The US Army will “temporarily” increase its size by 22,000 soldiers for the next three years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced, on Monday 07/20/2009.

The additional troops are intended to ease the strain of the USA’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Gates said. The extra manpower will raise the total number of active US soldiers from 547,000 to 569,000.

Mr. Gates’s defence budget, unveiled in 04/2009, set aside $11bn (£6.7bn) to fund increases in military personnel.

“The army faces a period where its ability to deploy combat brigades at acceptable fill rates is at risk,” Mr. Gates said. “This is a temporary challenge which will peak in the coming year and abate over the course of the next three years.”

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has proposed an increase of 30,000 soldiers.

Mr Gates’s budget plans have faced fierce opposition from US lawmakers, who oppose his proposal to cease production of the F-22 fighter jet. The defence secretary argued that the F-22, which was designed in the 1980s, was no longer strategically useful.

At its peek there were 170,000 troops in Iraq, today there are less then 130,000 soldiers in Iraq and the number is supposed to decline even more. The US Army sources are not stretched as they were in the peak of the surge in Iraq two years ago, in mid 2007.

Giving the basic fact that to train these soldiers takes over a year and a lot of means, the additional troops will be available in the battle only in late 2010. Until then it will require trained personnel to train them, the new “temporary” three years program is more a partial remedy to the growing unemployment in USA nowadays then a solution to the surge in Afghanistan.
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