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Forward Observer Chief of Staff: U.S. Army at 33% Readiness

Discussion in '3 Percent' started by melbo, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    In a speech last week, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said that budget cuts were negatively affecting unit readiness in addition to downsizing the Army to historically low numbers.

    “Right now, we are at 33 percent readiness,” Gen. Odierno said. “What keeps me up at night more than anything else is that I might get a mission to send some of our soldiers and we haven’t properly trained them or given them the right equipment to do their job.” Now at less than half the desired level of readiness, the U.S. Army should be maintaining 70 percent readiness, he said.

    Since Gen. Odierno became the U.S. Army Chief of Staff three years ago, the Army has shed 80,000 troops, with another 40,000 likely to be dropped through attrition.

    “It’s incumbent on all of us to understand that further reductions simply will put us into a place we simply cannot go,” he said earlier this month. In 2016, when budget cuts come into full effect, “modernization would come to a standstill, training would go unfunded, and readiness rates, both unit and individual, would fall to very low levels.”

    Meanwhile in a speech on Monday, U.S. Marine Corps commandant General Joseph Dunford expressed deep concern with Corps-wide unit readiness, stating that the current status of non-commissioned officers “does not meet our force structure requirements.” And considering the rate of future budget cuts, the Marine Corps is more likely to be fighting the effects of fewer dollars than anything else.

    “We’re probably going to change the demographics of the Corps,” Gen. Dunford said. Of the 190,000 Marines currently serving, 40% of them are ranked E-3 (lance corporal) or below, making the Corps more bottom-heavy than desired. To further expound those problems, 60% of Marines are still in their first enlistment, in other words having fewer than four years in service.

    NCO retention has been a problem, said Dunford in a speech in January. As further budget cuts loom in 2016, dwell time will become shorter, further straining an already tight NCO corps. About 31,000 Marines are currently forward deployed, 22,000 of them in the Asia-Pacific region. Dunford said dwell time now is 14 months in home garrison for every seven months deployed. After 2016, when the full effects of budget cuts are felt, Marines would see a 1:1 dwell time. Dunford is concerned that it will further negatively affect NCO retention and expand leadership and experience gaps.

    (Analyst Comment: First, understand that this drawdown is a repeat of what occurred after World War I, and then again after World War II, and then again after the Korean War, and then again after the Vietnam War, and then again after the Gulf War (see chart below). This is the ebb and flow of military spending, however, this trend accompanied additional information suggests that another major war may be within the next five or ten years. Instability around the globe has never been higher. There are several flash points that could trigger world wars, and we have certainly resumed a continuation of the Cold War with Soviet-esque Russia under the leadership of president Vladmir Putin. If faced with another large scale conflict within the next five years, the future largely hinges on who wins the general election in 2016. If an isolationist or non-interventionist or even weak president is elected, then we will continue to see the manipulation of political landscapes in Eastern Bloc nations and former Soviet satellite states. And we wouldn’t just be limited to conventional war – cyber war would likely would likely be a factor potentially targeting civilian and financial infrastructure. If a hardline, pro-military warhawk president is elected, then the possibility of a draft is certainly not out of the question. That likelihood would further depend on the size and scope of the conflict; i.e. peacekeeping operations versus a world war. But never has there been a time in this nation that’s so dangerous for geopolitical power structures; never has there been a time when power and money in the hands of so few have ruled national and foreign policy; never has there been a time where nuclear weapons or technological advances in the hands of regional powers created such a disparate imbalance in measures of force required to keep the peace. Foreign governments are taking note of a weakened state of military readiness, even if Americans aren’t.)

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  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I was happy to leave back in late 2009, and I wasn't alone. Close to 80% of the entire battalion changed duty stations or separated entirely. The fact of the matter is, constant deployment takes its toll. Single soldiers may not be as strongly affected by the current formula of always fighting in war, but a soldier with a family tends to become quite upset. I think mostly, the fact that proper schooling isn't available becomes a drawback -NCO schools and everything else takes a back seat and are put on hold when on readiness status. Not a single NCO soldier in my task force group could even be promoted during their entire enlistment (3 years) because of one deployment. We had about 1 and 1/2 years of readiness and the equal amount deployed -that's zero opportunity for an NCO to receive schooling and advanced training needed to climb the ladder. Nobody wants that.

    On the other hand, our republic is clearly defined as maintaining a standing Navy, but not a standing Army...perhaps it is what it is.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  3. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Obummer is doing/has done pretty much what Carter did. I would like to think we will get a reincarnated R Reagan after Bummer to help correct this mess-but I ain't holdin my breath:(
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