Amidst calls for reduced government spending and increased fiscal responsibility, the war in Afghanistan is a sore spot for many in America. As a recent AP report suggests, it's beginning to rub many US service members the wrong way as well.
"We are trying to get back to full-spectrum operations,'' Army Secretary John McHugh said in an interview. "That is difficult given the high operational tempo we continue to face. ... We are rapidly deploying troops to Afghanistan and even the troops in the [reserve] pool are scheduled to go.''
The primary gripe many in the military appear to have with current procedures are their lack of emphasis on long term preparedness. With US Defense Secretary Robert Gates focusing the bulk of US Forces on counterinsurgency/counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, experts say the US is not prepared for likely potential threats from China and India.
After ten years fighting the War on Terror, the resulting numbers indicate that these same experts may be right. The Army,Air Force and The Marine Corps are looking at a combined $46 billion bill to repair damaged Humvees, fighter jets, communication devices, tanks, etc. But this shouldn't be too much of an issue, since the current administration just signed off on a +$700billion defense spending bill.
Concerns about adequate training persist as well. Since 2003, the Army and Marine Corps have focused a majority of their training,at the behest of Gates,on counterinsurgency operations. There are reports of mid-career non-comm Marine Officers having never set foot on a ship or run any amphibious operations due to the continued focus on urban combat drills.
With the influx of 25,000 more troops in the coming months along with the recent addition of 15,000 MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles,military analysts predict a significant increase in defense spending on maintenance alone.
Benjamin Burton Jr. 12/30/2010