Odierno: Army Needs at Least 450,000 Soldiers

Odierno: Army Needs at Least 450,000 Soldiers

The U.S. Army’s top officer said the service should have at least 450,000 active-duty soldiers or it may not be able to adequately respond to conflicts around the world.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the Army’s minimum end-strength should be 980,000 soldiers, including at least 450,000 in the active component, 335,000 in the National Guard and 195,000 in the Reserve. The service requested authorization for almost 1.1 million soldiers, including 520,000 in the active component, 354,200 in the National Guard and 205,000 in the Reserve, according to fiscal 2014 budget documents.

But after more than a decade of ground operations in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, the service’s active-duty component is slated to shrink, possibly to as low as 420,000 soldiers over the next several years, under automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Odierno said such reductions would make the military “too small.”

“Losing that last 30,000 makes a huge difference in the capabilities that we have,” he said during a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., referring to the number of active-duty soldiers.

Odierno also pushed back against the idea of downsizing the military simply because the wars of the past decade were coming to an end.

“It’s easy to say, ‘I just don’t see us having another conflict again,’” he said. “Well, I heard that in 1980. I heard that in 1990. And I heard that in 2000. And yet, we’re constantly engaged.”

Odierno cited potential risks from Kim Jong Un, the young North Korean leader who last year tested a nuclear bomb and threatened to attack U.S. allies in the region, the civil war in Syria, and sectarian divides surfacing in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East.

The Army is “about deterrence and compelling others not to do things,” he said. “If you get too small, you lose the ability to deter.”

Odierno, who commanded the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq and later became the top U.S. military commander there, said the country could still recover from a recent spate of deadly violence, but wasn’t sure how long it might take. The U.S. is sending more missiles and unarmed drones to the Iraqi government to help it fight an increasingly deadly insurgency.

Odierno was candid at times during the discussion, saying Army leaders had “no idea” of “what would push back on us” in Iraq “until we got in there.” He also said he’s not sure leaving U.S. troops in the country after 2011 “would have made much difference.”

However, on Afghanistan, Odierno said he supports leaving a contingent of American service members there after this year to help train its security forces and rebuild its economy.

Separately on Tuesday, Adm. William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said Afghanistan remains his No. 1 war-fighting priority while confirming that the number of U.S. and NATO special operators in the country will decline this year in line with the overall drawdown of foreign troops.

The Pentagon wants to keep about 10,000 U.S. troops at a few bases there to help maintain security after 2014. Negotiations on a security agreement have stalled amid resistance from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who wants the U.S. to take a greater role in encouraging Taliban fighters to enter talks with the government.

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There’s a significant logistical tail capability that has to be paid for in human capital, it can’t all be droned away. And of course, a lot of those army bodies are distributed to places where they can’t be moved (headquarters and bases around the globe), meaning that of the 450k number, a subset of that is available, and of that, a subset won’t be able to deploy.

We’ll probably run into situations again where we have to scrape IRR/Guard/reserves and use stop-loss to keep people in units before they leave. I wonder if the solution is to extend the IRR period, but we still only have a finite pool of ex-military manpower that can be tapped out at some point.

Sorry, General, but your reasons for needing 450K active duty troops don’t hold much water.

A) If N.K. attacks S.K. conventionally, there are millions of South Koreans who can help defend their country. We don’t need to send hundreds of thousands of Army troops there. If the the conflict goes nuclear, it’s not going to matter much to the outcome whether the Army has 100K troops on the peninsula or 200K, N.K. will lose and lose bad.

B) Regarding the civil war in Syria and violence in Iraq, these issues should have no influence on the Army’s active duty troop requirement, since we’re never going to be sending tens of thousands of troops in multiple BCTs to either of these places. It would be political suicide to embroil the United States in another occupation of a war torn middle-eastern country, and even the Capitol Hill defense hawks must acknowledge this reality.
C) Regarding the concept of deterrence through force size, significant deterrence is also achieved by upholding commitments and honoring alliances with key allies, and this administration has already demonstrated that it’s willing to sacrifice these notions for political expediency, so I seriously doubt that even having a million active duty Army personnel would provide additional deterrence at this point.

