The day of the Iraq election has passed, but not the need for American troops there and elsewhere. Sheer numerial component of the Troop complements makes this difficult on both individual soldier and American Command. Here are quotes from several GAO reports on the Reserves problem:
The Department of Defense (DOD) currently cannot meet its global commitments without sizeable participation from among its 1.2 million National Guard and Reserve members. Since September 11, 2001, more than 335,000 of DOD's reserve component[Footnote 1] members have been involuntarily called to active duty--almost 234,000 from the Army, almost 56,000 from the Air Force, over 24,000 from the Marine Corps and over 21,000 from the Navy. Furthermore, thousands of reserve component members have volunteered for extended periods of active duty service
If DOD's implementation of the partial mobilization authority restricts the cumulative time that reserve component forces can be mobilized, then it is possible that DOD will run out of forces. Faced with critical shortages of some reserve component personnel, DOD considered a change in its implementation of the partial mobilization authority that would have expanded its pool of available personnel. Under such a revised implementation, DOD could have mobilized its reserve component forces for less than 24 consecutive months; sent them home for an unspecified period; and then remobilized them, repeating this cycle indefinitely and providing an essentially unlimited flow of forces.
DOD has sometimes implemented stop-loss policies, which are short-term measures that increase the availability of reserve component forces by retaining both active and reserve component members on active duty beyond the end of their obligated service
There are already indications that some portions of the force are being stressed. For example, the Army National Guard failed to meet its recruiting goal during 14 of 20 months from October 2002 through May 2004, and ended fiscal year 2003 approximately 7,800 soldiers below its recruiting goal.
There has been no real publication of Partial Mobilization changes, but National Guard and Reserves are going back for a second trip to scenic Iraq. Here is where it gets surreal:
some measures taken to meet short-term requirements have degraded the readiness of nondeployed units, particularly in the Army National Guard. To deploy ready units for overseas missions, the Army National Guard has had to transfer equipment and personnel from nondeploying units. Between September 11, 2001, and July 2004, the Army National Guard had performed over 74,000 personnel transfers. Similarly, as of May 2004, the Army National Guard had transferred over 35,000 equipment items to prepare deploying units, leaving nondeployed Army National Guard units short one-third of the critical equipment they need for war.
the Army is still structured and funded according to a resourcing plan that does not provide Guard units all the personnel and equipment they need to deploy in wartime, so the Army National Guard will be challenged to continue to provide ready units for operations expected in the next 3 to 5 years.
It does not specifically cite loss and machine wear in National Guard equipment, which would lead to another one-third loss of National Guard readiness. Absence of a Draft without change of Presidential policy predicts a third or even a fourth trip to Iraq, while Regulars, Reserves, and National Guard are extended beyond their enlistments. The IRR will lose Manpower because active Military will use up their military obligation on active duty. This remains particularly galling in the face of the fact that a heavy percentage of the active Military will never see Iraq; they are too specialized for such service, and know every Trick to stay Stateside. Health issues with the Reserves have still not been resolved, and special Pay disbursements have not been relyed to Reserve Dependents in a timely fashion.
The Vietnam Vets thought they were abandoned, but they were not married, and could opt out after a year. Has George W. attended one military funeral yet? lgl