|I’m posting this in the Iraq and Paramilitary categories, since I’m not sure how many of you check both sections. Also, let me briefly explain the Marine terms so you are not confused. MEF is the Marine Expeditionary Force. It’s a Marine division, Marine Air Wing and support units. MEB is a Marine Expeditionary Brigade, being a Marine Regiment, equivalent air and support units. MEU is a Marine Expeditionary Unit, being a Marine Battalion, equivalent air and support units.
The US has a problem in Iraq, that hasn’t really been talked about. We have run out of troops and this is going to cause some problems for occupation duty.
US Army has 10 active divisions, 2 Armored Cavalry Regiments and 2 Independent Brigades (11.3 divisions). US Marines have 3 active divisions in 3 MEFs. Btw, I am not sure about the 1st ID and I can’t find where the 3rd Brig of the 25th ID is, so if you have that information, I would appreciate the update. We sure could use some “Shaka Dragoons” to chase the Taliban across the Pakistan border right about now (hint, hint).
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
United States (4 divs)
1st Cav, 10th Mtn (2 Brigs), 25th ID (2 Brigs), 1 Brig 82nd AB, 172nd (Alaska)
3 Stryker Brigades: 1 from 2nd ID, 1 from 25th ID, 1 from 10th Mtn.
The 4th Stryker Brigade (2nd ACR) is stuck in Iraq and the 5th Stryker Brigade is Nat’l Guard.
Peacekeeping in Yugo? (1 div)
Afghanistan (.3 div)
1 Brig of 82nd AB
Korea (.6 div)
2nd ID (2 Brigs)
Iraq (5.3 divs)
3rd ID, 4th ID, 1 Brig of 82nd AB, 101st AA, 1st AD, 2nd ACR, 3rd ACR, 173rd AB Brig. British have about a division in Iraq as well.
Marines (we are, after all, in the era of “jointness”)
Less than a division left in the I MEF that is still in Iraq. II MEF has a couple of MEUs afloat in the Atlantic. The II MEB I think has been stood down (used to be in Iraq). III MEF is in the Pacific, backup for Korea, as well as providing the Pacifc MEUs.
We have 7.3 Army divisions deployed. Where are the replacements for rotation coming from?
One of the 10th Mtn Brigades will replace the 82nd Brig in Afghanistan soon. 1st Cav is getting “digitized” and along with the 172nd Brig is the backup for Korea if there are problems there. I’m not sure, but I think the 2 brigades of the 25th are the rotation units for the 2nd ID brigades. That leaves 5 brigades, 1 from 82nd, 1 from 10th Mtn, and the 3 Stryker Brigades for Iraq. Ignoring the Stryker Brigade already scheduled for Iraq, that’s 1.6 divisions available for rotation. Also the 2nd Marine Division in the II MEF could be used.
Poland is sending a Division to arrive in Iraq in July. I would assume that would relieve the 3rd ID, which have been there the longest (and where supposed to go home when the 1st AD arrived). Ukraine is sending 2000 troops, Spain ? and India a division? That would allow another div or so to go home. That leaves me with 3.3 divisions in Iraq that the US needs to rotate and replace.
Some unlucky unit among those 3.3 is going be in Iraq almost 2 years before being relieved unless some changes are made soon. Not to mention, the good ole “individual replacement system” will start having to send green weenies directly to Iraq once they get done with their training. What kind of changes can we make?
There is the usual, like building up the Iraq police force. Want to get real creative, you could almost overnight, reconstitute the Iraq Army divisions. The equipment and manpower is already there, and we are paying them anyway. It would also counter the “Army” approach offered below.
The “Army” Solution
The 24th and 7th Infantry Divisions (National Guard) are going to be activated for occupation duty in Iraq. There are eight (8) other NG divisions, but some of those HQ units are already doing peacekeeping duties, as well as some of the personnel from the units. The 24th and 7th are the ones that have active Army headquarters. It doesn’t have combat support and service support units, but worse case you could scratch them together from existing ad hoc units. It will take about three (3) to six (6) months to get them ready. But if you just concentrate on the “peacekeeping” aspects of the mission, three (3) months is not out of the question. You could even send company and battalion sized units overseas sooner if you had to. But talk about a political cost. Especially, since this would validate the “Army” viewpoint that it doesn’t have enough manpower, making the Rumsfield viewpoint “wrong”.
I welcome your comments.