Leadership: August 10, 2003

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The Department of Defense is determined not to increase the size of the army, despite the fact that most of the combat troops are now deployed overseas. The favored solution at the moment involves multiple changes to the way the army operates. The most radical idea is to provide the army with thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of civilians to do jobs that soldiers now do. This won't be difficult, as most of the jobs in the army are similar to civilian jobs (vehicle mechanic, clerks, cooks) and many are not liable to movement overseas. Actually, the army has been shifting these jobs from soldiers to civilians for decades, but the current proposal wants to push this as far as possible. The soldiers replaced would then go to units, possibly new units, that could be deployed overseas. 

Next, the Department of Defense is demanding that the army find more efficient ways to determine which units go overseas and when. This is a little murkier, although the implication is that perhaps there are unneeded units (headquarters and support outfits) that never seem to go overseas and may not really be needed any more. This also implies a need to try new ways of sending units overseas. For example, send troops on shorter peacekeeping tours, or organize units just for peacekeeping and pay them a bonus for longer overseas tours. The Department of Defense would also like to pull peacekeepers out of places where American troops are not really needed anymore (Bosnia, Kosovo and the Sinai), and let other nations carry more of the load in those less unstable areas. The Department of Defense is also calling for more of America's allies to step in and share the peacekeeping burden in places like Iraq. The point being that if you want America to be available for future crises, you'd better help out now. 


 


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