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The Daily Journal: Thursday, April 19, 2007

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Surge Ridiculed, Draft Considered

From Army Times: “The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday that increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps may not resolve severe and growing personnel problems. There was even talk of returning to the draft to fill the ranks. “It is better to take a smaller force than to lower your standards,” said Lawrence Korb, a former senior Pentagon personnel official now affiliated with the Center for Defense Information and the Center for American Progress. “The current use of ground forces in Iraq represents a complete misuse of the all-volunteer military,” he said. The all-volunteer force was never designed for a protracted ground war, but that is exactly what it faces, he said. “If the United States is going to have a significant component of its ground forces in Iraq over the next five, 10, 15 or 30 years, then the responsible course is for the president and those supporting this open-ended and escalated presence in Iraq to call for reinstating the draft.” The draft, though, is one of those political dirty words that most lawmakers don’t want to hear. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the former armed services committee chairman and former Navy secretary, said he cannot imagine a circumstance under which Congress would order a military draft. “We must, at all cost, preserve the all-volunteer force,” Warner said. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an international relations professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., described what he sees as the “disastrous state” of ground forces, a broken commitment to troops because of broken equipment, missed training and his sense that the 95,000 increase in Army and Marine Corps personnel planned over the next five years isn’t fast enough to provide relief. [...] “For the first time since Vietnam, we are caught with no strategic reserve. We simply do not have a strategic fallback position for the crisis that will come inevitably,” McCaffrey warned. [...] “Ten percent of Army recruits are of low caliber and do not belong in uniform,” he said, noting that the number of moral waivers has increased, the percentage of high school graduates has dropped, and the average age of first-time enlistees is rising. Because of concerns about who is being recruited and even who is being retained, Andrew Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said he is not even certain it is wise to make the planned 95,000 increase. [...] Korb had two suggestions beyond the draft, both controversial. One would be to drop the military’s prohibition on openly homosexual people serving in the military. “Over the past 10 years, more than 10,000 personnel have been discharged as a result of this policy, including 800 with skills deemed mission critical, such as pilots, combat engineers and linguists,” he said. Second, Korb would drop gender restrictions on some direct-combat occupations.” The full story...

 

 

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