Armed Forces News

Some 120 retired flag and general officers from all services wrote President Bush on Feb. 6 urging a permanent expansion of 40,000 to the Army’s end strength. Coordinated by a group called the “Critical Issues Round Table,” the letter made a “strong endorsement” for an “immediate need to add to the active-duty military end strength.” They also wrote: “We strongly support the immediate permanent authorization of an additional 40,000 to the Army’s end strength along with the required additional funding.” In opposition, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insists that the deployment tempo is a temporary “spike.” Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, agreed with Rumsfeld, saying, “We have to be careful that we don’t create a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Meanwhile the Army has announced it is temporarily adding 30,000 troops, although the Bush administration’s $401.7 billion defense budget contains no funding for the increase.