Well said Talosian. I particularly agree with # C. Being an Ally of the U.S. does not mean the same as it did just 6 years ago. We have sold way too many out.

You obviously aren’t student of history or you would understand that the last time we fought N K they ended up being backed by a million plus Chinese troops who poured across the Yalu river. So much for your ridiculous position! Ask yourself this, is the world a more or less dangerous place than it was even a year ago. As petroleum resources decrease world political instability increases leading to more armed conflict unless we are prepared to deter it.

“Odierno was candid at times during the discussion, saying Army leaders had “no idea” of “what would push back on us” in Iraq “until we got in there.” This is pure BS!!!! They did know, they went ahead anyway because it was directed down from Washington.… I know, I was there, and saw it happen.… General your statement is WRONG!

Let’s be honest, real war is more than just infantry numbers.

Real war doesn’t just involve an army.

I guess he’s right. We need at least that many to have the cooks manning gates, the MPs working the reception center and everyone else PMCSing HMMWVs that haven’t left the motorpool for the last 9 months.

Also with fewer than 450,000 troops, the Army won’t be able to justify the number of General Officers that are currently on active service. That’s the kicker. Everything else can go, but the generals must be protected until the bitter end…

Great points. Personally, I think it’s more accurate to say that of the subset that is available, a subset of that group won’t be able to deploy IMMEDIATELY. But assuming that our pre-positioned and pre-positioned afloat sets don’t get slimed, blown up, or otherwise incapacitated, we could probably deploy a good 9–10 BCTs, plus an airborne and an air assault brigade (plus any Marines who are nearby) fairly quickly (>30 days). Add USAF and USN assets and I think that’s a respectable “theater opening package”.

And let me add the caveat that we obviously couldn’t couldn’t deploy those 9–10 BCTs to the same region, so my “theater opening set” reference probably wasn’t the right way to put it…

just 6 years ago…u mean like during POTUS Obama’s term?.… like refusing to upgrade Taiwanese F-16 A/B’s to C/D’s.… allowing the SK’s 2 step up 2 the plate, gee what happened to the shift to the Pacific “anchored” around our regional partners??? u can’t even count on what the C in C promises.… but an election can change that & if the force structure is not in place w/its institutional knowledge.…it will take years to rebuild

Blight: speaking just for the Army.…..“a subset won’t be able to deploy” & ” a lot of those army bodies are distributed to places where they can’t be moved” I must be missing something.….our foot print is shrinking as we speak in Europe, the w/draw from A-stan continues, w/probably NO American forces left in-country after 2014.…. so tell me where in the world are we: ” distributed to places where they can’t be moved”? CONUS?

On complete idiots did not foresee guerrilla warfare and sectarian strife in Iraq, post invasion. GEN. Ordinero’s comments seldom inspire me to believe he is the right man for the job and this statement is no different. As to the reference of “scraping up” Guard/Reserve and IRR to supply replacement brigades, that is exactly the purpose that the Guard, Reserve and IRR exist for. The answer is to fund the guard and reserve correctly and treat them as another layer of tiered readiness. The fact of the matter is, we do not need 450k active duty army standing by for no known threat. We can down size the active force, fund the guard and reserve at a higher level and routinely rotate those troops into peace keeping missions and training rotations and take the money saved on personnel and pour it into new equipment and technology.

Massive unnessary deployments prevents me from joining the Military.

Yes that is true about the Chinese “Volunteers” who fought along side the North Koreans.…. However, today, North Korea is practically an abandon state. Russia has no interest in supporting them.…And dare I say, neither do the Chinese. They are basically a rock around China’s neck.… So who is left, Iran? Cuba? Neither is geographically located to offer manpower nor material support.… Well, maybe Iran taking the “overland route”, but its a long trek, with many people along the way.… Cuba? Well, another long trip over water… ( will need many fishing boats and inner tubes) Of course, there is always Dennis Rodman.

