Where is Sam Damon?

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Challenges await GEN Dempsey

GEN Dempsey needs to fight with the Obama administration to keep the end-strength of the Army at its current levels. Remember GEN(R) Shinseki's warning of fighting two wars without enough troops in 2003? He has been proven correct. The 1:1 deployment cycle - one year deployed, one year "at home" (which ends up being 6 months because you are in the field for 6 months) - has proven debilitating. Ironically, GEN(R) Shinseki is dealing with the effects of the 1:1 deployment cycle as the head of the VA now.

Young officers have left the service in droves, the divorce rate is through the roof, and mental health issues run rampant across the ranks (at rates undoubtedly higher than the reported rates). It has taken the Army almost ten years to add end-strength and now we are talking about cutting it, while claiming that we are moving towards a 1:3 deployment cycle? In addition, end-strength is not very costly - it is costly to build up and train new leaders, but not that expensive to maintain - especially given the goal of a 1:3 deployment cycle.

The DoD cuts should come from weapons programs, not from the end-strength of the Army or Marines. The Army is not a service that needs cutting-edge weapons programs to justify its existence... it needs well-trained, battle-tested leaders in its ranks (which it has now), so that it can fight and win America's wars. People are the Army's most valuable asset, not expensive weapons programs. Just as the Air Force fights for every R&D dime, GEN Dempsey needs to fight cuts to the Army's end-strength.

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