Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pentagon desperate for Warm Bodies

(Pam from the House Blend reports)--

When you read the details of the Pentagon's move to deploy military personnel out of the Individual Ready Reserve in this Stars and Stripes article, you realize how desperate the situation is.
The Marine Corps will mobilize up to 2,500 Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve to go downrange, said Guy A. Stratton, head of Manpower and Mobilization Plans. Those called up can expect to be mobilized for 12 to 18 months, with a maximum service time of two years, Marine officials said.

Servicemembers in the IRR have left active duty but still have time on their obligation to serve. Unlike other reserve component troops, they do not drill.

For the past few years, the Marines have used volunteers from the IRR, but the number of Marines volunteering to be mobilized has decreased over the past two years, and now the Marine Corps is about 1,200 Marines short of its needs, Stratton said. “Most of the Marines when we call and talk to them will have told us that, ‘If you need me, call me, but right now, I just, I’m doing other things in my life, so I just don’t want to volunteer right now,’ ” Stratton said.

Of the roughly 59,000 Marines in the IRR, about 35,000 are eligible to be mobilized because the Marine Corps is excluding those who have already volunteered for duty or who are serving their first or fourth years in the IRR, Stratton said.

He said the Marine Corps is looking at mobilizing Marines in the following specialties: communications, engineers, military police, intelligence, aviation mechanics, truck drivers and infantry.
Back in May, I interviewed former Marine Corps Sergeant Brian Fricke, who now works with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, about the possibility of a draft (this was prior to my liveblogging of SLDN's annual dinner).

Q: Can they, in theory, recall you into service now that you're out since you are individual ready reserves?

A: They could, but it's not likely. Typically they call active reservists. We have an active component of active reservists. Those are the ones that you hear are being deployed. IRRs are there on-call, if needed. A lot of IRRs don't PT, don't maintain their uniforms any more, and when they get a phone call, they might not be eligible anymore...Really, the only reason I could see them needing me is if they were fighting on several fronts and they really scraping the bottom of the barrel, because we are the last folks, and then after us, then it's the draft.

Q: You're out now. So would they still call you up?

A: They would call me up regardless. I think that if we're in that situation, where they need to call us...I don't think they would be picking and choosing who they are calling back if we're really in that situation.
I don't know when we're going to hit that draft wall, but yesterday's news makes it pretty clear that Rummy and Co. haven't had enough warm bodies on active duty to deploy for Dear Leader's Big Global Adventures for some time now.

The Army is in the same leaky boat, btw. Stars and Stripes reports that half of IRR members who were given call up orders in 2004 asked for an exemption or delay and hundreds of them failed to show up at deployment stations after receiving orders.

They can't paper this stuff over anymore.

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