Monday, August 17, 2009

Army end-strength increase really IS happening

Despite what SNLII tried to tell you before, the announced 22,000-troop increase in Army end-strength really is happening.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he plans to increase Army end strength from its current 547,400 to 562,400 in 2010 and to a peak of 569,000. He has said that he will work with the White House Office of Management and Budget and Congress to fund the buildup in the succeeding two years.

For the coming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, the administration wants to reprogram just over $1 billion from its current request to cover the cost of recruiting and training an additional 15,000 soldiers, according to a letter from OMB Director Peter Orszag that Obama attached to his letter to Pelosi.

Orszag made his recommendations with input from each of the services and with Gates’ blessing, according to the letter.

The Army would cough up most of the funding, a total of $700.6 million that was targeted for its initial request for Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) trucks and other vehicles.

As expected, the planned increase will be budgeted over the next two years by diversion from funds initially intended for weapon systems dedicated to the ongoing Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is basically the sneaky way that the Department has found to budget through emergency supplementals without having emergency supplementals. (The money that was previously being requested as a supplemental is now requested under a special OCO account within the base budget, so the topline number stays the same, it just doesn't come in two parts anymore.)

12 comments:

  1. What I told you was that it wouldn't matter for the war we're fighting now -- unless you really believe that adding about 3,000 trigger puller is going to matter all that much in a couple of years.

    It won't.

    But pretend that it will.

    SNLII

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  2. What I told you was that it wouldn't matter for the war we're fighting now -- unless you really believe that adding about 3,000 trigger puller is going to matter all that much in a couple of years.

    Actually, through the power of the internets, I can show you exactly what you told me:

    Horseshit. It doesn't matter what they SAY the numbers will be for. The round out won't even transpire for several years, most likely well after the build up in OEF is long over (because we've left, it's been pacified, or whatever), and we begin the inevitable RIFs that hit mid-level USN and USAF ranks over the past several years.

    If it's anything like previous boosts, the actual end strength for trigger pullers rises a mere 8 percent.

    At worst, it's a cynical ploy to present the appearance of manpower adjustement. At best, it's a day late approach to warfighting. I mean, where was this SecDef a few months ago? Did we NOT have enough troops then? What radically changed that has altered the need for more troops in 2013, long after deployments to OIF have ended?

    With the war in Iraq winding down, we need another 22,000 troops like we need the FCS. I bet that we'll see the latter before we ever do the former.


    I then tried to clarify what you meant by this, but you didn't respond.

    Who said we need these extra troops to hump a ruck in Afghanistan? Not the Secretary. What he said is that we need them to meet the Chief's goal of increasing dwell-time to 15 months, and to cope with the cessation of stop-loss. So unless you're saying that it's more appropriate to stop-loss dudes to meet manpower requirements than it is to recruit new volunteers (something that, considering your personal acquaintance with this, I'd be surprised to see you advocating), I can't see where your complaint is.

    Adding 22K troops increases dwell time, full-stop. I don't care if they're trigger pullers, if it's going to take three years, or what. This isn't lipstick on a pig, it's not a cosmetic attempt to make it look like we're throwing more bodies into the fight, and it isn't a "cynical ploy;" it's a commonsense move to meet the Army's (and DoD's) stated objectives.

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  3. Actually, now that I see what I wrote, it's absolutely accurate.

    But, of course, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on more trucks is EXACTLY what we need.

    It's a joke, told by fools, consumed by marks who think themselves wiser for the grift. That the punchline comes eight years into a war is perhaps all the sweeter for the wait.

    Maybe the next administration will more prudently manage our manpower. This bunch can't fathom how to do so, and they've hardly improved on the past administration.

    Perhaps the problem is because it's the same man dicking everything up.

    SNLII

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  4. It's a joke, told by fools, consumed by marks who think themselves wiser for the grift. That the punchline comes eight years into a war is perhaps all the sweeter for the wait.

    Maybe the next administration will more prudently manage our manpower. This bunch can't fathom how to do so, and they've hardly improved on the past administration.

    Perhaps the problem is because it's the same man dicking everything up.


    I'm having a hard time comprehending you, which is probably my problem. Maybe you could explain for me, though, in clear terms, what it is exactly that you mean.

