No way to run a War or Army Part II
WASHINGTON — The Army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.I agree with James Joyner at OTB, that its incredible that over 3 years into the conflict in Iraq the Army is still dependent on emergency spending. That shows a great level of incompetence in our present military efforst the blame of which in at least part, has to placed at the feet of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.
"This is unusual, but hell, we're in unusual times," said a senior Pentagon official involved in the budget discussions.
Schoomaker failed to submit the budget plan by an Aug. 15 deadline. The protest followed a series of cuts in the service's funding requests by both the White House and Congress over the last four months.
According to a senior Army official involved in budget talks, Schoomaker is now seeking $138.8 billion in 2008, nearly $25 billion above budget limits originally set by Rumsfeld. The Army's budget this year is $98.2 billion, making Schoomaker's request a 41% increase over current levels.
"It's incredibly huge," said the Army official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity when commenting on internal deliberations. "These are just incredible numbers."
Most funding for the fighting in Iraq has come from annual emergency spending bills, with the regular defense budget going to normal personnel, procurement and operational expenses, such as salaries and new weapons systems.
Oh and there is this news also.
WASHINGTON - In a new sign of mounting strain from the war in Iraq, the Army has extended the combat tours of about 4,000 soldiers who would otherwise be returning home, defense officials said Monday.
The 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division, which is operating in the vicinity of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, will be kept in place for several weeks beyond its scheduled departure, the officials said. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been formally announced by the
Also, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters that "some units" are being sent to Iraq ahead of schedule, although he offered no details. Rumsfeld declined to discuss the case of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored, saying that as a general matter some units, "from time to time," are extended in Iraq.
The brigade's home base is in Germany. The soldiers' families were notified on Monday that instead of going home in early January as scheduled, the brigade would be kept in Iraq until February — an extension of about six weeks, one of the officials said. Army officials also have notified members of Congress.
The brigade has about 4,000 soldiers in Iraq. They are not the first to be extended.
In late July the Army extended the Iraq tour of the Alaska-based 172nd Stryker Brigade. About 300 soldiers from that unit had already returned home and were required to go back to Iraq. The brigade is now operating in Baghdad.
I blogged about the 172nd Stryker here. One of the dangers of extending tours, particularly in the 172nd's case, is units are so close to returning home they are low on both stores(Like ammo) and other essentials, plus have soldiers already having gear and belongings being shipped home, that the troops are short of what they need to continue the mission they have had extended. Its happened with other units in Iraq before.
Right now TFM is reading Thomas Ricks' Fiasco. Before anyone writes this book off as liberal propaganda, let me note that Bing West gave Fiasco an excellent review for the National Review of all publications.
What I'm saying is this war looks more and more like a study in incompetence. Not at the troop level but at the managerial and strategic levels. Blunders like not enough troops during the invasion and then disarming the Iraqi army afterwards were terribly wrong and put the US in the present situation we're in. I'm losing more confidence in the Bush administration's running of this war with each passing day and I don't know if the US can ever get out of Iraq without it being a fiasco, and statements to the contrary by Bush and Rumsfeld are sounding increasingly empty in my opinion.
Linked to- Clash of Civilizations, Third World County, Right Wing Nation,