Army Readiness and Iraq Strategy

To follow up on yesterday’s post about fighting Shinseki’s war with Rumsfeld’s Army, here’s Army vice chief of staff General Richard Cody on the Surge’s impact on the Army’s state of readiness (via Jason Sigger at Armchair Generalist):

When the five-brigade surge went in . . . that took all the stroke out of the shock absorbers for the United States Army.

In his Congressional testimony (.pdf), Cody also underlined something that I’ve flagged before but that I don’t think has gotten enough mention in the mainstream press:

While our Reserve Component (RC) are performing magnificently, many RC units have been assigned missions as an operational force, when they had been resourced as a strategic reserve for decades.

In other words, in addition to extending tours, shortening stretches between deployments and stopgap orders, we’ve also effectively “drafted” the reserves into active duty. (When last I checked in March, there were 24,000 Reserve and National Guard personnel serving in Iraq.) By all indications, it looks like in the COIN debate, Cody’s a Gian Gentile kind of guy:

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.

It’s not like any of this is a big surprise, since Gen. Casey and others have been saying it for a while now. The fabric’s stretching. Eventually something’s got to give.

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