Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.), chairman of the committee’s readiness panel, have commissioned two studies to address readiness issues and troop levels needed for current and future operations. In a joint statement, they note that the Congressional Budget Office should analyze troop levels for various scenarios in and out of Iraq, including options to address “identified readiness issues,” budgetary implications, and time frames needed to address readiness shortfalls. Skelton and Ortiz want the second study, by the Government Accountability Office, to concentrate on the status of prepositioned military stocks, gauging whether DOD plans to mitigate risks of a new conflict while it attempts to rebuild stocks.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.