KRISTIAN375.…. You have now been identified as one who uses logic.…. You must understand the wonderful assumptions that were used, during the “pre-invasion” planning… How the original invasion plan was trashed. How the revised plan was trashed, with regard to the agreed upon TPFDL (Force Package)… How this was done and by whom.… In and out in 90 days. Welcomed as “liberators”.. Yes, many heated exchanges between General Officers and some Sr. Staff members.…. Brought to you by the one and only, Field Marshal Von Rumsfeld.… It got to the point, that the only way to really stop the charge, was to place a briefcase under the conference table.…LOL

There is always Guam, as long as it doesn’t tip over and sink.

Why waste money on soldiers when we could be spending that money to make the CEO’s of our defense corporations even richer? Clearly this heresy will cost Odierno at least one zero on his salary on his cushy post retirement job on the other side of the revolving door. He must be one of the few who didn’t get the memo when it comes to what our defense dollars are really intended to do.

Let me start out by saying I love all of our service men and women and the services (the Coasties too), even it the air force is a spoiled rotten teenager who won’t listen to his parents ;-P

But we can safely downsize the Army for now if there are budget issues. In the event of a national emergency, we can quickly ramp up the number of soldiers aka WWII style.

The cold reality is that the next conflict will be the the Pacific. One does not need a crystal ball to see that reality, it’s less then 10 yrs away. China is building up their Navy rapidly and we are shrinking ours-not wise on our part.

But the fact is that the next conflict will be a maritime conflict and the Army will have little to no role in it. A very large standing army in conus doesn’t scare the Chinese at all. Secondly, the army has very limited means of getting from conus to the fight, and sealift is pretty much none existent now. Airlift may get the troops there but not their heavy equipment and only if there are friendly and/or undamaged runways available-not likely.

The only things that’s keeping the Chinese from moving now is our subs and are carrier forces. Our Army makes no difference to them, but they are afraid of our Marines because they are maritime forces and they can strike most anywhere, something the army can’t do.

No, the Chinese own the Norks and if the Norks were really a rock around China’s neck they could shut down the only supplies coming into that country in a heartbeat. N. Korea is China’s version of Hezbollah which works for Iran.

Where do we need an Army? No one thought we’d be sending a hundred thousand troops to Afghanistan before the towers came down. There are plenty of places and bad guys out there. Just hoping and thinking war won’t happen has never kept it from occurring.

That sounds like an excuse. You sure it’s not a lack of guts?

That’s why they should Approve H.R. 435 for young immigrants like me, who were brought to the GREAT country love everyone also in the nation, and wish to serve the only country that has given them “me” a life, a pursuit of happiness and we wish to repay! Plz pass this law I will serve in the U.S. Marines if I could!

Its about Ends, Ways, and Means,and its bigger than the Army. Ends: What is our National Defense goal? Ways: How do we achieve this goal? Means: With what (or whom) do we achieve this goal? The Army has to make a case that it is critical to the “means,” but without a clearly-envisioned “end” on a national and pan-defense level, we are just spit-balling and can “what if” this to death.

Not a Problem. Stay home and enjoy everything our country has to offer. Both my sons are in Combat Zones taking your place.

Good luck with that one General, the teabaggers in congress want to shrink the military, not increase it.

Nobody should dispute the importance of the Army. Nor should anyone dispute the need for an Army of sufficient size — with sufficient breadth and depth of capabilities — to support global expeditionary operations.

The question is this: how much is enough? In JAN 2012, the DoD announced a new defense strategy, which proposed an active Army end strength of 490k. Since then, factors that have since changed relate to budget, not requirements. Has anyone spoken up on why 490k is now too much — and what new capability mix is now optimal?

Without clear answers, “the number” becomes fair game for anyone with a powerpoint deck. That GEN Odierno has backed off from the 490k number suggests it wasn’t ever grounded in requirements. So what is really the “right” number?

Finally, we should assign and resource RC missions with great care. I do believe we can assign greater roles to the RC, but must do so selectively — and resource those roles correctly. Otherwise we put too much reliance on units that are understrength, insufficiently trained, and lack critical equipment. Filling these gaps requires time consuming cross-leveling and team building.

Students of history understand you cannot win the next war by preparing to fight the last war.
But thanks for playing.

Why is it necessary to have a larger active duty force?

