Army Cites Burdens Posed by Rotation

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sat Nov 22 06:18:23 MST 2003

*****   Army Cites Burdens Posed by Rotation
Huge Movement of Troops Set for 2004

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2003; Page A39

Army leaders warned yesterday that plans to replace U.S. forces in
Iraq early next year with a new wave of troops will present enormous
logistical burdens, posing a challenge unlike any military
authorities have confronted in recent decades.

"To my knowledge, the Army has never had a rotation like this in the
past," Les Brownlee, the Army's acting secretary, told the Senate
Armed Services Committee.

On top of dealing with tens of thousands of returning troops, Army
authorities are bracing for months of preparing nearly as many
soldiers slated to go next, many of them reservists who have greater
requirements for training, equipment, housing and medical care.

All in all, Brownlee noted, more than 120,000 reservists as well as
elements from eight of the Army's 10 active-duty combat divisions
will be on the move in the first four months of next year, either
into or out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Counting active-duty troops, the
number in transition will total 200,000 to 250,000, he said.

"This movement that we are going to do in the early months of next
year is huge . . . and we are anticipating to be really challenged in
this area," added Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of
staff, who appeared with Brownlee at the hearing, which focused on
Army difficulties in dealing with the Iraq operation.

To accommodate the flux, Army officials are developing a day-by-day
schedule showing which troops are expected to be where, and when.
Officials are also considering an expansion of existing mobilization
sites, possibly erecting prefabricated structures in places, Brownlee

As an example of the kind of administrative logjam -- and resulting
soldier distress -- that worries Army authorities, news reports in
October highlighted about 630 Army National Guard and Reserve troops
at Fort Stewart, Ga., who had been on "medical hold" for months
awaiting medical care. They were living in substandard barracks meant
for short-term training, with no climate control system or indoor
toilets. . . .

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