Ground Forces Sag Under Combat Load

Ground Forces Sag Under Combat Load

With the Army and Marines facing increasing readiness risks, it is critical that Congress pass the latest emergency supplemental spending bill by July 1, the Army’s vice chief of staff told the Senate Armed Services readiness and management support subcommittee today.

The Army needs the money in the supplemental by “payday 1 July,” Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff, said Wednesday. While that will be of interest to those who follow the money, the bigger story was the sobering assessment Chiarelli and Gen. James Amos, assistant commandant of the Marines, delivered about the readiness of America’s ground forces.

“We are consuming our readiness as soon as we get it,” Chiarelli told lawmakers.


If a hotspot such as North Korea exploded into combat or a major terrorist attack occurred, the Army and Marines would have a very difficult time responding. “I think it would be very difficult, challenging — I don’t think there is any question about it,” Amos said, adding that it would “emasculate all our strategic reserves.”

Both generals said the country’s ground forces can cope with the load they are bearing, but cautioned lawmakers that the organizations they help lead are showing serious strains.

For the Marines, the toll of the last seven years of combat is clear. Amos said the service has had to sacrifice its traditionally vaunted capabilities in combined arms operations and large-scale amphibious operations to be the excellent counterinsurgency force it has become.

Altogether, the Marines need $20 billion to recapitalize their forces, of which $12 billion is already forthcoming, Amos said… The stress of combat and the greatly increased use of air and ground equipment are beginning to affect the availability of “critical” equipment, he said.

For example, the Corps had had to pull 14 percent of the equipment needed for the 2nd MEB headed to Afghanistan from non-deployed units and 51 percent of the equipment for the brigade rolled right off of production lines to the Marines, not from inventory.

Marine aircraft “are flying at utilization rates far beyond those for which they were designed. We are nearly tripling the utilization rates of our workhorses – the F/A-18C and D; the KC-130 cargo and aerial refueling platform; our EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft; and even the new MV-22 Osprey,” Amos said in his prepared testimony. To keep deployed squadrons fully equipped the Corps has cut aircraft and parts to non-deployed squadrons. In all, the service is short 248 aircraft.

Sen. Richard Burr, the top Republican on the subcommittee, asked Amos about the effects of contractors on the Marines’ readiness. Amos said Honeywell provides 100 contractors who man the main logistics hub in Iraq’s Anbar Province who do triage on vehicles and other major systems. “They are critical to our combat support in Iraq,” Amos said, adding that contractors such as Honeywell will only grow in importance in Iraq as the number of Marines there declines. “If they are not there then Marines wearing cammies will have to do the job,” he said.

Part of the Army’s readiness current difficulties lie in the fact that it supports increasing numbers of soldiers — 10,000 — who cannot be deployed, Chiarelli said. And the force sees “increased numbers of soldiers struggling with substance abuse and mental or behavioral health issues, such as depression, post-traumatic stress, and other types of anxiety disorders, as well as an increase in the number of suicides across the force,” Chiarelli said in his prepared testimony.

On top of all that, the Army is still coping from the effects of the surge in Iraq, Chiarelli said. The last combat brigade won’t be out until June and the last combat support unit won’t be out of Iraq until September.

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Short aircraft?

Over 140 V-22s have now been delivered to the Marine Corps, so they now outnumber the CH-46Es still in service. The 10 they have used as airplanes operating from airbases in Iraq are now worn out and have been withdrawn. They dispatched a Navy ship (LHD) from Norfolk to retrieve them, since they couldn’t fly home. Ten V-22s were supposed to deploy aboard ship last November with the 26th MEU(SOC), but pre-deployment exercises prompted the Corps to cancel that idea at the last moment. Ten V-22 did deploy aboard ship with the 22nd MEU this month. There is no news on how they are performing, but note that the 22nd MEU is not a MEU(SOC) since it failed to demonstrate that it was (Special Operations Capable) during pre-deployment training. It was only the second MEU to fail such certification since the SOC concept began two decades ago.
Despite all the sales pitches earlier this year about how Marines and V-22 will dominate the battlefield in Afghanistan, it was learned last month that none will deploy with the 8000-man 2nd MEB. This means there are only 10 of 140 V-22s deployed overseas, whereas half the remaining CH-46s remain committed to units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Okinawa, and aboard ships. They throw out the “new” aircraft excuse for this, but the V-22 first flew in 1989 and went into production in 1999.

Welcome to the real world, President Obama.

This is what happens when you chase your tail. Iraq did nothing to us and was not a worry to us. But there was a profit for big oil which you made us pay cause of the way you voted. Bush dumped all the money in his friends laps and he spent the serplus and ran us in debt. I guess todays arm forces that say they are defending this country could ask the government to pay them 11 cents an hour like the troops in Nam. Or only keep the ones that don’t cry doing the job they signed for. One thing is for sure, this administration won’t fly a false flag so I’m sure we have nothing to worry about.

bambooviper, you forgot to blame the Jews. Surely they were involved somehow. You get bonus points for mis-spelling “surplus”, though.