The conflicts of the last decade have shown the Reserve and National Guard CAN and DO perform to active duty standards when the need calls. I would say the AR and NG should be expanded, and the active duty Army can operate around the 400-420k mark. If the SHTF and we have a full scale conflict, the active duty would be first on the ground, and the reserve components would follow either way…there would just be more of them available.

Not to mention reserve components are cheaper to keep than active duty units.

I’m not sure how long it would take for reserves to mobilize. Sixty percent of the population is in Seoul and presumably attacking Seoul before reservists can mobilize there would put a big dent into available manpower. Presumably ROKA is concentrated around the capital and the DMZ; with enough forces at the DMZ to buy time for full mobilization, and enough forces around the capital to protect it until the city can be evacuated, and reservists mobilized.

If the DPRK gets bogged down at the DMZ then everything works out. If they achieve an unexpected breakthrough, it could be chaos.

“OR!” The operative word of the day. Yes General! With out a large force you will not “be able to respond to conflicts around the world”. Read the law of the land. Defend America. No more insane “HUMANITARIAN WARS”! THE CORRUPT CONGRESS OF BABOONS HAVE SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE MIPM COMPLEX. Stop the madness now!

It really boils down to a question of resources. Sure it would be nice to have more of everything. But Congress just extended sequestration another year. People cost a lot of money. More active duty Army folks mean less of something else. There’s been rumblings about cutting the number of carriers, once considered sacred cows. If they’re seriously talking about carrier cuts, Defense leadership must really be hurting for money. Saving money by making the Pentagon more efficient has been a rallying cry for decades, yet there’s little indicationt that much progress has been made. Defense leadership is going to have to make some difficult trade-offs as it relates to force structure and modernization.

Perhaps the Army should’ve started from the “ground up…” there are thousands of well-trained, quality Soldiers being pushed out involuntarily due to one force management program or another. These are the Soldiers being evaluated by quantitative statistics rather than the criteria that should truly matter — leadership abilities and potential, performance history, etc. It seems they will never learn that an individual who’s great at regurgitating information and (subsequently excelling during promotion boards and climbing the ranks) doesn’t necessarily annotate a virtuous, effective leader. Sorry, but I just don’t buy the “we don’t have the money or resources to review each case individually.”

Students of history also remember that we have NEVER foreseen our next war, and have only been prepared for war once in our 200+ year history. What is our last war? The current LIC actions in Afghanistan. What is likely? A major theater war which we cannot even fathom at this point.

A 420,000 person force is incapable of sustaining casualties and continue current operations in a major theater war.

Gen Odieno is a imbacile and a political brown nose. As a nation we cannot keep a near million man army active all the time. We will end up like the Soviet Union.…. bankrupt there must be times to disengage and keep our noses out of the world for a time to recover economically. This idiot thinks we can just blow money all over and keep throwing money all over the place. I hope some one someday fire this idiot he is a disaster to Army command.

The smaller our AD Army, USMC and NG, the less likely the U.S. is get itself involved in foreign conflicts and wars. We need a military to guard our own immediate borders and sea coasts and nothing larger.

we should reduce the army by 50% along with the other services. we can no longer justify the 1.1 million. this country is officially non interventionist. see Syrian debacle. stop spending on wasteful non productive sectors of economy called the military industrial complex. what part of 17 trillion in debt do you not get

We will have to rely on a powerful clandestine service to kick off coups and arm rebel groups in lieu of direct intervention.

Sounds like it to me!

I’m glad you’re sure that the next conflict will be in the Pacific.
Good thing that there aren’t any potential conflicts in Africa or
South America that might blow up.

Which law of the land? I searched the US constitution and didn’t see an exclusion that the Army could only defend America. If its not in the Constitution, which “Law of the Land” are you referring to?

This is wrong in many ways. First of all, no fight is an Army fight or a Navy fight or a Marine Corps fight. It is all one joint fight. The Army has a role to play, and frankly if we think we can just stand off at sea and wage a war from soup to nuts — well, people who think like that are in for a ruse awakening. The 450,000 number is really rock bottom. Like Odierno, I’ve seen downsizing for years, and the floor always goes lower. It used to be 495,000, before that it was 750,000, Harry Truman cut the Army back to half a million. You can’t satisfy people who want to cut the army to nothing. The roller coaster approach to mobilization is bad, bad, bad. bad for the nation and bad for those who have to go fight with inadequate training and leadership.

