Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Army Considers Extending Combat Tours Again

By Cernig

If Dubya wants his surge to extend into next year, something has to give - and it's going to be either the troops already in Iraq or reserve and Guard units held back in the U.S. for domestic duties such as disaster relief.
The Army is considering whether it would have to extend the combat tours of troops in Iraq if President Bush opts to maintain a recent build up of forces through spring 2008.

Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren testified Tuesday that the service is reviewing other options, including relying more heavily on Army reservists or Navy and Air Force personnel, so as not to put more pressure on an already thinly stretched active-duty force.

When asked by Sen. Carl Levin whether maintaining the force build up would affect soldiers' 15-month combat schedules, Geren said he was unsure and cited "numerous options" available, including using a "different utilization of the Guard and Reserve" and relying on the other services for help.

"We're committed to filling the requirements that the combatant commander asks," Geren said. "We have been able to do so up until now, and we will continue to do so."

The Army assessment comes as Democrats say they are already frustrated with the existing policy.

"Who was talking for the well being and the health of the soldiers when this requirement was put down?" asked Webb, referring to the 15-month combat tours. After four years of combat, the strategy in Iraq cannot "justify doing this to the soldiers in the Army and the families back here," he said.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., disagreed and said the Army should do more to add soldiers to its payroll.

"We never want to be in a position where our resources determine our strategy, instead of our resources being there to meet what our generals on the ground say they need to succeed," Lieberman said.
Lieberman's gone potty with dreams of Imperial power. There's no such thing as always having the resources to meet every requirement of strategy, as every general since Alexander has known.

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