2008-02-08 / Community

Clinton Calls For Comprehensive Readiness Info

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced that the revised Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Act signed into law by the President on Monday includes the measure she introduced to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the readiness of the ground forces within the Army and Marine Corps. The provision requires the GAO to assess the impact on the ground forces of the troop surge initiated by President Bush in January, 2007.

"President Bush's policies have stretched our military dangerously thin," Senator Clinton said. "This measure will help determine just how much the readiness of our military has been undermined by the President's escalation of troops in Iraq. Our security depends on the military's ability to meet unexpected global challenges in the future."

Senator Clinton's measure will provide greater transparency on the true readiness of the military to better identify where Congress can help focus its efforts. Her amendment builds on last year's GAO requirements and will:

• Assess the ability of ground forces to provide trained and ready forces to meet the requirements of increased force levels of Operations Iraqi freedom and Enduring Freedom above current force levels in effect on January 1, 2007;

• Assess trained and ready forces to meet ongoing operations simultaneously with such increased force levels;

• Assess the strategic depth of the Army and Marine Corps and their ability to provide trained and ready forces to meet requirements of the high-priority contingency war plans of regional combatant commands;

• Identify and evaluate strategic and operational risks associated with current and projected forces of current and projected readiness;

• Identify and evaluate the time required to make forces available and prepare them for deployment; and

• Identify and evaluate likely strategic tradeoffs necessary to meet the requirements of high-priority contingency war plans.

• This builds on a GAO review Senator Clinton secured in the FY07 National Defense Authorization Act which requires the GAO to:

• Assess trained and ready forces for ongoing operations as well as future requirements;

• Assess the availability and readiness of equipment for training and ongoing operations;

• Review current personnel tempo with a particular focus deployment and retention rates for both unusually high and low demand skills;

• Evaluate service efforts to mitigate high personnel operational tempos; and

• Describe current reserve component mobilization policy with an analysis of projected future availability.

Senator Clinton's measure signed into law by the President requires the GAO to complete all requirements of its report to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees no later than June 1, 2008.

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