General Sees Permanent 30,000 Increase in U.S. Army

January 7th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: General Sees Permanent 30,000 Increase in U.S. Army

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the U.S. military heavily engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior general said on Thursday he expected the Pentagon will make permanent a temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers in the Army.

The senior Army general, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said, "As far as I can see, it will be hard for us to come off of the 30 (thousand)." Maintaining the additional 30,000 soldiers costs $3 billion annually, he said.

A permanent increase to 512,000 soldiers in the Army would require congressional approval.

"There is stress in the force," the general added. "That's why we asked for the temporary 30-K increase to relieve some of that pressure. That's why we instituted stop-loss."

The Army has issued so-called stop-loss orders blocking thousands of soldiers from leaving the military if their volunteer service ends while they are in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A year ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the addition of 30,000 soldiers beyond the Army's approved limit of 482,000, using emergency powers granted by Congress.

The move came as the Army was struggling to maintain troop levels for the guerrilla war in Iraq that scuttled earlier plans to draw down forces there.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called for a permanent increase in the size of the Army -- which provides most of the troops for the two wars. Rumsfeld has resisted, arguing that restructuring the force and making it more efficient could reduce some of the stress.

The general's comments followed news of a memo by Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the U.S. Army Reserve, in which he said the reserve was "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force" because of dysfunctional military policies.

With the regular Army stretched thin and crucial specialists like military police concentrated in reserve units, the Pentagon has tapped heavily into the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard to keep up troop levels in Iraq.

Reservists make up 40 percent of U.S. troops in Iraq.

"I would not use the term 'broke,"' the senior general told reporters. "'Stressed' is probably a much more accurate term."

January 8th, 2005  
WOW 1,000,000 million a year per person!
thats 482,000,000,000 million a year per army!