Sorry but Carriers have already BEEN heavily cut. Only a few yrs ago there were 15 of them and then the floor was stated to be 12. Right now we have 10 until Ford is commissioned.

The military has shrunk tremendously, not just going from 15 carriers to 11 but also shrinking from 20 active duty divisions back in 1990 to 10 or less today. Not to mention the huge reduction in the number of bases across the country and world. We have the resources but choose to spend the money on welfare for losers.

What major theater war are you envisioning? Iran? China? That’s utter nonsense.

The Russians aren’t going to be pouring through the Fulda Gap anytime soon, the Chinese aren’t going to be invading Taiwan or Japan, and the the ‘Norks’ are crazy but not dumb enough to invade the South.

We can let alot of persons learn a trade they can pwerform once time or assg. is done

there is nothing in Africa worth the life of a single soldier.…

AND there’s nothing going on down south (S America) unless you think we’re going to invade Venezuela LOL

simple question for you Vitesse, let’s say the Chinese lay claim to all of the Spratly islands, they build facilities, dock warships and garrison troops there. The US and it’s regional allies then determine to force they out, what role would the Army play? Would they drive their tanks there, would they send in the airborn, perhaps they’ll attack them with long range artillery???

Big O is an idiot. He wants to preserve BCTs, that is not what the Combatant Commands are asking for; they want sustainment, engineers, Theater Missile Defense, Long Range Precision 24X7 Fires (read ATACMS), Communications, and Intelligence. Big O is clueless. Most in the Army wonder how the bully got his job. Oh well in 18 months he is gone.

Guam is nothing more than a first-strike target. Moving forces to Guam is like baiting an enemy.

(1) We haven’t won a war since WW2, no matter how big our military forces.
(2) The Guard and Reserve provided about 40% of the in-country forces in Iraq. It was good then, but not in the future?
(3) Who is the threat?
(4) We lost 58,000 in Vietnam fighting communism and they are a prime trading partner now. We lost 36,000 in Korea. Neither country was strategic to our national interests because the communists would be at the water’s edge with no place to go. All we have to do is keep them on their side of the water.
(5) Why do we keep listening to generals who’s only habit is losing wars?

Interesting question. Here are some more:
Which service has actually done the vast majority of the amphibious landings (both in total numbers and in number of troops landed) in American history?
Which service has organic artillery, logistic and medical units so they can fight without massive augmentation from the other services?
Which branch of service is responsible Logistics Over The Shore (LOTS) operations?
What role would the Army play?

And even if they did, an active Army of 420K is large enough to handle those scenarios, all of which are USN/USAF heavy, not USA heavy.

Sure, for the invasion of Mainland China (or Europe or Japan for that matter) you need the Army. Oh yeah, we aren’t doing that. In the hypothetical scenario presented, either China controls the air and sea around the islands, at which point an Army doesn’t mean squat, or they don’t, in which case their position is untenable. So yeah, the Army doesn’t really have a role outside air/missile defense of forward bases in that scenario.

Taxpayer, with all due respect, a few thoughts:

(1) WW2 was the last time we mobilized our economy for a war effort. That is how we won. For example, a Sherman was not 1-for-1 better than a Tiger, but 10,000 of them were.
(2) Guard is primarily for state use, hearkening back to militias. Civil relief is their most likely mission. We broke faith with guard and reserves by beasting them, introducing tons of turbulence in their lives and workplaces, and ultimately wearing them down. In a surge situation, yes we should include reserves and guard as a branch plan. But you can only go to that well so often.
(3) Look at the gap nations, those who are in danger of failing. Africa has most of them.
(4) A political decision, not military. There are plenty of arguments about how, at the military operational level, we got it wrong, but tactically a lot of folks got it right (Marine Corps small unit integration with indigenous folks, etc). And if the generals called the shots in Vietnam, then Westmoreland would have used tactical nukes (yes, he suggested that in a candid interview in his later years) and MacArthur wouldn’t have been relieved of command.
(5) Seems a bit unfair. Strategy comes from the politicians usually, though it is informed by military commanders (a la the Surges). When asked how many Soldiers they needed for Iraq 2, initial recommendations were several hundred thousand, which was obviously unsupported. In Iraq 1, GEN Powell pressed against a Baghdad invasion because he saw that “if you break it, you buy it.” Bush 42 listened; Bush 44 didn’t.

