The General is not one to frequent the Washington Times, but this recent op-ed by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, caught the General's eye.
Our recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq reinforce those very lessons. We prosecuted a very successful war, but if we are going to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi and Afghan people while preserving the peace elsewhere, we will need young men and women with their boots on the ground. I am increasingly concerned we don't have enough soldiers and Marines to do all the jobs that must be done.This is a heavy-hitting piece by a person with real power in the Senate. Has there ever been an empire than operated without a military draft? I don't think so (but I'm happy to be corrected). "More troops or fewer missions" indeed.
. . . the Army's active strength [is now at] 491,000 � too low for our current requirements. Today, in addition to the 491,000 active-duty Army soldiers, there are 550,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard. In order to keep 370,000 of our soldiers deployed to more than 100 countries, we have called to active duty an unprecedented 136,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard. . . .
Our guard members and reservists signed up to defend our nation in times of national emergency and stand ready to do just that. They never expected to augment the day-to-day missions of active-duty forces. . . .
We need more troops or fewer missions. Before we lose too many trained and qualified reservists, I hope we address the critical issue: Do we have enough Army and Marine active- duty members for the post-September 11 era of national security? My view is: We do not.