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US Army Prepares to be at War Indefinitely

Gen. Casey: Army Prepares to Be at War Indefinitely[Image: SoldiersGoingHome.jpg]U.S. forces are withdrawing from Iraq this year, and operations in Afghanistan are expected to wind down by 2011. Nevertheless, the Army is preparing for the likelihood that it will be at war indefinitely.

A major institutional reorganization of the Army, which began in 2004, aims to realign all forces under a rotational model — similar to the one employed by the Navy and Marine Corps. Units currently go to war on a rotational schedule, but are becoming overstressed by the frequency of the deployments. Now the Army plans to institutionalize a rotation model that would give soldiers at least two, and preferably three, years at home in between deployments, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey.

This reorganization “requires huge institutional changes on our part,” Casey told reporters at a breakfast meeting today in Washington, D.C.

“We’ll have to continue to generate forces for deployments around the world,” Casey said. During the past nine years, the Army has begun the transition from a garrison-based Cold War force to one organized to support a long-term occupation in Iraq and extended counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. Because the Army was not structured to support two long-term major conflicts, most combat units have gone to war for 12-15 month periods with only a 12-month break in between deployments. If that pace continues, the stress on the force will be unbearable, Casey said.

It takes two to three years to fully recover from a combat deployment, he said. “We can’t continue what we’re doing and preserve the force.”

After the Army withdraws from Iraq, it will be possible to organize rotations so that units get at least two years at home after a deployment, Casey said. But that is still not good enough, he said. “We need to get to one-year out three-years back to be able to sustain the demand over the long haul.”

Adjusting the Army’s institutions to support the rotational model will not be easy, Casey said. During the next six to 12 months, service officials will be coming up with plans to overhaul key bureaucracies — such as the personnel system and military schools — that still have not adjusted to the post 9/11 world.

“The big push now is going to be on the institutional side,” Casey said. “We have to adapt our programs to support an Army on a rotational cycle,” he said. “Rotational readiness is a huge change.”

Before 2001, the garrison-based Army “lived to train,” he said. “We went to the training center and were ostensibly ready for everything at all times.” Now the plan is to institute “hybrid warfare” training as part of the standard unit preparation, Casey said.

When units eventually reach the point when they can spend two years at home, they will be training, but they won’t be rehearsing the conventional force-on-force scenarios that for decades was the requirement for combat brigades.

[Image: FortPolkTraining.jpg]This fall, the Army for the first time will have units train for so-called hybrid wars. These are nontraditional low-intensity conflicts but against enemies who are equipped with high-tech weapons such as unmanned aircraft, precision rockets and antitank missiles. “It will look like Southern Lebanon in 2006,” said Casey, “It will be a mix of conventional, irregular, terrorist and criminal capability. That’s a change.” The exercises planned for September will take place at the Joint Readiness Training Center, in Fort Polk, La.

One of the goals of these exercises is to determine what skills soldiers will need in the future. The Army often talks about preparing for “full spectrum warfare” but it’s not necessarily clear what that means, said Casey. “Until we get the guys home and start doing training against hybrid threats, I’m not going to be comfortable that we’ve got this right.”

The personnel system also will undergo major change, he said. The current system can’t support rotational deployments. A soldier who is going to deploy with a unit, for instance, often cannot join the unit on time for the pre-deployment training because of the red tape. When a brigade deploys today, at least 100 to 150 soldiers cannot join that brigade because they don’t have enough time on their contract to finish their deployment, Casey said. That is because soldiers’ contracts are not written with rotational schedules in mind. “When we recruit soldiers: we need to have a soldier fit into the deployment rotation,” Casey said.

Similar issues apply to military schools, which are not organized to support rotational schedules. “It’s a huge institutional change,” said Casey.

If the planned rotation structure works as envisioned, the Army also will be able to send more troops to help train foreign militaries. The job currently is performed mostly by Special Forces, who report to the U.S. Special Operations Command.

“We plan to allocate a brigade combat team to each regional command for that purpose,” Casey said. These brigades will be required to learn the local culture and language before they deploy. Adm. Eric Olson, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, said SOCOM currently can meet the demand for foreign-partner training outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, but he needs additional help to be able to conduct more exercises, Casey said. The Army wants to “augment what Special Forces are doing out there.”

Posted at 4:13 PM by Sandra Erwin |
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
This is what the Third Reich was all about.....can't the Plebs see this?! No, they drink the 'cool-aide' of Propaganda and 'buy' the rationalizations and lies.....very, VERY sadly......
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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