Washington, DC– Senator Jack Reed today joined former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry in a press conference for the release of the report “The US Military: Under Strain and at Risk.”
The report is a damning analysis of the effects of Bush Administration policies on our nation’s military. By failing to adequately plan for post-conflict Iraq, failing to send enough forces to accomplish the mission with an acceptable level of risk, and failing to adequately equip the Americans sent into harm’s way, the Bush Administration has put our ground troops under enormous strain that, if not soon relieved, will have “highly-corrosive and potentially long-term effects on the force.”
The report lays out five recommended courses of action to prepare for future military needs:
1.Fully fund the post-Iraq recovery and transformation of our ground forces.
2.Adapt the National Guard and Reserves for the future.
3.Increase the deployable Army forces by at least 30,000 personnel.
4.Rebalance U.S. military capabilities for 21st century missions such as combating terrorism and insurgency and conducting reconstruction operations.
5.Increase support for recruiting and retention efforts.
“Our men and women in uniform have performed superbly the missions we have asked them to do,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “Unfortunately, I agree with the report’s conclusion that the Bush administration has broken faith with the American soldier and Marine. The Administration must implement the recommendations in this report to ensure that our armed forces can adapt to the new challenges of the 21st century with their customary toughness and agility, but also with the civilian leadership’s commitment to giving them what they need. I hope the President will directly address this report in his State of the Union address next week.”
“For months, Congressman John Murtha and others have warned about the impact of the war in Iraq on our military, particularly our ground forces. The report prepared by Secretary Perry, Secretary Albright, and their colleagues supports these warnings and identifies the serious problems our military faces in recruiting, retention, and equipment readiness,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Solving these problems will be costly, but unless they are fully addressed soon, our nation is at risk of not having a military sufficiently capable of responding to future threats. When the President submits his budget next month, it will be an indication of whether he intends to provide the leadership necessary to offer real solutions to make our military stronger.”
The Leaders’ National Security Advisory Group, commissioned by Senate Democratic Leader Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to provide advice to Congress on long-term national security challenges, is chaired by former Defense Secretary William J. Perry. Its members include: Michele A. Flournoy, Madeleine K. Albright, Graham T. Allison, Samuel R. Berger, Ashton B. Carter, Wesley K. Clark, Thomas E. Donilon, John D. Podesta, Susan E. Rice, John M. Shalikashvili, Wendy R. Sherman, Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall, and James B. Steinberg.