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Top General Wants Bigger Army

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker has testified that his force “will break” without an increase in troops and greater ability to draw on Army National Guard and Reserve units. The general cited the strain of commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he told reporters: “We would not surge [in Iraq] without a purpose. And that purpose should be measurable.”

AP via Yahoo!:

As part of the effort to relieve the strain on the force, the Army is developing plans to accelerate the creation of two new combat brigades, The Associated Press has learned.

According to defense officials, the plan may require shifting equipment and personnel from other military units so the two new brigades could be formed next year and be ready to be sent the war zone in 2008. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not final.

Noting the strain put on the force by operations in Iraq,
Afghanistan and elsewhere, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker said he wants to increase his half-million-member Army beyond the 30,000 troops already authorized in recent years.

Though he didn’t give an exact number, he said it would take significant time, saying 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers could be added per year. Schoomaker has said it costs roughly $1.2 billion to increase the Army by 10,000 soldiers.

Officials also need greater authority to tap into the National Guard and Reserve, long ago set up as a strategic reserve but now needed as an integral part of the nation’s deployed forces, Schoomaker told a commission studying possible changes in those two forces.

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