In July 2009, the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates approved a plan to increase the end strength of the US Army by 22,000 Soldiers temporarily. This increase will authorize end strength of 569,000 from its permanent 547,000 end strength ceiling.There are two main reasons for the increase, first, to ensure that the deploying units are readily manned, and second to ease the strain (stress) of deployment. I do not believe that 22,000 Soldiers will increase the dwell time. This number is not quite big enough to change the ratio of dwell time required by the ARFORGEN model. Through the increment, I am completely convinced that the Army wanted to resolve the two main aforementioned reasons for they would be better off by increasing the end strength ceiling of the Army National Guard (ARNG). However, I would suggest they use the increased end strength to enhance the dwell time to match the ARFORGEN model and increase the Army National Guard end strength ceiling.
The main reason for the force increment was to relieve the stress/fatigue currently experienced within the army. 1 The current up-tempo is infuriating on our troops. Let me collect some numbers from the Active Army and the Army National Guard in order to understand the fundamentals on dwell time. Based on NGB-ARM2, currently there are 54,000 National Guard Soldiers deployed out of 160,000 plus in theater (Iraq only), meaning that, at any given time 100,000 plus active Army Soldiers are in Iraq alone. There is 352,000 plus total Army National Guard Soldiers and a total of 547,000 plus Active Army Soldiers. I must also take into consideration the other deployed forces (components) which number around 100,000 plus, all over the world. For AC, the dwell ratio is 1:1, one year deployed and one year at home without considering the transfers, wounded, not deployable, and the whole list that makes the available deployable number smaller. Let us leave the ratio at 1:1; the ratio will not change if the end strength is 480,000 or 547,000. We must increase the Active Army end strength to 600,000 in order to change the ration to provide 1 year deployed and 2 years at home or 1:2. Basic mathematics demands that, adding 22,000 soldiers will not provide the solution we want which is to relieve the stress of current deployment up-tempo.
Army National Guard Ratio is 1:2.2, one year deployed and 2.2 years at home. Fatigue/stress at the Army National Guard is less and less expensive and it does not take an Einstein to figure out this staggering fact. Let me create a table to make this numbers more reasonable.
|Total w/increase||Deployed||Non-Available**||Available||Ratio||To change the Ratio|
|Army National Guard*||352000||80000||52800||219200||1:2.2||TDA|
|NGB-ARM-MA (RCMS)*||AC Non – Available ** = TTHS|
One basic solution is to increase the Army National Guard End Strength Ceiling. Increasing the ARNG (Army National Guard) end strength and creating a new changeable combined AC: ARNG ratio could probably work better than just adding more Soldiers to the force. Stress across the spectrum will be less due to the 18 percent attrition in the ARNG, meaning that more or less, every five years the ARNG will have a very new line of soldiers. Adding more BCT’s to the ARNG gives more to the nation than to the AC. ARNG has three missions, whilst the AC has only one. Equipments last longer in the hands of the ARNG than those on the AC. ARNG soldiers perform the mission with old equipments and less training than those on AC, a genuine rare reality.
The ARNG can also take the new twenty-one thousand soldiers and have them specialize in the hard to fill MOS’s. For example, increasing the Special Force, this hard to fill MOS will bring an edge to urban, jungle, and guerrilla warfare. This could enforce the enemies to increase their hiring ability and their chances of opening their cell functionality, meaning more probability of us scampering into Intellectual gatherings. We are changing because of them; we have the assets and doctrines, but not well distributed. Moreover, these assets are highly expensive, costing an astronomical amount of US dollars. If we could change from reacting into a proactive gear, we can once again effectively use those dollars effectively, efficiently, and wisely. Our doctrines and equipment’s are very expensive and the enemy force is extremely cheap. Let us look at just one factor; the fuel, for example of 2005; “The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S and the US military is the biggest purchaser of oil in the world. In 2005 the US Military consumed 1.7 gallons of fuel a day in Iraq”3. Moreover, the army would its focus to honing mixed skills coupled with experience4. This is just but an illustration of how proper management of the available resources would save the government millions of dollars.
This solution will also allow the closure of bases around the globe. This will allow the Army to bring to line those soldiers currently overseas while relying on the ARNG to support any contingency mission. How many countries in world maintain and keep military bases abroad? Let us take a look at the Chinese government…has a huge military force, no military base abroad, and everyone even President Obama did not meet the Dalai Lama5 because of our relation with China. Chinese love everyone, shake hands with everyone, make business with everyone; they are changing the way people think about them. In the 80’s they used to be haters, now they are the fancy lover everyone wants to date. Economical power is the new nemesis of the globe. Having bases abroad not any longer serve the purpose of this century, we are not anymore in the 80’s. Distances are shorter; communications are faster, global network is reliable tool, more efficient than imposing friendship. My point with this example is to mention that having troops overseas is not cost effective, and increasing the end strength will require cuts in other programs like weapon acquisitions and research and development. We are expending without looking at the big picture, we must maintain a strong economy as well as a strong force.
Today’s Global changes are economically driven, not like in the past “forced by show of force or by super-powers”4. Until 9/11, globalization was on an educated track of one world (futuristic alliance). “How did we alter that path?” Well, the world no longer belongs to or driven by a super-power nation; emerging countries like China, Russia, Venezuela, and South Africa are taking different approaches to individualize the global market5. Small and less powerful societies are transforming the way of life of the big and the powerful ones. To sustain our way of living more drastic and faster decisions shall be made, or maybe revolutionize the way we think!
My basic solution is simple, but not simply. I have only mentioned a solution based on dwell time and man readiness by just scratching the surface. The best solution is the one not mentioned and which requires a much complicated analysis, the one that must include a combination of our own and global goals. I was just facing one side of the equation and this is where we usually fail. No solution can be embarked in one mission; the Army is taking more roles daily than never before. New concepts must be defined, for any new initiative will take time; no improvement is overnight. In addition, non-well written analytical research paper will not support all the necessary factors needed for a combined well-supported solution. We must readjust our thinking process.
Maybe the enemies are happy by the new decision to increase the end strength. The enemies absolutely understand that their ability to change strategies is faster, and a lot cheaper than ours is. The twenty one thousand Soldiers will also increase the budget on an economy already weakened by tumultuous meltdown. Expanding the federal budget could cause second, third, or more orders of effect, without mentioning public opinion toward current conflicts6.In the light of these revelations, it is imperative to conclude that the army should consider utilizing the extra the increased end strength to enhance the dwell time to match the ARFORGEN model and increase the Army National Guard end strength ceiling. This solution offers a plausible way to utilize the increase in the Army’s end strength.
- “Stand To.” Temporary End-Strength Increase. 2009. Web
- RMCS. National Guard Benefits. 2009. Web.
- Karbuz, Sohbet. “The US Military Oil Consumption.” Energy Bulletin, 2005. Web.
- Miles, Donna. “Army Reserve Focuses on Shaping Force after Meeting New End Strength.” American Forces Information Center, 2009. Web.
- Spillius, Alex. “Barrack Obama Cancels Meeting with Dalai Lama ‘To Keep China Happy’.” The Telegraph, 2011. Web.
- “Think Exist.” Albert Einstein Quotes. N.d. Web.
- STAND-TO, 2009. Web.
- RCMS, 2009. Web.
- Energy Bulletin, 2011. Web.
- American Sources Information Service, 2009. Web.
- The Telegraph, 2009. Web.
- American Sources Information Service, 2009. Web.
- The Telegraph, 2009. Web.
- Think Exist, 2011. Web.