In President Bushâs 2000 convention acceptance speech, he hit the issue of troop readiness hard.
âOur military is low on parts, pay and morale,â he said. âIf called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ... Not ready for duty, sir. This administration had its moment. They had their chance. They have not led. We will.â
Back on December 6th of last year, youâll remember, the Washington Post reported that in 2004, four of ten Army divisions would not be combat ready for up to six months. Specifically, they would be rated at C-3 or C-4, the Armyâs two lowest readiness levels.
Since then, Army internal reporting and a classified Government Accounting Office study of the combat readiness of all US ground forces have further underscored the problem. The Secretary of the Army and others were briefed on the GAO study, which is still under review, earlier this month. Senior uniformed Army officials are, of course, also receiving regular briefings on the situation.
The picture this reporting paints for Guard readiness is, Iâm told, considerably more bleak than the December news about readiness in the Army.
Readiness in stateside Guard brigades is so poor because those brigades are essentially being cannibalized â for both men and materiel â to keep afloat brigades that are currently stationed in Iraq.