My $0.02

Bush 41 and Bush 43, respectively. Apologies.

the fatal flaw to everyones assumptions here is that 1.) a conflict in china over these islands etc would remain contained, neat and regional. Kind of like our recent tidy clean conflicts we just got out of… We believe it will start out naval and stay that way, a couple of tactical nukes can iradiate a fleet, and then you got a nasty slug fest stalemate. 2.) the next conflict will be with China, or if it is in china it will be in china, not in other parts of Asia or Africa backed by china. Think Korea war part 2 in a country of your choosing. 3) low intensity conflict is over because we want it over, the very reason that it is not over! another assumption that will backfire!

You should always keep Army strong we don’t need cuts in the military.Weneed cuts in the federal government. Their to big. Half the people in the government never served so how would they no? Amen

Or sticking your hand in the mousetrap. Look at the Philippines in WW2.

When one reads comments about the military it is easy to identify those that “have not served”. Since less than 1% of all Americans will serve in any capacity .….. let alone the small portion of those that serve that have the knowledge to assess the “BIG PICTURE” of how much is needed. Opinions are like noses .… everybody has one but that does not mean they hold water. If the government would specify what and when the military would be used and all of our possible enemies would tell us in advance what they are going to do the military could tell you how big they need to be and what kinds of forces they should be. At the end of Desert Storm the “politicians” told the military they wanted to go further and complete the job. It was the military that explained we had satisfied all the U.N. sanctions and the risk of civil strife from the different factions that comprise Iraq that would easily lead to civil war. Gee .… what has happened? In the case of Afghanistan we could stay in that country for 50 years and it would not end up as good as Iraq. If there is any segment of the United States that does not want war it is the people in the military since we are the ones that are injured and die. If you look at any war years after they are over almost all of them result in the question WHY????

Any conflicts in Africa or S. America would be chump change compared to a blowup in the Pacific.

talosian, your insight into the military seems pretty scanty. You appraciation of military action seems even thinner,on the face of it. You have a constitutional right to freedom of speech,but there is no guarantee of respect.

Good statement Hammer, logical and based on facts instead of emotion. I was at ft irwin while Guard ramped up for deployment. It was widely recognized they would just need complete recomstruction before deployment

mind your manners. You will persuade nobody with namecalling

you deserve little respect. Yournamecaling and lack of understanding are obvious. The military is an easy target for anti-American Left ‚budgetary or with negative social engineering.

aways prepare for the last war.…. the future is an unknown. your bias is obvious

The first thing that needs to be done is remove all O-6s and above from active duty! Then reduce the amount of O-6s and above that we have… the Army alone has more Generals than all other branches combined including the Navy and Coast Guard with their Admirals. Being that the Coast Guard is dual-hatted serving both DoD and Homeland Security, I would actually increase the size of their overall force, budget and resources because they perform Homeland Security, Border Security, Counterdrug, Counterterrorism, Antiterrorism, Human Smuggling Interdiction, Weapons Smuggling Interdiction, Search & Rescue, Off-shore and Port Inspections, Mari-time Law Enforcement and Investigations, Counterintelligence, Intelligence amongst other operations and they have to be ready to provide wartime support to the Navy at a moments notice. Quite a lot on their plate only to have a fraction of the budget that the Marine Corps has, and yet they provide this service on a daily basis.

Now — once we complete the Force Shaping Initiative with the senior (unnecessary) officers amongst the other branches, then we should also limit the amount of E-9s we have, who are usually augmenting the Colonels, Captains, Generals and Admirals. Again, this saves money and we still maintain the right amount of O-6s and above and E-9s through Reserve or National Guard — and at the onset of a major conflict or war, then these O-6s and above and E-9’s can be called to active duty in order to lead units and the Brigade, Group, Regiment, Division, Corps and Service levels as needed and with a full compliment of staff. At the end of the war, then these guys either retire or they return to Reserve or National Guard duty..

