From Stars and Stripes…
ARLINGTON, Va. — Due to shortfalls in equipment and personnel, as many as two-thirds of the Army Reserve’s stateside units are not ready to go to war, according to Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve.
“The units that we’re deploying into the theater are trained, equipped and ready,” Stultz told Stars and Stripes on Thursday. “The challenge we’ve got are the units we’ve got here at home.
“And I would submit to you that probably two-thirds of those are not ready.”
The Army Reserve is the final Army component to weigh in on the readiness shortfall issue. The leaders of both the active Army and the Army National Guard have said two-thirds or more of their U.S.-based units are not rated as combat-ready.
For the Army and Guard the issue is equipment that was worn out or damaged in Iraq and Afghanistan has never been replaced. Reserve’s equipment was left “in theater.” But the other larger issue for the Reserve is personnel…
The issue, Stultz said, is the 24-month mobilization limit imposed by the partial mobilization order signed by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Reservists can be involuntarily mobilized repeatedly, but once the cumulative 24-month limit is reached, the only way to use them again is if they volunteer, Stultz said.
With Army policy setting a 12-month “boots on the ground” minimum for all Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, plus the typical Reserve minimum of two to three months of training and mobilization time on top of that, a single mobilization for an Army Reserve soldier lasts at least 14 months.
That means a second involuntary deployment isn’t feasible, because the Army Reserve can’t send a reservist home in the middle of a deployment when the soldier hits his or her 24-month limit, Stultz said.
The 24-month limit is an increasing problem as the Army Reserve is now entering its second cycle of yearlong Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, Stultz said.
The only person who can decide to ease the Army Reserve’s personnel shortfall is Bush, who alone has the power to expand the mobilization order to include second involuntary yearlong deployments, Stultz said.
“It has to be a presidential decision,” he said. “We don’t have the authority.” (all emphasis mine)
Watch for “The Decider” to do just that.