Just received word of this very important amendment to the fiscal year 2010 Budget Resolution, sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R., Tex.) and Lieberman (D., Conn.).
Senate Amendment #904 would allow for the U.S. Army to increase the active duty force by 30,000 soldiers, a good first step toward alleviating some of the strain placed on the force and giving Army leaders the strategic maneuvering space needed to address personnel needs and aggressively plan for future requirements. In addition, the amendment aims to do so without increasing the federal deficit (breath of fresh air).
Details of the Amendment show that, by creating a deficit-neutral reserve fund, Congress could allocate monies not otherwise spent during the budget year towards funding an end-strength increase to the U.S. Army from 547,400 to 577,400.
Also, despite reaching its current authorized end strength this year, the Army has not been able to lower the “dwell time ratio” for its soldiers, who continue to spend little more than one day at home for every day deployed. Although the Department of Defense and Army leadership aim to increase this ratio to 3:1, it hasn’t happened. This end-strength increase is a strong step in that direction.
As a nation at war on two fronts — significantly surging on one — we have an obligation to the military to not impose undue, long-term, burdens that can’t otherwise be alleviated. Today we know that our obligations overseas will be continued for the foreseeable future, and this amendment would provide the manpower we need to succeed.
If you’re so inclined, please call our Senator and tell them to support Budget Amendment #904. (And, if you’re really inclined, also call Senator Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) and ask him to co-sponsor the amendment. As the Subcommittee Chairman on Personnel for the Senate Committee on Armed Services, his support is key passing this legislation).