Sunday, July 17, 2005

Recipe for disaster

Here's a recipe for fielding a combat ineffective reserve unit:
- Lie about your strength for years before 9/11. If your sodliers don't show up for drill, still count them as present. If your soldiers can't pass the PT test, pass the weigh-in, or qualify with their weapon, you still count them as "combat ready." In the larger sense, if you are a state national guard or reserve RRC, tell your boss (HRC, or NGB) that you are manned at 100% strength even when you know you couldn't field more than 60% of the people you are supposed to have.
- Early on in OEF, ask for volunteers to do the mission, instead of mobilizing whole units and "inconveniencing" people. This will take 10-20% of the soldiers out of the rest of your units, further exacerbating the strength problem.
- Volunteer to send units to war that you know are broke. Do this so that your boss (HRC or NGB) doesn't know that you were lying all along about your personnel shortages.
- Take the units that are now at 40 to 50% deployable strength and involuntarily strip other soldiers from reserve units in your command to fill them up to 100%. Don't worry if the soldiers you piecemeal together into a unit don't have the right MOS (military occupational specialty) or the right rank. Send the newly cobbled-together unit through some barely-adequate post-moblization training and then it's "off to war" for them.

The 3-star general in charge of the Army Reserves has pretty much said the same thing officially. The reserves are stretched to the breaking point, but it's partly their own fault for coddling sub-standard soldiers for so long.