Wolfowitz Explains Why Army Needs Are Emergency
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 1, 2005 Putting Army restructuring in the emergency supplemental request for fiscal 2005, makes perfect sense, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the Senate Budget Committee today.
The Bush administration has come under fire for including the $5 billion request in the $75 billion supplemental request. Many elected representatives believe the funds should be part of the president's fiscal 2006 defense budget request.
Wolfowitz told the senators that beginning in fiscal 2007, DoD will place restructuring in the budget request. But it was important to begin the process as soon as possible.
"When it comes to restructuring ground forces, the department has made a major commitment to restructuring the U.S. Army, adding $35 billion over the seven years of the FY 2005 to 2011 future years defense plan, on top of $13 billion that was already in the Army baseline budget," he said.
The restructuring plan will increase the number of Army brigades and convert them into independent brigade combat teams that can conduct operations on their own. The Army will add personnel and equipment to the new brigade combat teams and take assets now at the division level and place them in the units. The Army calls the new units "modules" and the process "modularity."
The Army effort is a fundamental transformation in the way it organizes and thinks about deploying forces. The changes will mean vast differences in the strain placed on the troops and their families through deployments. The plan will add more deployable units to the Army. On the active side, the number will go from 33 to 43 and in the reserves from 15 to 34. "The most significant consequence of these two expansions is that for any required level of overseas force deployment, active brigades will deploy less often and reserve maneuver brigades will be mobilized much less frequently," Wolfowitz said.
The 3rd Infantry Division - the division that took Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom - has gone through the process and is deployed back in Iraq. He used that unit as an example of why DoD is asking for funds from supplemental requests rather than budgeting them. "As the 3rd Infantry Division redeployed from Iraq some 15 months ago, we simultaneously reset it from the wear and tear of combat, and transformed it from three brigades to four," he said.
It was only after the war - and the lessons learned from it - that the proposal came out. It was not planned by the military. If it were part of the fiscal 2006 defense budget request, the proposal could not start until at least Oct. 1, 2006. The Pentagon would lose a good bit of time and place unnecessary strain on servicemembers and their families.