Washington, Dec 25 (ANI): The US Army needs to add at least 30,000 active-duty soldiers to its ranks to fulfill its responsibilities around the world without becoming stretched dangerously thin, senior officials have warned.
"You can't do what we've been tasked to do with the number of people we have. You can see a point where it's going to be very difficult to cope," Undersecretary of the Army Nelson Ford said.
Already, the Army lacks a strategic reserve of brigades trained and ready for major combat, officials said, and units being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving new soldiers at the last minute, meaning they have insufficient time to train together before crossing into the war zone.
But the demand for soldiers extends beyond those countries, with the Pentagon creating new missions that require troops trained in cyber-warfare, homeland defense, intelligence-gathering and other areas, Ford said.
"We have five to 10 new missions, and we are already stretched now," The Washington Times quoted Ford, as saying.
The Army is currently on track to grow to 547,000 active-duty soldiers next year, up from 482,000 before the war.
But Ford and other Army officials say that, with rising demand for ground troops for Afghanistan and other contingencies, the increase is insufficient.
The service needs 580,000 soldiers "to meet current demand and get the dwell time," Ford said, referring to the amount of time soldiers have at home between deployments to train, rebuild and spend with families. (ANI)