As for troops from E-1 to 0–5, they should be allowed to serve between active duty — to reserve or guard and back to active duty and back to reserve or guard throughout their careers in an effort to allow them flexibility to grow with their families and communities, and perhaps build parallel careers and complete civilian education objectives.

As for combat arms units — including Aviation assets, they should be equally maintained in the Reserves and Guard because these kind of units maintain unit integrity with members growing in the unit for up to 20 years, thus becoming more like a family and becoming unlike any active duty component unit. These kind of units usually have fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, uncles, nephews, aunts, nieces and cousins or high school buddies serving together — and they serve only because their family member or buddy is serving. So, continue to fund the Guard and Reserve and make available Veterans status to Guard and Reserve members who serve in a deployed environment for the first 24 hours in a contingency zone, because nothing honors our Guard and Reserve heroes more than giving them the credit they deserve in being considered Veterans especially after they served their country in a deployed environment. I know most get this title after serving over 180 days on active duty orders, but some have deployed and had their deployments shortened less than 180 days, and were denied the honor of becoming Veterans.

As for anyone injured while in service and/or in combat and even if the extent of those injuries are not known until after the service member has left the service, then they should be retroactively receive disability retirement from the military in addition to their entitled VA benefits… they and their families deserve no less for their sacrifice to our country.

More needs to be done to ensure that troops who earn military certifications are able to obtain state credentials and licenses or have reciprocity with federal agencies who recognize their specialized training. A Military Police Officer or Special Agent in the military should not be required to go through a full civilian law enforcement academy — because they have already earned credentials which in most cases exceeds civilian standards.

GI Bill and Post 9–11 GI Bill reform… Soldiers, Warrant Officers and Officers who have been affected by “Force Shaping” “Downsizing” initiatives and who were involuntarily separated but already transferred their GI Bill to their spouses and loved ones should be allowed to have their transfer remain in place without being penalized by the VA. The VA says that Warrant Officers and Officers are not covered by the Army’s ALARACT message. Well, this is because the letter of the law does not match the language of the law… since the GI Bill is essentially meant for Enlisted troops, the ALARACT message and the VA failed to recognize that all Warrant Officers and some Officers were prior Enlisted troops and earned the right to the GI Bill. Therefore, the ALARACT message by the Chief of Staff of the Army needs to be re-written to include Warrant Officers and Officers and their families respectively in order to stop harassment by the Department of Veterans Affairs going after family members for repayment of a GI Bill that was certainly earned by these troops and their families in terms of money, sweat, tears and in some cases blood spilled on foreign battlefields.

We can disagree on the “right” number for Army AC end strength, but nobody can dispute the leadership GEN Odierno has given our Army and nation. GEN Odierno is a proven field commander, a careful listener and a great communicator, striving to provide a measure of stability to an institution fighting a war and amid rapid change. Baseless name calling does nothing for this forum or our country.

As the renowned German Military theorist, Clauswitz , stated: “War is a Political Act.” Therefore , it is essential, if the US Military to prevail, for the USA and the US Military to have a strong “social contract” with the American people as a whole and especially with those that have served in the US Military and with those who would have to serve if called upon. Yet, both internal and external political policies of the US Government have rejected the aforementioned premise resulting in the cascade of political and military policies which have proven inimical to an efficacious U.S. Military. One result of the same is that the relative absolute and relative number of American men willing and able to serve in the U.S. Military has declined significantly. Switzerland defied NAZI Germany during W.W. II with an iron clad social contract. The American colonies defied the UK in the American Revolution with an iron clad social contract. The experience in the USA of the revolutionary period of the 1960’s and 1970’s and it’s sequel demonstrates the disastrous military and political consequences when this social is denigrated.

On most occasions, the Reserve and National Guard were combat distractors, not multipliers. The last decade clearly showed that Guard and Reserve forces are not a viable substitute to active duty forces.

As one who planned such deployments, it’s just 2 BCTs plus Marines in 30 days, and five more in 90 days. Once deployed, more and more of your lift is needed for sustainment.

