Reports Of 'Broken' Army Disputed

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
March 19, 2008
Special Report with Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRIT HUME: The U.S. Army appears to have reversed a trend that led some people, including one of Fox News Channels’ own military analysts, to suggest that it was stretched dangerously thin. New evidence reveals that more junior officers are re-upping and morale is good. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN: A year ago as the president decided to send more troops to Iraq, the conventional wisdom among antiwar critics and Democrats in Washington was that the Army is broken. Time Magazine, “America’s Broken-Down Army.”
LAWRENCE KORB [Center for American Progress]: (From tape.) It’s broken. This army was not designed for a long war.
GRIFFIN: Retired Major General Bob Scales, the former head of the Army War College and a Fox News Contributor, wrote in the Washington Times last year, quote, “if you haven’t heard the news, I’m afraid your Army is broken, a victim of too many missions for too few soldiers for too long... Today, anecdotal evidence of collapse is all around.” Disintegrating equipment, difficulty recruiting and retaining soldiers, an exodus of junior officers who would have been the generals of the future.
Now a year later, General Scales has down an about-face, the first military analyst to admit he was wrong.
MAJ GEN BOB SCALES [U.S. Army (Ret.)]: (From tape.) I was wrong a year ago when I forecast the imminent collapse of the Army.
GRIFFIN: In fact, a document prepared by two military historians for General George Casey and obtained by Fox News shows comparisons to the Vietnam hollow Army don’t hold up. It states junior officers are not departing in vast numbers. The number of captains leaving has held at about 11 percent since 1990. By the end of Vietnam, 25 percent of the captains left and weren’t replaced.
SCALES: Reenlistments, for instance. Particular reenlistments in Iraq and Afghanistan, remain very high.
GRIFFIN: In 2006, 67,000 soldiers eligible to reenlist did so, exceeding the Army’s goals by over 3,000 men and women, a reenlistment rate higher than before 9/11. For the past 10 years, the enlisted retention rates of the Army have surpassed the Army’s goals.
Larry Korb, on the other hand, who served under Reagan and now advises Democrats, says the two reasons soldiers are reenlisting are the high bonuses and stop loss – the involuntary extension tours. The captains, he says, who are leaving, many are West Point graduates.
KORB: If you look at the class of 2002 who completed their obligated service in 2007, less than half stayed in.
GRIFFIN: Scales says he and the other analysts didn’t take into account the band-of-brothers phenomenon. This Army is sending soldiers to fight as a unit, not as individuals as they did during the Vietnam-era draft army.
SCALES: They’re bonded together. They know each other. They don’t have to fight as an army of strangers.
GRIFFIN: In other words, they are going back because of their buddies. The one area where there is not such good news is with regards to equipment. Forty percent of it needs to be repaired or replaced, but in terms of the numbers, Brit, it just doesn’t add up in terms of this Army being broken right now. Brit?
HUME: All right, Jennifer, thank you very much.