Friday, January 07, 2005
The Army is likely to make a temporary 30,000 increase in troop numbers permanent as it struggles to ease the burden on forces strained by the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army general said Thursday. The general, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the boost in the Army's ranks had become necessary for the military to meet its growing overseas commitments. A year ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld allowed the Army to temporarily boost its ranks by 30,000 to reduce stress on the force. But he has long opposed a permanent increase in the size of the Army. Rumsfeld, with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, instead has been pushing a plan to increase the number of combat ready troops by converting cooks, accountants and truck drivers into front line soldiers.