Denying oil to China, a desire for a strategic repositioning from Saudi Arabia, and morons trying to shock and awe the world with the power of America have resulted in a massive Pyrrhic victory. And no it wasn’t “the Jews” it was fundamentalist Christians dancing to the Israeli orchestra. Another massive unintended side effect of the Bush regime.

BAMBOOVIPER, couldn’t have said it better myself. Kudos to you, Sir. All the big money programs that have been cut, that money will be spent on wat they need now. We must get this over with ASAP, since we have been at war since 9/11. Thanx Dubya&Co, you really did well-for YOURSELVES.

Yeah Thanx to Dubya & Co, we haven’t had another attack in seven years. That’s what happens when you take the fight to the enemy. For liberal idiots like you who think we live in a utopia, I know that’s hard for you to comprehend. But don’t worry the new strategy of dismarming and apoligizing to third world dictators is going to make everything better.

How can you left wingers say stuff like this, what do you do for a living? Our marines and soldiers do the most dangerous job in the world while fighting for your freedom and security which you don’t even appreciate. No wonder there are increased suicides and substance abuse cases. Our war heros come home to a bunch of democrats who hate us.

“bbitaliano81 April 23rd, 2009 at 10:03 am

Yeah Thanx to Dubya & Co, we haven’t had another attack in seven years. That’s what happens when you take the fight to the enemy.”

Your so quick to justify the bush era but lets face the facts for a minute.…attack on 9/11; Saddam Hussein wasn’t responsible remember; so Bush started a war on the premise he would bring “Bin Laden” his old oil buddy to justice for 9/11 and what happened? We catch Saddam instead, give him back to his people and they hang him; bush&co. get filthy rich and Americans suffer, democrats and republicans alike, and for those in washington who don’t like Obama and what he is doing, I say to hell with ya; ’cause obviously your priorities are screwed and your agenda is all about your own wallet, which need not be said is FAT to begin with…great job, really!!!

let’s get real… We the people the people who this country was found by and for have dropped the ball. Way to many of us piss an moan but don’t show up to vote and MAKE this Great Country be all it could be. We’ve let the rich and unjust ruin our country by letting them get into and stay in office when we know most only care about themselves. The ones we think are on our side find out when they get in office that it’s easier to go with the flow and get what they can and to hell with right or wrong.

Bamboo is right we should have reacted to Sept 11 just like Clinton did. He did absolutely nothing. Bush was an idiot but he did what Clinton should have done.

BTW BAMBOO Nams been over a long time now. Time for you to get over it and realize the Dems sold you out both there and back home. Now Pelosi, Clinto and berry are selling out our soldiers. Nothings changed. Rich Democrats get richer and Dem Politicians stay in power.

The ground combat forces have been gutted since the “end” of the Cold War. The waste and fraud perpetrated against the Defense Department has eaten up needed funds.

Both the Army and the Marine Corps were guilty of stupidity when they thought that they would never have to fight another “counter insurgency” campaign again. Never underestimate your opponents they are not as inept and ignorant as you think they are. Our potential enemies have learned the lessons of Vietnam, Panama, Granada, Desert Storm, the Balkans and Somalia very well. They learned this particular lesson most of all: YOU DO NOT GET INTO A CONVENTIONAL WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES MILITARY THE WILL HURT YOU VERY BADLY.

Can some one explain why the Republic of South Africa had armored mine proofed logistical vehicles before the United States? By the way the MRAP was designed by a South African. Our troops were stuck with up-armored HUMVEEs which are no more thought out than the modernized version of the World War One Rolls Royce Armored Cars used by the Royal Naval Air Service of the period and a not well thought out one at that. I think that you would all be shocked to know that in the 1970s the old Rhodesian Armored Corps had a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle built on a Land Rover chassis that was superior to the up-armored HUMVEEs.

For Bambooviper I am a Vietnam veteran and I know where a few bodies are buried. When you talk about George Bush please talk about Lyndon Baines Johnson. There was a light observation helicopter project in those days to replace the old H-13. The two contenders were the Bell Jet Ranger and the Hughes Cayuse. The air crews preferred the Hughes Cayuse because it was safer in a crash but the Bell Jet Ranger was chosen because Bell Helicopters was based in Texas. By the way the aircrews referred to the Bell Jet Ranger as the Death Ranger because we felt it was not as crash survivable as the Hughes Cayuse. I was there and I know.

In the Post September 11 World our enemies are using classic guerilla tactics because.they work.

People you need to read history!

hello paul!
Walter A

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