Pro-Military GOP?

The AP reported yesterday on the state of America's strategic military reserves:

More than two-thirds of the Army National Guard's 34 brigades are not combat ready, mostly because of equipment shortages that will cost up to $21 billion to correct, the top National Guard general said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum spoke to a group defense reporters after Army officials, analysts and members of Congress disclosed that two-thirds of the active Army's brigades are not ready for war.

The budget won't allow the military to complete the personnel training and equipment repairs and replacement that must be done when units return home after deploying to
Iraq or Afghanistan, they say.
This problem focuses on the military's ability to, in an emergency situation, deploy troops currently in the United States. (Troops on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are at 100% readiness.) All U.S. Army's divisions are evaluated for readiness. The 'readiness levels' are from C-1 at the top to C-4 at the bottom. In 1999, two divisions were at the C-4 level. The military is understandably tight lipped about just what current readiness levels are, but they have not refuted Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's (D-Conn)claim that the Army is "very much worse off" than it was in 1999.
The Senate late Tuesday agreed to an amendment, offered by Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record), R-Alaska, to add $7.8 billion for the Army and $5.3 billion for the Marine Corps to the defense spending bill for 2007. The added funding would bring the bill to a total of $467 billion, including $63.1 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stevens said the new $13.1 billion is for equipment repair and replacement, and to meet the requirements for continued combat operations, primarily in Iraq. The Senate planned to continue debate on the bill Wednesday.

Stevens said earlier that lawmakers were talking with the
Pentagon "to see if they really need that money."
(I'd just like to note here that in all matters regarding leaving Iraq, Republicans worship the opinion of military leadership, but when they come asking for money...)
Congress members, including Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, R-Va., discussed the issue at a breakfast meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the Pentagon late last week.

In addition to the National Guard's needs, the Army has said it needs $17 billion this year to meet its equipment and combat needs. Dodd said Tuesday he wants to see the Army's full request met, and he plans to offer an amendment to do that later this week.
Together, that's over $30 billion dollars that just the Army needs to be an effective fighting force. Thanks for the tax cuts, George. Now I'm safer as well as richer. Not.

No comments: