Droves of re­cruits likely to ease bur­den on troops over­seas

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security - BY ELI LAKE

The U.S. mil­i­tary on Oct. 13 re­ported the big­gest surge in re­cruits since the end of the draft — an in­crease that likely will re­lieve pres­sure on troops serv­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan by al­low­ing them to spend more time at home be­tween over­seas de­ploy­ments.

The U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force sent about 169,000 new re­cruits for train­ing in the fis­cal year that ended Sept. 30. The Pen­tagon said this was the high­est fig­ure since 1973, the first year of the mod­ern all-vol­un­teer force. The num­bers also ex­ceed the Pen­tagon’s goal for the year of 164,000 new ser­vice mem­bers.

Pen­tagon spokesman Col. David La­pan said the larger-thanex­pected re­cruit­ment num­bers — which were boosted by ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment else­where in the econ­omy — likely would re­duce some of the bur­dens on sol­diers serv­ing over­seas.

In re­cent years, the amount of dwell time — the time a sol­dier spends at a U.S. mil­i­tary base with fam­ily and for train­ing — has shrunk to a ra­tio of 1-to-1 when com­pared with the amount of time spent in the field, he said.

“Hav­ing that in­creased num­ber gives you more flex­i­bil­ity to im­prove [. . . ] the time be­tween de­ploy­ment and train­ing at home sta­tions,” he said. “If you are de­ployed for one year, you should be back home for two years. [. . . ] For a num­ber of units, it was down to 1-for-1.”

Bill Carr, deputy un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for mil­i­tary per­son­nel pol­icy, told re­porters at the Pen­tagon that the num­ber of re-

Asked whether higher un­em­ploy­ment con­trib­uted to the boom in re­cruits, Bill Carr, deputy un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for mil­i­tary per­son­nel pol­icy, said, “It was a force. And, again, be­cause our in­vest­ment that we had planned on mak­ing in re­cruit­ing, given the un­em­ploy­ment that we had not di­rectly fore­cast, al­lowed us to be for much of the year in a very fa­vor­able po­si­tion.”

cruits in­creased in part be­cause of the eco­nomic slump in the United States.

Asked whether higher un­em­ploy­ment con­trib­uted to the boom in re­cruits, Mr. Carr said, “It was a force. And, again, be­cause our in­vest­ment that we had planned on mak­ing in re­cruit­ing, given the un­em­ploy­ment that we had not di­rectly fore­cast, al­lowed us to be for much of the year in a very fa­vor­able po­si­tion.”

About 67,000 U.S. troops are cur­rently in Afghanistan, and about 119,000 are serv­ing in Iraq.

The White House is de­lib­er­at­ing whether to send thou­sands more as re­quested by Gen. Stan­ley A. McChrys­tal, the com­man­der of U.S. and multi­na­tional forces in Afghanistan. Gen. McChrys­tal has pre­sented Pres­i­dent Obama with sev­eral op­tions that call for as many as 60,000 ad­di­tional troops.

Mr. Obama said Oct. 13 that he would be mak­ing a de­ci­sion on send­ing ad­di­tional troops to Afghanistan in the “com­ing weeks.”

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