Thoughts on Lengthening Deployments
Note: this started out as an email, because Colonel Bay's contact link and comments are Tango Uniform (if you don't know what that means, wander down to the ROTC department), but I turned it into a blog post. Link at the end.
When the SecArmy says recruiting and retention are looking good, I'm sure the implied part of that is "for the size force we have right now." What these lengthened rotations tell me is that we need a bigger force. And if/when we start trying to grow the force to the size we need, then we're going to need even higher recruiting and retention numbers-especially retention, because senior officers and NCOs don't just appear fully grown and trained after a few months of training.
Just to throw some extremely rough numbers out there: the rotation length is being increased by 25%, so just to have some numbers to deal with, lets say we need an increase in troop strength of 25%. The Army is currently a bit north of 500,000 active duty, in ten divisions of four maneuver brigades each, plus three separate brigades, for a total of 43 brigade combat teams (BCTs are pretty much the building block combat unit being sent over there.) 25% increase there would be about 11 more BCTs, plus all the other kinds of supporting units-MPs, helicopters, maintenance, etc.
Just for illustrative purposes, I'll round those 11 BCTs up to 12, which makes 3 more divisions. Just to command those, you'd need 3 2-star generals (30-32 years service) plus 6 1-stars (28-30 years), a dozen colonels (24-28 years) for the maneuver BCTS, plus more for the supporting units. Oh, and about a score of Command Sergeants Major, with roughly the same time in service as the officers I just listed. Oh, and if you're adding 3 more divisions, you'll probably want a Corps HQ, with a 3-star and a couple more 1-stars. And I haven't even gotten to battalion and smaller units yet.
As you can imagine, all of that takes a lot of time, even if you greatly accelerate promotions for the best and brightest officers and non-coms. (Also note that I haven't yet mentioned the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars to equip these formations, nor bases to house and train them). Which means we really should have started all of this as soon after September 11th as possible. The fact that we haven't I attribute to a lack of a serious long term strategic plan for fighting and winning the Long War, as well as the lack of a coherent troops-to-task analysis to go with it.
That, along with the failure to communicate the goals, at least the broad outlines of strategy, and progress in the fight, is what I see as the greatest failings of G.W. Bush's presidency.
Mother Nature Is a Right Capricious Bitch
How to Train for a Service Rifle Match Held in Texas in May
1) Schedule time on the KD range.
2) Schedule ammo, lay on rifles, etc.
3) Piss off the Rain God. Did I mention this is western Washington? I think someone has pissed in the Rain God's Cheerios every day for the last 7 months or so.
So we had another practice session for our match next month yesterday. Weather forecast said it'd be mostly cloudy and cool, but little or no rain. Yup. Uh huh. And Dewey was gonna beat Truman.
What did we get? Well, the weather held off long enough for us to get a solid 300 yard zero. We moved back to the 400 yard line and some sprinkles started. 30 rounds from there and back to the 500 yard line. And then, the Rain God decided to start screwing with us. We'd intended to do 60 rounds, but after 20 the rain was so bad that the targets were getting hard to see and the paper was losing its hold on the backings, so we only ended up doing 30 before we moved back up to the 300.
From there we did standing, sitting, and kneeling, 30 rounds each position, at 300, 200, and 100. And the rain came and went, as did the hail. The wind was consistently gusty. But we burned through 360 rounds each before calling it a cold, wet, day.
Just to summarize what you, the taxpayers, got for your money: 5 shooters, one of whom was the battalion commander (we normally have 7, but two were on leave and one was passing a kidney stone), plus another 8 guys to support the range, on a day that's normally a day off, in upper 40s weather with rain, wind, and hail, shivering our way through 1800 rounds of target practice.
What's an Army career if you don't have stories to tell?
More Possible Post-Parker Targets
Thought of a couple more-
-firearms in national parks. If DC can't bar possession of guns because the Second protects an individual right, then this should be no-brainer, since national parks are also federal land. The same reasoning should likewise apply to U.S. territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.
-NICS. Since the Second protects an individual right, then any false denial by NICS becomes an instant due process violation. And since NICS is federal, you're not running into the 'incorporation' issue.
However, of all the federal
infringements on the right to keep and bear arms gun control laws, NICS is probably the most likely to survive a strict scrutiny review. Preventing convicted felons from purchasing guns can easily be argued as a compelling interest, and arguing that the law is narrowly tailored to that interest should be similarly simple. NICS weak spot is the 'least restrictive' standard-it's hard to argue that a law which falsely denies the right to purchase a firearm of hundreds or thousands of Americans every year is the 'least restrictive' means of achieving the goal. Also, the fact that the law does almost nothing to stop a prohibited person who wants one from actually getting a gun would also work against NICS.
Taken together-the fact that NICS falsely snags large numbers of gun buyers who've done nothing wrong, and the fact that it does nothing to stop bad guys from getting guns (and numerous studies back that fact up)-should be plenty to send NICS to the scrap heap.
Going off on a bit of a tangent-the Bradys like to brag that NICS stops thousands of 'unlawful' buys every year, but for some reason, these thousands of denials don't seem to result in many arrests. Is that possibly because a large number of those denials, if not an actual majority, are false, and that the feds know this, and thus don't even try to make arrests because it will expose how badly flawed the NICS law is?