In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Army Vice Chief of Staff General Richard Cody sternly rebuked all those who’ve been blowing sunshine and spreading baseless happy talk for five years with regard to the war in Iraq. And he was blunt–blunter than I’ve ever heard him before–about the crisis facing the Army. He even went so far as to hint at the “D-word” in his prepared remarks:
Today’s Army is out of balance. The current demand for our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds the sustainable supply and limits our ability to provide ready forces for other contingencies . . . Current operational requirements for forces and insufficient time between deployments require a focus on counterinsurgency training and equipping to the detriment of preparedness for the full range of military missions.
Given the current theater demand for Army forces, we are unable to provide a sustainable tempo of deployments for our Soldiers and Families. Soldiers, Families, support systems, and equipment are stretched and stressed by the demands of lengthy and repeated deployments, with insufficient recovery time. Equipment used repeatedly in harsh environments is wearing out more rapidly than programmed. Army support systems, designed for the pre-9/11 peacetime Army, are straining under the accumulation of stress from six years at war. Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we build it.
And then he added the kicker:
If unaddressed, this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the All-Volunteer Force and degrades the Army’s ability to make a timely response to other contingencies.
Anyone with a lick of sense (which clearly does not include anyone in the Bush administration) has known that the military is stretched to the breaking point. But this is not what the White House nor the RNC wants to hear during an election year. Will they listen to the generals now?