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Monday, April 11, 2016

U.S. Army Chief of Staff claims 220,000 more troops are needed

Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley told members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that planned strength of 980,000 troops was far too small.

General Milley said that there was a "high military risk" in the U.S. having only about a million troops. He claimed that with such a small force there is "no way we can meet the imminent threats that we have around the world." To handle all the major operations the U.S. faces, Milley said he needs at least 220,000 troops more than the 980,000. The planned number for 2018 consists of an active force of 450,000, the National Guard at 335,000 and the Army reserve at 195,000.
The cost of each addition of 10,000 soldiers is estimated at $1 billion or about $220 billion altogether. Without further expenditure Milley warned that some domestic military bases might need to be closed, The Pentagon has favored spending money on the Air Force and expensive weapons projects hoping to use fewer ground troops.
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has been outspoken in claiming that the army is too small, noting that generals insist that more troops are needed. Manchin asked Milley what it would take for the US not to be at high risk. Milley said: "If we operate under our current national security strategy, the current defense planning guidance, in order to reduce significant risk or moderate risk, it would take roughly speaking about a 1.2 million-person Army." 50,000 soldiers would need to be added to the active forces alone.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican form Arkansas, said he wanted to see the Army grow more than the 450,000 planned but Milley said with no additional funding, the Army will need to make drastic cuts to add new members. Milley said: "At the end of the day, we would risk literally having a hollow Army. We don't have a hollow Army today, but many on this committee can remember the days when we did -- when people didn't train and units weren't filled up at appropriate levels of manning strength and there were no spare parts -- all of those things would start happening if we increased the size of the force without the appropriate amount of money to maintain its readiness."Milley estimated that the active force needed to be a little more than 500,000. He stressed that it was not just size that was important but the technological capability of the force, and its readiness.


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