    1) Do you think it is a mistake for the Army to try to decrease dwell time?
    2) Do you think that the most appropriate way to do this is by stop-lossing people?

    As I'm sure you know, we already are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new trucks. See the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. We'll be spending slightly fewer hundreds of millions of dollars than would be the case were JLTV not an international collaborative development program. This is what will replace the Humvees we've worn out something like five times faster than usual as a result of OPTEMPO and conditions in theater.

    The FMTV will replace deuce-and-a-half and five-ton trucks. Yes, these also need replacement, but it's not the same sort of urgent need as a replenishment or refurbishment of the light tactical truck fleet.

    And so, as a final question, what exactly is the SECDEF "dicking up"?

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  5. Sorry, question 1) should have said "increase dwell time."

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  6. Well, if you're going to swallow the line, gulp it all down.

    As everyone knows, ending the unpopular stop loss policy of involuntarily extending active duty time is the stated political reason for doing this, but it's not the actual reason.

    Currently, about a third of US Army active duty MOSs are over-booked, and SecDef hasn't seen the need to shift them elsewhere, nor cut the established quotas for those fields, even though the Army doesn't need them.

    All this could have been handled years ago, but Gates didn't take it.

    Moreover, the Army was two years ahead of its mandated 65,000 soldier "Grow the Army" increase, but those increased numbers also weren't used to end stop loss, which mostly affects people in critical skills or who are in key leadership positions (mostly enlisted) necessary for unit deployments.

    Indeed, more than 12,000 Soldiers overseas (about 10 percent of the deployed force) remain there involuntarily, despite all the earlier lies, errrr, public statements, by elected and appointed officials that "Grow the Army" was intended to end stop loss.

    So, where did these troops go? And where will they go in the future? They shall go to feed the growth in the Army's force structure (42 to 48 BCTs, 75 to 83 MSBs), and stop loss will continue as the primary practice of reducing unit shortages.

    Despite all the phooey about ending stop loss, today after all that "Grow the Army" nonsense there are nearly twice as many people involuntarily extended in the US Army today than there were at the beginning of the so-called "Surge" in Baghdad in 2007.

    Gates has set Jan. 1 as the day the last stop loss requirement will end (although personnel with the orders will continue to serve through the year).

    If Gates is to be believed (he isn't), the increased growth in troops won't affect stop loss because the practice will be ended before those new troops are created.

    If new Gates is like old Gates, then he's fibbing and the need to create BCTs and MBTs will prove too intoxicating to eschew stop loss.

    SNLII

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  7. Does this new increase mean the force is again growing to 48, not 45, BCTs?

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  8. Tintin -- Does this new increase mean the force is again growing to 48, not 45, BCTs?

    NO. SNLII is confused. The SECDEF announced with the new budget that growth to 48 BCTs had been abandoned, and he expressly stated in his recent announcement about the extra 22K that no new formations would be stood up. His original comments about this seem to have disappeared from the updated NYT story, but here's what the Army's Stand-To on the subject has to say:

    The additional Soldiers will fill authorizations currently empty due to non-deployables and other demands, but will not add any force structure to the Army.

    Force structure growth is over, at least as far as BCTs are concerned. "Grow the Army" got us to 45, and that's where we're staying.

    SNLII -- Grow the Army was intended to, uh, grow the Army. The SECDEF directed the services to seek ways to end stop-loss shortly after he was appointed, around the same time that he announced the Grow the Army initiative. But let's be clear, the point of Grow the Army was to create more combat formations.

    So I still don't understand your point. Are you saying that it's disingenuous for the SECDEF to suggest that efforts to increase Army end-strength are dedicated to creating more units that are deployable, and to ensuring that those units have longer dwell time? You think that Secretary Gates is increasing end-strength for its own sake, and stop-lossing troops dishonestly to do so? You think that stop-loss is intended to help add force structure instead of to make more brigades more deployable to active operational theaters?

    Because that, to quote your earlier comment, strikes me as horseshit.

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  9. "Grow the Army" was NOT intended to grow the Army. It was intended to grow the BCTs and MSBs.

