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Saturday, September 18, 2004

More Infantry Battalions 
The Marine Corps Times is sounding an alarm bell, calling for more infantry battalions in the Marine Corps.

But faced with the prospect of a third or even a fourth Iraq deployment, many Marines may have a change of heart. In fact, a Rand Corp. study presented to lawmakers earlier this year shows that one or two hostile-duty deployments can be good for retention, but a third can be more than many troops are willing to take.

That means the time to start building new grunt units is now, to send a clear signal that help is on the way before Marines make their opinions about the pace of wartime service known by voting with their feet.


The Administration has been resisting a larger standing army and Marine Corps, on the assumption that requirements in Iraq would ramp down rapidly after sovreignty was passed over to the Iraqi government.

I don't see why we should make that assumption any more. Even if we did, we still need to maintain a strategic reserve to deal with other flare-ups, and intimidate the bejeezus out of Iran and North Korea.

I think it's time to get the ball rolling on additional infantry battalions, as well as other high-demand units in the reserve components. To bank on involuntarily calling up reservists away from their full time jobs more than one out of every 5 years (20% of their lives)--even without a crisis--is too much.

It's also long past time to convert these National Guard tank divisions to infantry and MP units that are actually deployable. We don't budget to actually maintain their tanks anyway.

So why doesn't it happen? It's all about strength %'s. Take a tank company. It's at full strength with about 60 guys. But if you convert it to an infantry company, your foxhole strength drops by 50%. Which costs the state headquarters money. Which costs full-time guard and reserve jobs.


Splash, out

Jason


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