Army Secretary: Thinly stretched force must modernize
WASHINGTON — Increased training in recent months has boosted the Army’s military readiness, but rising demand worldwide for its soldiers and a lack of budget stability threaten the service’s traditional combat advantages over potential foes, top Army leaders said Monday.
The U.S. Army is currently “stretched thin” with about 187,000 soldiers deployed to more than 140 countries on missions that range from deterring potential military rivals in Europe and the Pacific to fighting terrorist groups including the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, Army Secretary Eric Fanning said. But the service needs Congress to provide the necessary funds to continue those assignments and to prepare for a future that could include war with a near-peer adversary.
“We have to dominate,” the Army’s top civilian said Monday morning during the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention in Washington. “… We must make sure our Army is so fierce that nobody wants to fight us, and if they do -- they lose.”
That would require consistent funding from an oft-deadlocked Congress that last week passed an emergency continuing resolution to fund the federal government – including the Army – through Dec. 9. Budget constraints and the perpetual threat of automatic cuts due to sequestration have forced the Army to “mortgage future readiness” for the sake of preparing the current Army to respond to today’s threats, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said.
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