    The Army has NOT abandoned the modularization of the force, but has continued it. We are still growing the Army to feed 48 BCTs, even if we lie and say that we're stopping at 45. The codewords now are "basing" and "infrastructure" which seem to apply to the places where we are putting the BCTs.

    Duh, fucking, duh.

    The only reason why it matters is because "Gulliver" doesn't seem to recall how "Grow the Army" was originally sold: As a means to end the hated "stop loss."

    It didn't do that. Indeed, there are MORE soldiers involuntarily serving tours overseas today than there was in January of 2007, when "Grow the Army" cleared Congress.

    Indeed, in 2007 top brass and Pete Geren toured the nation telling everyone how stop loss would end and "Grow the Army" would be the way to kill it.

    The one voice telling us that it wouldn't end stop loss was the wonderful Charles Henning of CRS. The only way one could have ended stop loss was to have cut rotations down to 10 BCTs after GTA took hold.

    The latest lie, errrrr, proposal, comes at a time when we hear that our ground forces will NOT be cutting rotations to that level. Indeed, priority will go to cut deployments for National Guard and AR units for political reasons. Does anyone really believe that over the next two years that we will keep below 10 BCTs deployed overseas?

    I've already explained how SecDef could have mitigated a bad policy (the over-subscription on MOS slots not needed by the Army is a huge problem), one that particularly hits those in the combat arms. Another means would be to un-screw the IRR (100,000 there, with 20 percent used since 9/11 on active duty orders).

    Total Force Integration also might meet some demands.

    The real problem is that the Army remains fixated on too much structure and too little people, even if lies are told so that we can stick people in "infrastructure" as a sop to the modularization.

    The people that will enter the service will NOT help stop loss for the obvious reason that those most likley to be involuntarily extended are SULs (typically NCOs) in the combat arms.

    By over-subscribing certain unwanted MOSs, continuing to fill modular units to feed force structure and continuing more than 10 BCTs in rotation at any time (especially after cutting deployments to ArNG and AR) for OIF and OEF and the larger GWoT, we guarantee the continuance of stop loss.

    Want to end stop loss? End the war in Afghanistan.

    SNLII

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  10. SNLII -- I've read Henning's paper, and you're right that it's good. That said...

    FACTS:
    1A) SECDEF announced that we would grow the Army by 65K.
    1B) The Army has been grown by 65K.
    2A) SECDEF announced that Stop-Loss would be ended.
    2B) The end of Stop-Loss is imminent.
    3A) SECDEF announced that we would grow the Army by an additional 22K.
    3B) Funds are being made available to pay for a 22K-troop increase.

    I'm still not sure I understand the point you're making.

    The only reason why it matters is because "Gulliver" doesn't seem to recall how "Grow the Army" was originally sold: As a means to end the hated "stop loss."

    It didn't do that. Indeed, there are MORE soldiers involuntarily serving tours overseas today than there was in January of 2007, when "Grow the Army" cleared Congress.

    Indeed, in 2007 top brass and Pete Geren toured the nation telling everyone how stop loss would end and "Grow the Army" would be the way to kill it.


    I'm not trying to zing you here -- you're right, I actually don't remember this -- but can you provide links or something? I don't remember anyone pitching this as a way to end Stop-Loss, but rather as an essential increase in the size of the ground forces to cope with likely future threats.

    (And as far as your distinction between growing the Army and growing the BCTs, you're joking, right? Don't be obtuse. Growing the Army IS growing the number of combat formations in the Army.)

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  11. Gulliver, increasing the size of the army without increasing the number of BCTs allows a higher ratio of assigned/authorized in existing BCTs and other commands. I favor this. I also think that this would help reduce stop loss. Perhaps this is also what SNLII favors.

    SNLII, you use to be one cool cat. I have looked forward to your analysis on abu muqawama for years, even before I started leaving comments. You seem cranky over the last two months. First Haiku for a month and now this ;-)

    Whatz Up? :lol: I know I need to chill a little. Maybe we both do.

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  12. I suddenly realize I missed a opportunity.

    "Stop-Lost" would have made the coolest custom tab ever....

    And in my case (not alone) it would have had Oak Leaf clusters and a star.

    @SNLII,

    "Fucking"?? That's a first for you...but it's all good.

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