July 22, 2009:
The U.S. Army is temporarily (for three years) increasing its strength by 22,000 troops. This is to keep units up to strength after thousands of experienced troops have been transferred to training jobs, and while several thousand others are recovering from wounds or illnesses suffered overseas. A chronic complaint of commanders, and their troops, is shortages of personnel when they are being sent overseas. The additional 22,000 troops will largely solve that problem, and cost the army about $3 billion a year.
The army just completed adding 74,200 soldiers, which they were ordered to do two years ago. Most (87 percent) of these went to the active forces, increasing the size of the active duty forces by 13 percent. This meant expanding many bases, and a lot of reorganizing. But the new increase will not require new bases. And getting the troops will not be a problem, as recruiters, despite raised standards, had been ordered to hold off on accepting more recruits for next two months, because quota had already been exceeded.
With the new increase, the army will have an active duty strength of 570,000, the highest it's been since the end of the Cold War, when the army had 800,000 troops, and sixteen divisions (55 brigades, including independent brigades). That was cut during the 1990s, to 480,000 troops, ten divisions and 33 brigades. A recent reorganization added ten brigades. The addition of 65,000 troops to the active army increases the number of combat brigades by six, to 49. This will all be completed by 2013, and with the additional 22,000 thousand troops, most units will not be shorthanded.