October 16, 2006
Mischaracterizing Gen. Schoomaker's Remarks
The article "Bush hits Democrats on N. Korea talks," (Nation, Thursday) mischaracterizes remarks made by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Schoomaker.
The Army, charged with organizing, equipping, training and providing the majority of the ground forces for the joint fight, must constantly plan worst case (greatest possible need) for worldwide requirements for ground forces. I was present at this interview. The general said future troop levels in Iraq are for planning purposes only, not necessarily a forecast for the actual commitment of forces.
"It's better for me to do that and be able to pull things off the table or to reduce tour lengths than it is to 'under plan,'" he said. "What we want to do is try to put as much predictability into people's live as we can, and to anticipate in a way that they're ready in time to go."
As always, it is the Defense Department and U.S. Central Command -- not the Army -- who determine what forces will be deployed. But the Army will always have trained and ready forces available for the call in these uncertain times.
Brig. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III, Army, Washington