The General ignores the key issue. The Army can shed some 100,000 positions by cutting excess headquarters, excess support units, and unneeded overseas bases. There is an excellent list of this fat at G2mil.

When was the last time you saw a General pulling A shift of CQ.

Waiting for them to replace PE. Basketball and football out, bayonet drill and rucksack marches in. Marksmanship in, volleyball out.

And couch everything in terms of lefty-speak like “empowerment”

The military has been sent to many places that were not “worth the life of a single soldier” and somehow that has never stopped congress critters.

“Let me start out by saying I love all of our service men and women and the services (the Coasties too), even it the air force is a spoiled rotten teenager who won’t listen to his parents ;-P”

Well it’s obvious you’re not an Air Force Veteran; the Air Force just happens to take you Army folks to the theater of confict by the way. Don’t bash us if you decided to go to another service (or if you didn’t score high enough on the ASVAB to go Air Force, lol!).

How can you one week decide that the Army has to many soldiers and must reduce the force? Then two weeks late want to increase the size to 450,000? This just goes to show that those individuals at the senior positions have nothing to do. They sit in their leather chairs. HAve coffee brought to them and are totally out of touch with reality.

Well said C.V. :-)

How true!

I don’t know about that NEVER forseeing our next war– the RDJTF and its successor, CENTCOM, did a pretty good job of preparing for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I recall reading that their baseline scenario was an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, although I can’t give a source at the moment.
I admit up front that you and I may not have the same definition of having “forseen our next war.”

A very interesting option, CPT35E. While a little extreme even for me, I like this kind of “no-box” (its beyond “out-of-the-box”) thinking. Just the kind of think we instead of the same status-quo, I-need-it-all, thinking we get from those generals and admirals.

It all depends on how much global security the President and Congress wants to buy. The military is a product and a service. Does it want to only deal with big enemies (China, Iran, and Russia) or does it want to small actions (Sudan, Venezuela etc)? Also, will it sustain peace and how long do they want to keep boots on the ground. Just make those types of decisions to help right-size your forces. You can take the Generals input but the main criteria belongs to elected officials.

Exactly. Protect the corporations is what is about not the citizens.

An arm chair general Talosian. Go grab your remote control and watch a movie. I have more confidence in our military planners than your stupid comments.

I agree with all comments that include the fact that most non veterans don’t have a clue as to the sacrifices that our men and women make to serve. Do those who have not served have any idea what stress our troops are under currently doing long extended deployments in combat areas? Get a clue people that don’t agree with an increase in the man power in the military and their pay and benefits.

How come there is no discussion of cutting the service academies in Half ? Why do we continue to educate these congressional appointees for free in hopes that we will get twenty years service out of them ? We are going to gut the NCO corps by eliminating many senior people, I say we should do it to the officer corps before we make another 3000 new second lieutenants (or ensigns).

Why does all the people who do not fight in the War expect our soldiers to continually fight many missions in such bizarre living conditions without burning out or dying for our cause? Why don’t they think the US has the right to build such a Military Dynasty to protect our Country? The burden of War should be put on the back of all the male figures of a nation. The men of a Nation are the ones that carry the greatest amount of testosterone that gives them the ability to defend their Country, to have courage, endurance and strength and spread that testosterone strength Nation wide.

In the 1970’s our Military Complex was given the ax after the Vietnam War. People were being forced to leave the military as they closed bases across America.
Our Military has been so downsized it is pathetic. And yet they want to scream that Obama is the enemy and staling on the War. He is letting people know that we do not have the means to care for every war that is taking place in the World.
They might hate President Obama now but eventually they will see that he is not the evil one they think he is. There are many more people involved in the mess that this Country is dealing with now and behind their covert activity is the word MONEY. They would sell their Country for the dollar, not what was best for America and they all know who they are, people without a conscious.

We live in a World of Hydrogen bombs, Atomic Bombs and Illegals permeating our Country, and using legal citizenship papers to commit their acts of treason on our Nation.
Look at the Clinton’s they opened up Pandora’s box when they let millions of people into this Country that destroyed the Financial towers in New York and they did not come from south of the border, but by the AIR..

If China can do it, then we should be able to have a massive militarily ready for war.

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