Still Need an Army

There are plenty of potential wars around the world after Afghanistan that would require a fully manned and capable Army, said the land service’s Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., on May 7, Odierno rattled off “North Korea, the Middle East . . . Syria, Iran, a possible failed Pakistani state” as just a few of the places where large numbers of American ground troops might be needed. However, the Army needs to train up: “We have not done high-end combined-arms training” for about 10 years, he said, and as a result of sequestration, “80 percent of the Army will only train to very low levels at home station.” The Army has cut flying hours, canceled exercises, and “we have had to degrade services that we provide at our installations,” said Odierno. He said he hopes to step up the Army’s military-to-military exchanges with countries in the Pacific, since most of those countries’ largest armed services are their armies. But funds for joint exercises are needed to make that work, he said. (For more coverage of Odierno’s media event, see Right Now, Not and We and Our Shadows.)