Rumsfeld: Army ‘Vastly Better’ in Equipment, Training, Experience
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2006 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld disputed recent assertions today that the Army is declining in readiness due to equipment shortfalls.
“The truth, as anyone in the Army leadership will tell you, is that the Army today is vastly better than it was two, four, six or eight years ago,” Rumsfeld told Pentagon reporters at a news briefing.
“It has much more equipment, much better equipment, and it’s better trained and more experienced,” he said. “It is a better Army.”
All units deployed to Iraq meet one of the top two readiness levels, “C1” or “C2,” for the jobs they’re carrying out, the secretary said. “And that’s what’s important.”
C-ratings are an official measure used to describe units ready for their assigned mission. The rating reflects personnel, equipment and training, and even a slight shortfall in any one category will lower a unit’s overall rating.
For example, units that return from a deployment without their equipment — leaving it for the follow-on unit to use so equipment isn’t constantly reshuffled between theaters — would receive a lower “C” rating until they received replacement equipment, he noted.
Rumsfeld urged reporters to recognize the realities of war — that units returning from a deployment go through a resetting period when they return. Unit members go to school, fix their equipment and do what’s required to get themselves prepared for the next deployment.
“You expect a deployable force to drop down in readiness when it’s not being deployed,” he said. “And you expect it to be ready when it is being deployed for the thing that it is designed to do and is being asked to do.”