Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The United States should increase the size of the Army

Why you're right:

1. The Army is so overburdened that much of it is not combat-ready. According to a senior army official, "four Army divisions -- 40 percent of the active-duty force -- will not be fully combat-ready for up to six months" of 2004, as they recoup from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Washington Post)

2. The Army is now unable to respond to emerging threats. North Korea, for example, is continuing to aggressively build its military capability. If there was a situation that required intervention, the United States would "only be able to respond to an emergency in North Korea with air and naval power or nuclear weapons." Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey thinks this is an "unacceptable...strategic risk." (Washington Post)

3. The Army is forced to extend the length of troop deployments, hurting morale. In April, the Army "broke a promise to some active-duty units, including the 1st Armored Division, that they would not have to serve more than 12 months in Iraq." (AP)

4. The Army is forced to rely on untrained troops. Just to meet its current obligations, the military has been forced to call up 5600 individual reservists who "do not perform regularly scheduled training." (AP)

Why they're wrong:

Some might suggest that, instead of increasing the size of the Army, the United States should simply stop fighting wars of choice. The problem with the argument is that we need to base our policy now on the world as it is, not as it should be. We are in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and there are emerging threats around the world. We have an obligation to those enlisted now to make sure that the Army is big enough to met our responsibilities without overtaxing individual soldiers.