Nov. 21, 2006 — In a November 19 editorial (“The Army We Need”), the New York Times makes a number of statements that merit responses:
TIMES CLAIM: The Army’s end strength “needs to be increased by some 75,000 to 100,000 troops.”
FACTS: The Army’s active force has increased by some 20,000 soldiers in the last six years. The “Operational Army”—those who deploy and fight—has been significantly increased by internal restructuring, which will add some 40,000 additional soldiers to the operational side by 2008.
TIMES CLAIM: A higher end strength would enable “a doubling of special operations forces.”
FACTS: Since Fiscal Year 2001 the budget for special operations forces has more than doubled. By 2011, the Special Operations Forces will be the largest they have been in more than 30 years, which will be a 50 percent increase in personnel from 2001.
TIMES CLAIM: The “morale and confidence of America’s serving men and women” needs to be restored.
FACTS: The Army successfully met its recruiting goal of 80,000 individuals this year, the second highest goal since 1990. Reenlistment rates remain high, especially among troops who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq.
TIMES CLAIM: Work needs to be done in order to “repair the damage done to America’s military capacities and credibility.”
FACTS: The average soldier and Army unit today has far more and better equipment, and has received far more training than in the past—not to mention sweeping transformations of technology and organization. General Schoomaker has called this Army the “the best led, trained and equipped Army that I’ve ever seen in the field.”