Army Strength Adequate for War, Transformation
Army Strength Adequate for
By Jim Garamone, American Forces
Washington D.C. -- (AFIS)
February 11, 2005 -- The Army chief of staff is
confident that with the plus-up in numbers, the service will be able to
transform and fight the global war on terrorism.
U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Johnny Bivera
Gen. Peter Schoomaker testified before the Senate Armed
Services Committee about fiscal 2006 budget priorities Feb. 9.
The general said the authorization that the Army has to raise
the end strength to 512,400 through fiscal 2009 will allow the service to
continue its transformation plan. That plan is to build to 43 active brigade
combat teams and 44 reserve component brigade combat teams– 34 National Guard,
10 Army Reserve – and the support units needed to maintain them.
"Our requirement is to be able to deploy and sustain 20
brigade combat teams," Schoomaker said. "To do that on a sustainable model, we
believe that we must be able to go to one deployment in a three-year term for
active forces and a deployment in a five- or six-year term for your reserve
The 512,400 active duty figure is based on continued access
to National Guard and Army Reserve troops. Key to that is having units trained
sufficiently prior to deployment. "If that's not true and the National Guard and
reserves are not available to us under those assumptions, then my belief is
we'll have to grow the active force," he said.
The Army is trying to grow itself. In the 1990s the army
dropped from 780,000 to 480,000 active duty end strength. "It didn't take us
long to do that – just like cutting down 300,000 trees," he said. "Well, we're
trying to grow 30,000 back -- 10 percent. And there is a corollary there in the
length of time it takes. We've been building this force back with the
authorizations that we have received as fast as we can."
He said the service has grown by about 20,000 soldiers –
trained, organized and equipped. The Army will continue to grow, but it takes
Changing the force levels is one thing, but changing the
nature of units helps also. "We cannot at these force levels have single-purpose
units that are not capable of operating across the entire spectrum," Schoomaker
The key role of reserve components cannot be stressed enough,
the Army chief said. "We're absolutely dependent upon our reserve structure to
be available to us," he said. "We have to be assured of its availability to us
and its readiness to meet the requirements."
The joint nature of warfare is also key. The Army depends on
the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps for other capabilities an "interdependence"
among the services in a way that wasn't there a few years ago.