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Secretary Gates to Increase Army Manpower July 21, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis, News.
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Source: DOD

Source: DOD

Yesterday, Secretary Gates announced a temporary 22,000 person increase in the size of the Army. The increase, intended to last through 2012, could add to future DOD budget woes and may lead to a permanently larger ground force, without a clear connection to long-term operational needs.

In an era of flat DOD budgets, the increase in Army personnel will be funded by drawing resources from other requirements. Secretary Gates noted that the expansion will cost $100 million in FY 2009 and $1 billion in FY 2010, but seeks no additional money for either year. However, the CBO estimates that an increase of 30,000 solders costs $2 billion a year, suggesting that the Gates expansion could cost more than $1.4 billion a year through 2012. Offsets will be needed, as Gates said that he will not seek an increase in the DOD budget to support the increase.

Once enacted, the personnel increase may be hard to reverse. The 92,000 person increase in the total ground force (Army and Marines) carried out since 2007 will remain in place. The new increase will be added to this growth. Cutting manpower after 2012 may be hard for the DOD to accomplish, leaving the Pentagon with an additional $1.4 billion in personnel costs indefinitely.

Increasing Army force size now may not have a major effect on the near-term transition from Iraq to Afghanistan. The 22,000 additional troops will come online after the major deployment rough patch next year. Additionally, as the US moves troops out of Iraq, as demanded by the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) with the Iraqi government, the need for troops should decrease, as the Afghanistan deployment remains smaller than that in Iraq.

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