Monday, December 27, 2004

Define 'burnout'

In yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune, Robert Caldwell makes his case for keeping Rumsfeld. He doesn't really bring up anything that the blogs haven't already covered, but he includes this paragraph, which I found interesting:

Arguably, Rumsfeld's concomitant failure was his refusal to expand the American military, a force reduced by 40 percent during the 1990s, after 9/11. The shrunken, 10-division U.S. Army in particular is too small. It cannot fight simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan and sustain all its other global commitments without running its soldiers, their families and the force structure into the ground. Experts say the Army's burnout point is about a year away.

I'd like to read these experts' reports to see just how they determined the Army's burnout point. Also, what does burnout mean? Will the Army just cease to function? Unqualified, ambiguous statements like that one are bothersome, and make no contribution to meaningful discussion.

Our force is definitely strained, and more divisions would make for more time between rotations, but I have trouble believing that the Army is a year from disaster.

I'm all for increasing the size of the Army, but the redesign underway now should make deployment forces more efficient and thus reduce the number of troops needed. That's a step in the right direction, and its effect will help determine just how large our post 9/11 Army needs to be.

(another ht to RealClearPolitics)