Is the Army stretched too thin? A recent study conducted by the government-funded RAND Corporation says that the deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan will prevent the Army from effectively responding to a crisis in another theatre. The report also indicates that the Army’s current plans to transform its force into 43 ‘modular brigades’ will not solve the problem. One analyst commented that ‘the challenge the Army faces is profound.’
To meet its strategic requirements, train soldiers, and provide troops with needed rest RAND says the Army must increase the number of brigades in the National Guard, use light and heavy reserve forces interchangeably, or increase the number of medium to heavy units within the active/reserve contingent. All of the options, however, present the Army with tough choices, some of which would require an additional outlay of billions of dollars. Couple this with an Army that still faces a 40% recruiting shortfall and it would appear the options become bleaker still. So what is the Army to do? And, as some have asked, is the current course the best one?
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