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Readiness: Fears of 'too little, too late'

Oct. 28, 2013 - 03:15PM   |  
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The two combat-ready brigade combat teams are in the 82nd Airborne Division, which has the global response force mission.

The two combat-ready brigade combat teams are in the 82nd Airborne Division, which has the global response force mission.

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The two combat-ready brigade combat teams are in the 82nd Airborne Division, which has the global response force mission.

Odierno said he hopes to get the number of trained and equipped brigades to seven by June 2014.

Forces Command will not say which BCTs are going to be trained, but said the goal is to train two infantry, two Stryker and two armored BCTs and an aviation task force. Some of them will be Army Pacific units since they’ve been allocated for the rebalance and have been taken off of any potential Afghanistan deployment schedule.

Despite this plan, the underlying concern is that it will be too little, too late. The chief said his greatest fear is to receive an order to deploy thousands of troops.

“Everybody has got to realize between now and 2019, we have significant risk because we will not get rebalanced until then … and this world we live in is incredibly uncertain,” Odierno said. “I certainly hope we do not have to deploy soldiers, but my job is to make sure we are ready to deploy them. And if we have to do it in the next six years, we have significant problems. … They are not going to be trained properly. That means when they go, it is going to take them longer to do it. They might have more casualties. So, to me, that is unacceptable.”

McHugh said he and Odierno are committed that “whatever the Army’s end strength and its budgets may look like, we will never send a soldier into war unprepared, untrained or improperly equipped.”

But Odierno acknowledged there may be a time when he has little to no choice.

“There is going to come a time when we simply don’t have enough money to provide what I believe to be the right amount of ground forces to conduct contingency operations,” he said.

He is building an extreme tiered readiness model, where a small portion of the force is going to be ready and everyone else will be at a significantly lower readiness level.

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