The Army will meet its end-strength goal of 547,000 this fiscal year, three years earlier than first planned, but that still won’t be enough to meet operational demands, a senior official said.
The Army needs to grow by at least 30,000 more troops to meet current demand, Army Undersecretary Nelson Ford said Tuesday. An end-strength of close to 580,000 is needed to meet the demand, he said.
I think this has been pretty clear for quite some time. The divisional reorganization helped a little. The expansion will help a little. The drawdown in Iraq will help a little. Together, those factors will make a noticeable difference.
But the tempo in Afghanistan is kicking up and will probably kick up more before it settles back down. Demands elsewhere will continue to put a lot of pressure on our forces.
And left unsaid during almost all of this talk about the end-strength of the regular Army are the spectrum of daunting tasks facing America’s special forces. Everyone keeps saying that it takes a decade to substantially grow your special forces. Well, it’s been over seven years since 9/11.
Still, even with all the worrying issues, it’s sure nice to see that this growth goal is going to be reached early. I expect that recruiting will continue to pick up. Some of that will be due to the lessening violence in Iraq, but I suspect that more of it will have to do with the economy and the employment situation in the civilian world.