Fodder Watch

From Holden:

The Army will fail to secure its quota of fresh meat for Georgie’s vanity war again in both March and April.

The active-duty Army is forecast to miss its recruiting targets again in March and April, as the prospect of combat-zone deployments in Iraq discourages American youths — and adults who advise them — from considering military service.

The Army expects to fall short of its targeted number of recruits, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told reporters yesterday, confirming the likely continuation of a trend that began in February when the active-duty Army missed its monthly goal for the first time since 2000. Last week, Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the Army’s personnel chief, said in congressional testimony that “monthly recruiting figures from March and April will be difficult to achieve.”


Harvey dismissed the idea that the Pentagon would institute a draft, bursting into laughter when a reporter posed the question.

“The D-word is the farthest thing from my thoughts,” he said.

Ha! “The D-word”! That Secretary Harvey, he’s such a card.

No, he doesn’t have to contemplate the “D-word”. Why? Because he has the Individual Ready Reserve.

They are part of the Army’s Individual Ready Reserve, made up of soldiers who have completed their volunteer active-duty service commitment but remain eligible to be called back into uniform for years after returning to civilian life.

The Army, straining to maintain troop levels in Iraq, last June said it would summon more than 5,600 people on the IRR in an effort to have about 4,400 soldiers fit for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan after granting exemption requests for medical reasons and other hardships.

Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said on Wednesday the Army has now increased the number of IRR soldiers it needs to about 4,650, which means a total of about 6,100 will get mobilization orders.


Hart also said 370 IRR soldiers had not reported to the Army by the date ordered and have not requested an exemption from service or a delay in reporting. Hart said none have been declared absent without leave, or AWOL, and the Army was trying to determine whether all of them actually had received their mobilization orders.

“We’re giving them all ample opportunity to comply with their orders,” Hart said.


Army officials have said that they expect to launch a second round of mobilizations from the IRR this summer on the scale of the current round to provide soldiers for future force rotations into Iraq and Afghanistan.