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New Afghan War Headache: Not Enough Troops Available? - David Wood, Politics Daily.
Beneath Washington's political squabbling over a new war strategy for Afghanistan is a deeper concern, this one among the Pentagon's war planners: not enough troops to go around. It's easy to overlook in Washington, but the Army still has almost 100,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq, and it's becoming less clear when they're coming home. With the growing demands of the Afghanistan war and other global commitments, the Army currently has more soldiers deployed overseas than it had at the height of the Iraq "surge'' in 2007.
At that time, it was widely predicted that the strain on soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen and their families was so severe that the military would simply "shatter.'' That was nonsense, of course. The troops, wives, mothers, kids, simply sucked it up and kept on driving. Why? The grunts I've lived with in Afghanistan and Iraq love what they're doing (you gotta ignore the usual and constant griping), they know they're good at it, and their families honor that service. But there has been a cost, and they are paying it.
Here's what worries the planners: The Army has 44 brigade combat teams (BCTs), its basic deploying unit of between 3,500 and 4,500 soldiers. Of those, 19 brigade combat teams are already committed, including 11 in Iraq and five in Afghanistan. One BCT is stationed in Korea, one trains deploying soldiers at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and one BCT is on strategic alert for potential crises...
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