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April 13, 2005

Milnews

Here is a young officer who is probably going places. Meet Capt. David M. Rozelle, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo, now in Iraq. Two commands. Both in combat zones. The second one - as a returning amputee. Worked for General Fred Franks.

I was involved in bringing computer simulation to the Field Artillery School, the first Army school to integrate combat sims into the curriculum (aside from Conduct of Fire Trainers and Aviation Cockpit trainers and First Battle-style board games). I was one of the first designated Functional Area 57 (Simulations Operations) officers. We made the snowball. The slow start has become an avalanche, and the sims are a part of just about everything anymore.

The tension between the legitimate needs of employers, vice the legitimate personal and governmental interest of Reserve Component soldiers is *always* going to be there. I work for a firm large enough that it can not only absorb the losses, but will kick in a pay differential if your military compensation would cause you to take a loss (fortunately, for those of us for whom the military pay would be an increase, we dont have to rebate it back to the firm! 8^) ). However, if I run a small garage, and the deploying soldier is one of my mechanics, I have a *real* problem. So it isn't easy. Which is why the government crafted the law, as a hammer. It's good to see they are finally using the government's assets to enforce it. Failure to agressively enforce a law is noted by those with an incentive to ignore it. That said - we also need to work to find solutions that don't always involve hammering small employers who truly are just trying to stay in business.

Local resident PVT (ex-Specialist) Graner of Abu-Ghraib fame (here on a 10 year assignment at Fort Leavenworth) has finally negotiated his immunity from further prosecution and is now starting to name names and provide other details. Perhaps now I will get my lust for more senior bodies dangling from metaphorical hooks satiated.

The military footprint in Europe is going to get smaller... portion excerpted from National Journal article by Amy Klemper. No link, sorry.

The Pentagon's plans for a major reduction and redeployment of U.S. Army forces in Europe are beginning to take shape, including an initiative to move the Army's European headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden and reduce troop levels from 62,000 to just 24,000 [emphasis mine - when I was stationed in Germany in the 80's - over 100,000 troops called it home] in the next five to 10 years. Gen. B.B. Bell, the Army's top commander in Europe, told his command last week that two of the Army's headquarters in Heidelberg -- U.S. Army Europe and Task Force 5 -- will be merged and moved to Wiesbaden under the plan.

In addition, Bell indicated that the Army's main operating areas will be reduced from 13 to four and that individual installations across Europe will decrease from 236 to 88. In the Grafenwohr area, the Expeditionary Training Command will be joined by a Stryker Brigade and additional commands, according to Bell's announcement. Kaiserslautern will become a major service and sustainment hub where theater logistics and medical support are to be concentrated.

Bell also said the command is working with Italy to procure space to station the expanded 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and that over time the Army's soldier population in the Vicenza area would increase by more than 1,000. In addition, the Army expects to begin moving the 1st Infantry Division from Germany to the United States as early as 2006, with the 1st Armored Division to follow two years later. Bell indicated in his announcement that these troop moves had not yet been approved and are dependent upon the availability of domestic force structure capacity to receive them.

Not mentioned were plans to rotate units through Eastern European training sites. For those of the era... Brigade 75 & 76, anyone? (page 14 of the linked document)

If you read between the lines here - your local Navy base may soon be sporting detachments of Army and Air Force personnel - and vice versa. More of that here. And here - though I think Mr. Wynne is a little optimistic about things.

The GAO likes it, mostly:

The Government Accountability [sic] Office on Tuesday commended the architects of the National Security Personnel System for developing a "flexible and contemporary" system to manage the Defense Department's civilian human capital.

Oddly enough, the Unions disagree.

So, there was some fire in the smoke last summer in those terror alerts in NYC's financial district.

Well, at least Mr. Ullman concedes we're busy. News, sir - we're stripping the schools of instructors *and* students to feed the beast.

For all of the Bush administration's determined efforts to "transform" the American military for the new century, one crucial ingredient has so far been deferred. That is education. But without exploiting the extraordinary educational assets at the Pentagon's disposal, the process of transformation cannot be sustained or kept alive, well and vibrant. The Pentagon leadership has not yet recognized this necessity. In fairness, the Pentagon is busy. It is fighting three wars — Afghanistan, Iraq and against global terror. It is transforming itself. It is coping with the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review and the latest round of the politically radioactive base realignment and closure process. Understandably, with this huge educational system that does a pretty fair job as is, making change has been a lower priority. That is a waste of a colossal opportunity.

Not that there isn't merit in the idea... but with the average career running 22-3 years, there's *already* a lot of school - and a good chunk of what used to be taught in institutions is now being taught in a distributed fashion... on what was formerly the soldier's own time. But they're all lazy bassids, anyway, right?

Snark aside - Ullman has a point... but there *is* a saturation level.