31,460 in South Korea; 9,600 in Afghanistan; 5,100 in Kosovo and Bosnia; 1,550 in Guantanamo; and 1,151 in the Philippines.

The Army couldn’t manage that level of manning except for the 136,000 Army Reservists and Army National Guard troops already on active duty and counted in the 368,900.

Particularly interesting is the drain on the Reserve Component, which I agree is unsustainable:

So it is not only the active-duty Army that is stretched dangerously thin. Count in there the folks who signed up for one weekend a month and two weeks of summer training and now find themselves federalized for a year or more.

They leave behind families, jobs, businesses, careers. Their departure strips towns and cities of many of their best police and fire department officers. When re-enlistment time rolls around, many may find that being full-time soldiers costs way too much.

Ideally, this problem would be solved by an international division of labor, with the US and other 4th Generation militaries doing the heavy lifting in combat operations and then delegating constabulary duties to others. In a perfect world, Liberia would be handled mainly by neighboring countries in Africa and Iraq by Egypt and other Arab countries. , This is unlikely in the short run, however. Of course, as I noted recently, there is no quick solution to up-sizing the force, either.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.