Broken Army

From Holden:

Chimpy achieves what he accused Clinton of doing.

More than two-thirds of the Army National Guard’s 34 brigades are not combat ready, mostly because of equipment shortages that will cost up to $21 billion to correct, the top National Guard general said Tuesday.

[snip]

And while Army officials still won’t specify how many units are at which levels, they are being more open about the overall declining state of readiness.

A key element of the problem is that Army units returning from the war have either left tanks, trucks or other equipment behind or are bringing them home damaged. Once back, many soldiers either leave the Army or move to other posts, forcing leaders to train others to replace them. As a result, the unit’s ratings drop, said Ey, an Army spokesman.

Last week, several House Democrats said publicly that two-thirds of the Army brigades are rated not ready for combat, and Army officials have not disputed that figure. On Tuesday, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., also declined to be specific, but said the Army is “very much worse off” than it was in late 1999 when the military said two of the 10 Army divisions were ranked at the lowest readiness level, C-4. At the time, two divisions equaled six brigades.

The issue gained political momentum when then-candidate George Bush, during his nominating convention, said the Clinton administration let the U.S. military might erode. Now, as the 2006 elections approach, Democrats are saying the Bush administration is shortchanging the military.