U.S. Army Facing A Breaking Point

January 25th, 2006



Today the Associated Press reports on a new study for the Pentagon finding that “the Army has become a ‘thin green line’ that could snap unless relief comes soon.” The new report was written by Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who is among the nation’s leading experts on the defense planning and military affairs.

This report echoes many of the findings that Third Way made in a study that we issued in May, Boots on the Ground: Increasing the Size of the Army to Meet the Missions of the 21st Century. There we found that the Army was stretched to the breaking point by Iraq, Afghanistan and other deployments. We found that unless something was done, the Army faces four serious consequences: it might soon be unable to meet future threats; it can’t rotate and train its troops; it is facing huge recruitment and retention problems; and its reliance on Guard and Reserve forces is hurting local communities.

The AP reports that the Krepinevich study finds largely the same thing: “[T]he Army is ‘in a race against time’ to adjust to the demands of war ‘or risk ‘breaking’ the force in the form of a catastrophic decline’ in recruitment and re-enlistment.”

Third Way hosted Dr. Krepinevich in two Senate briefings last year (on Iraq and on military transformation), so we know and respect him deeply. We’re proud that his in-depth study has come to the same conclusions that we did last May.

The AP also reports that many believe it’s time to expand the Army. Third Way is proud to have helped sponsor the US Army Relief Act, a bill that Senators Clinton, Lieberman and many other sponsored back in May to increase the size of the Army by 100,000 troops. We remain committed to that goal, and we hope that this new study will push Congress takes action on it right away.