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Rod Powers

Army is Officially Overmanned

By September 19, 2009

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The Army has now exceeded its authorized strength by over 5,000 Soldiers. A Sept. 1 headcount of the service’s three components shows a population of 552,425 for the Regular Army, 357,791 for the National Guard and 206,356 for the Army Reserve. By Federal law, the Army is overmanned by 5,025 active duty Soldiers and 1,356 reserve Soldiers. While they are 409 Soldiers short of reaching their Army National Guard strength ceiling, officials expect they will hit it by the end of the fiscal year.

However, in its version of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act, the Senate has voted to temporarily increase the authorized strength of the Army by 30,000 Soldiers in FY 2010. The House has voted a similar increase, but not to take effect until 2011. The differences between the two versions will have to be worked out by a House/Senate conference committe.

September 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm
(1) William L. says:

I have to go back to the 1960′s when I was in the Army for everything I see in today’s Army. Today’s Army may be militarily advanced, but as far as how it understands how to keep up it’s enlistment numbers, and this business about limits sucks. When I joined the Army Vietnam was cranked up full stroke. I joined in 1966 and was in Vietnam 18 months later. I know they Army was drafting 25,000 a month for the war effort. This is what we need to be doing right now. I feel very sorry and humiliated that the only way the Army can come up with enough troops to fight a war is to send in the very troops that need NOT to go, the National Guard and the Reserves. These two units are for our countries defense and not the defense of Middle Eastern countries. These guys need to be on the border with Mexico with the full authority to shoot to kill drug dealers and the Mexican military that shoot it out with our border patrol agents to run dope in this country. Bush tried to send troops from Germany to beef up our numbers in Iraq, but if he was serious about that he would have sent all of them from all over the world where ever we have them that are full time active duty soldiers. They are the ones who are trained to fight, like, right now, not some guy who is a weekend warrior. And I am not in any way disparaging our National Guard, but when you take these guys away from their families to go fight as full time active duty soldiers would be called to do, and they get killed in defense of some other countries people, it leaves a real bad taste in my mouth about why. Why should a family man with a regular job, a wife and 2.4 kids, overweight, looking forward to the game this weekend, and in line for that promotion be the one that is called up for combat duty to go to some god forsaken country like Iraq to fight for Iraqi’s, when weekend warrior means exactly that, not on this weekend, I’ve got plans. Bring back the draft if you want to beef up combat troops to send to a war. Our National Guard is to protect our nation from Muslim terrorists coming into our country from Mexico, and/or Canada. The Reserves are there to beef up the National Guard and or regular military if there is an attack on this nation. Reserves are to be put into regular Army numbers only on a temporary basis until either enlistment numbers come up, or the draft brings the numbers up. Then they are sent home or moved to non-combat duty. If people think the Reserves are there to send to their deaths in some foreign war then they are wrong. Otherwise the mission statement would reflect that in the numbers we’d see. And it wouldn’t be a measly 200 something thousand. It’d be half of what the service needed and that would be all branches. If the Army needed an extra two or three divisions there’s goes over half of the Reserves right there. And are the Reserves numbers all branches of the service? If they are we’re in trouble if we needed some real numbers to fight a real war. What we’re doing in Iraq and Afganistan are police actions again. If we were at war we’d be controlling the population like we did in WWII. The only reason why there are bombers in Iraq and Afganistan is because we’re not in control of the population. The people can come and go as they please without being stopped and searched by military. No towns or cities are being shut down and swept, with the population moved out leaving only then enemy. Or those same towns or cities are not being bombed onto powder first by B-52 and artillery, then send in the troops to clean up any enemy left over. The only way we are going to defeat Al Quaeda and the Taliban is to go to total war. And I don’t care what the rest of the world thought. We’re the ones who were attacked on 9-11, then Spain, then Great Britain. When WWII began Hiler attacked Poland and the Reinland and no one paid any attension.

September 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm
(2) Detlev L. Werk, Sr. says:

A previous contributor has got it right. Our reserve troops should be slated for ‘reserve’ actions only. That means we should draw our active and trained troops from the active stations around the world, including a 50% contingent of NATO’s active forces. If we can presently get 350-500K pairs of boots on the ground(that means ‘on the ground’) in this AFG/PAK conflict, then we got something to work with. Anything less than that we’ll continue to have the same problems we’ve had the last 10 years.
When we had ‘trouble’ in Berlin in 1961 we didn’t call up our reserve, instead we called in the troops that had experience in such matters. Our reserves are a great bunch of guys and gals, we need to keep them where they’re needed most, at the home front, protecting us on our land.
On the draft: we have really no need for this measure yet, lest we don’t care about the quality of the inexperienced soldier, and I know we do! We can draw our wealth from around the globe, as should NATO in greater numbers, we’ll ultimately pay for them anyway.
On Middle-East counterinsurgency: this is warfare systemic to the land in which the various groups don’t get along. Anything we will do in the interim to interfere in that regard is just a band-aid for their philosophy of life. You cannot re-think their religion or sectarianism, you have to let them evolve, whatever that means. Only when human rights or grave international homecide is perpetrated should we and the international community seek to bring it to an end, a)diplomatically and b)militarily.

September 22, 2009 at 11:57 pm
(3) william j says:


September 29, 2009 at 7:41 pm
(4) The Sarge says:

It appears that my brothers have it right…nothing beats 20/20 hindsight, guys. Unfortunately, it would seem that, not unlike past decades, our current leaders don’t (want to) learn from the past…they keep insisting on re-inventing the wheel, as it were. A few years following my first ets, the Army came up with the notion of the all-volunteer force, which, in-and-of itself, was a pretty good idea. Then they decided that the new generation of recruit could “have their desert first”, in that all kinds of monetary incentives were being dangled in front of the kids’ noses simply to get them to sign on the dotted. This led, in some part, large or small, a “mercenaristic force” which, combined with the “me first” generation, led to some sorry state of affairs in the numbers game. Even to this very day, in spite of recently-discontinued incentive packages, enlistment standards have reached the lowest common denominator in terms of mental aptitudes and moral standards.

Detlev, I have to disagree with you, bro, on the issue of the reserve components staying in the rear with the gear. Following my re-entry into the NG, I was both surprised and proud indeed of the military performance of these citizen soldiers, both at home and in the sand box. Sure, there were/and probably continue to be problem areas…as an old school NCO, there were more than a few “hard cases” who were in drastic need of attitude adjustments.

The bottom line: we’re seeing fewer and fewer (relative to the recruitable population) good soldiers, those who understand why they wear the uniform and the sacrifices that the uniform demands. Numbers have been maintained by 1) extending the max age of enlistment and (as I indicated earlier) 2) “modified” standards. Until very recently (and, for all I know, it may again surface), there was a stop-loss policy which, in effect, served as an “unofficial draft”. Who knows where the army we knew is going to wind up…one bright spot (and don’t laugh): those butter bar louies we knew as boneheads with bars are, in my estimation, becoming more open to “the old ways”. Perhaps it’s simply a return to nostalgia, however, the O-1s I came accross, for the most part, displayed an affinity for wanting to learn from NCOs. Hopefully this will lead to “future brass hats” with a little common sense.

God speed, Bros!


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