Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle recently told defense reporters that military operations in the war against Islamist extremism are causing problems for the Army.
Gen. Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for personnel, said last month at a breakfast meeting that “this is challenging and [. . .] our Army is clearly stressed right now.” The “demands exceed the available assets, time, people and, to a lesser degree, resources.”
Congress is providing great support for both resources and authorities that will allow the Army to vary its practices to meet changing demands and realities, he said. For liberals in the press and Congress, the blame for the Army stress is the costly wars in Afghanistan and especially Iraq.
But conservatives in the Pentagon and other security agencies of the U.S. government say most of the blame for the Army’s problems today have their roots in the sharp cuts in funding and forces during the Clinton administration, plus extended peacekeeping deployments, which led to a “hollowing out” of Army forces. The prospect of a second Clinton administration has defense officials bracing for even more cuts and little chance for a much-needed re-equipping of the forces.
Bill Gertz covers the Pentagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.