Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Big Long Term Escalation Surge

Is being run by the same guys who gave you the Eternal War on a Noun:
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 — The Pentagon is planning to send more than 14,000 National Guard troops back to Iraq next year, shortening their time between deployments to meet the demands of President Bush’s buildup, Defense Department officials said Wednesday.

National Guard officials told state commanders in Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Ohio last month that while a final decision had not been made, units from their states that had done previous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan could be designated to return to Iraq next year between January and June, the officials said.

The unit from Oklahoma, a combat brigade with one battalion currently in Afghanistan, had not been scheduled to go back to Iraq until 2010, and brigades from the other three states not until 2009. Each brigade has about 3,500 soldiers.

The accelerated timetable illustrates the cascading effect that the White House plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq by more than 21,000 is putting on the entire Army and in particular on Reserve forces, which officers predicted would face severe challenges in recruiting, training and equipping their forces.


U.S. Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan lack more than 4,000 of the latest Humvee armor kit, known as FRAG Kit 5, according to U.S. officials. The Army has ramped up production of the armor, giving priority to troops in Baghdad, but the upgrade is not scheduled to be completed until this summer, Army officials said. That is well into the timeline for major operations launched last week to quell violence by Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, which the U.S. military now views as the top security threat in Iraq.


Fewer than half the Army's roughly 14,500 up-armored Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan have been outfitted with the bolt-on version of FRAG Kit 5. Thousands of the permanent kits have been flown to Iraq and are being installed at 11 locations around the country, officials said. Over the next six months, the Army plans to produce 5,000 more Humvees with the permanent kits already installed, Anderson said.

Overall, Army equipment backlogs had grown so severe, Anderson said, such a troop increase would not have been possible last year. He said the Army is in a far better position now, thanks to an infusion of $17 billion last year to replace and repair equipment.

Still, Pace said last week that U.S. troops will face a gap of up-armored Humvees and other armored vehicles that will not be closed until July, and according to the Pentagon, commanders will be required to share 500 up-armored vehicles. But the Army said it is not short of up-armored Humvees in Iraq.


Soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division had so little time between deployments to Iraq they had to cram more than a year's worth of training into four months.

Some had only a few days to learn how to fire their new rifles before they deployed to Iraq -- for the third time -- last month. They had no access to the heavily armored vehicles they will be using in Iraq, so they trained on a handful of old military trucks instead. And some soldiers were assigned to the brigade so late that they had no time to train in the United States at all. Instead of the yearlong training recommended prior to deployment, they prepared for war during the two weeks they spent in Kuwait, en route to Anbar, Iraq's deadliest province.

As the Pentagon prepares to boost troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 people, such logistical and training hurdles are emblematic of the struggles besieging a military strained by unexpectedly long and grueling commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And forcing our soldiers to wear second-rate body armor when better armor exists.

I guess you go to war with the administration you have selected for you, not the administration you actually voted for.

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