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Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

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$12 Billion a year on the military, and no options???

Participant: 1701

Date: 2003-04-29 19:21:05

Well, something is wrong, but not as badly as you think. First, within the Army itself, there are only 15,000 active troops split between 3 brigades. The rest are in headquarters planning the operations, running training or recruiting. Second, a commitment of force actually requires three times that size, ie to sustain 1,500 soldiers somewhere chews up 4,500 at any given time - 1,500 getting ready, 1,500 deploying, 1,500 coming home. So, between missions in Bosnia (where we're moving into 7 years with the Stabilization Force, plus IFOR and UNPROFOR before that) and Afghanistan, you're actually looking at a larger number of committed troops than first meets the eye. Plus, something should be left behind as a reserve in the case of sudden contingencies. You can push harder for short periods of time, but in the long run that really jacks up the divorce, substance abuse and suicide rates among soldiers, resulting in a high number of non-deployable soldiers.

The problem I see is in the bureaucracy, but that's my own personal ax to grind and doesn't belong in this forum.

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