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How to delay the surge in one easy lesson
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 08, 2007

And apparently John Murtha is going to try:
House appropriators critical of the war in Iraq plan to use the testimony of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker on Friday to bolster their case for tying funds needed for the administration's surge of troops to Iraq to the readiness of forces stationed at home.

Their aim is to hold up money to pay for the 21,500-troop surge until military units in the United States can certify that they are fully manned, trained and equipped to fight any mission around the world.

Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., one of the harshest war critics who now chairs the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, held a series of closed hearings last month to learn how the Iraq war has strained military forces.
OK, got that. You can't send troops to Iraq until you certify that all the units here are fully manned, trained, equipped and prepared to undertake any mission around the world.

Well, that can't be done at the moment. In fact, it probably can't be done for quite some time:
Murtha's subcommittee questioned a parade of witnesses last month to determine how much military stocks around the country have been depleted. Army commanders, including its officer in charge of equipping soldiers, disclosed that units in bases at home rarely have enough basic equipment such as Humvees and heavy machine guns to carry out daily training exercises.

"The question they asked us was what will the readiness of the rest of the Army be when we finish this surge," Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes, the Army's chief of force development, told The Politico. "We asked them for immediate support of supplemental funding" to maintain unit readiness.
Army commanders have also told Congress that no stateside unit is now certified as fully ready for war.
I talked about readiness and the price being paid in the future by continuing the back to back deployments here. And it certainly looks like it is going to be readiness which Democrats use to attempt to stop the surge:
The Senate is likely to bolster House efforts to make certain the troop surge is not carried out at the expense of readiness. In a strong letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the senior Republican, Sen. John McCain, Ariz., asked whether the surge was "placing an unacceptable strain on the Army's capability to provide deploying units with required equipment."
Given the fact that I feel that we are on dangerous ground in terms of readiness, I also feel that the surge is a mission which should be given a chance to work, even with the explicit admission that this is the last chance the administration has to make it work. In military terms doing so would be considered an "acceptable risk" in terms of readiness. It is a risk I think should be taken at this particular time and for only a relatively short time, but taken nonetheless.

So while I think that the point about readiness is an important one, I also think that the reason it is being raised now has much less to do with real concerns about readiness and much more to do with thwarting the President's surge plan by any means possible. To distill it into one word: politics.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

To distill it into one word: politics.
True, but it may be a very good strategy in terms of the PR game
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Army commanders have also told Congress that no stateside unit is now certified as fully ready for war.
So what does that mean? That nobody’s ALO-1?

Color me shocked.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
So what does that mean? That nobody’s ALO-1?

Color me shocked.
And as you well know, all of them will never be at that level. If the criteria were that all units were certified ready to deploy before we ever did anything, we’d never deploy a single unit.

That’s the game afoot here. They know that.
Written By: McQ
Simple simply declare them all "ready"...change the criteria.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And as you well know, all of them will never be at that level.
Yep. Many a stint as USR officer. Bend the rules slightly to make readiness levels, bend them to miss; it all depends on the message the commander is trying to send.

However, the CONUS commanders must be feeling pretty put-upon to pull a stunt like this. Missing readiness levels used to be double-plus ungood.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
No shock that this is all about political calculations, but there would seem to be a simple counter argument.

The Dems want to withhold funding because stateside units don’t have enough equipment to train properly. Just how is less funding (or apparently current funding) going to fix that problem, surge or no surge?
Written By: mprell
URL: http://

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