Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Fixing the Army (IV): Trim support branch generals, civilianize non-deployers — and start mowing your own damn lawn

By "Petronius Arbiter" Best Defense department of Army affairs Support IMCOM should be completely civilianized as it is totally non-deployable. 6 General officers in IMCOM is somewhat disturbing. IMCOM GO in Korea is particularly disturbing with 22 installations and 17k Army personnel in all of 8th Army. Establish one Army Warfighting Lab under direction of ...

dr.regor/Flickr
dr.regor/Flickr
dr.regor/Flickr

By "Petronius Arbiter"
Best Defense department of Army affairs

Support

IMCOM should be completely civilianized as it is totally non-deployable. 6 General officers in IMCOM is somewhat disturbing. IMCOM GO in Korea is particularly disturbing with 22 installations and 17k Army personnel in all of 8th Army. Establish one Army Warfighting Lab under direction of TRADOC. Resource with a BG and appropriate fiscal and personnel resources to have an impact. Eliminate TRADOC battle labs, use resources saved to improve Soldier equipping and training. Yep, copy from USMC. It works for them only because it is a point of emphasis by Commandant, USMC. Yes, this is small growth in GO corps, but would well serve the Army and the ability to focus on the CSA needs and priorities. U.S. Army MEDCOM is a huge and geographically dispersed command. Maintain The Surgeon General as a LTG. But, there are 19 Medical Department (MC,MS, MSC, AN, VC) GOs on the rolls. If my memory is correct there were 6 at the height of the Cold War. Not to pick on the Veterinary Corps, but are there enough Vets in the Army to warrant a GO? Or is it all about hope? Reduce SJA GO-level positions. Return TJAG of Army to MG. There are 7 JAG GOs serving now. At the height of the Cold War there were 2 on active duty. There are no JAG commands, so why so many GOs? The TJAG makes policy and personnel management decisions, so why so many senior officers? Is this one of those decisions just to give "hope" to those to keep them in the service? Reduce Chaplain GOs back to normal of 2. There are 3 GO Chaplains now. Why does USAREUR have a GO Chaplain with only 4 brigades? There probably are not 40 Chaplains in all USAREUR. This is only a small issue in the grander scale but an indication of the real problem, too much hierarchy. Every GO has a staff and a staff is adding to a smaller "tooth to tail" ratio. Personnel living on post maintain their own quarters area. Specifically, post support contracts should not resource grass cutting. Save some money here. GOs provided for accordingly and they should be. Ensure that quarters areas are again divided by rank; enlisted, NCO, SGM/CSM, junior officer, field grade officer, senior officer and GO. Do not mix senior NCO and field grade officers. They are not the same. An NCO is an NCO and a field grade is a field grade. The Army is not an egalitarian society and can't function as one. Familiarity does breed contempt. This issue varies from post to post.

By "Petronius Arbiter"
Best Defense department of Army affairs

Support

  • IMCOM should be completely civilianized as it is totally non-deployable. 6 General officers in IMCOM is somewhat disturbing. IMCOM GO in Korea is particularly disturbing with 22 installations and 17k Army personnel in all of 8th Army.
  • Establish one Army Warfighting Lab under direction of TRADOC. Resource with a BG and appropriate fiscal and personnel resources to have an impact. Eliminate TRADOC battle labs, use resources saved to improve Soldier equipping and training. Yep, copy from USMC. It works for them only because it is a point of emphasis by Commandant, USMC. Yes, this is small growth in GO corps, but would well serve the Army and the ability to focus on the CSA needs and priorities.
  • U.S. Army MEDCOM is a huge and geographically dispersed command. Maintain The Surgeon General as a LTG. But, there are 19 Medical Department (MC,MS, MSC, AN, VC) GOs on the rolls. If my memory is correct there were 6 at the height of the Cold War. Not to pick on the Veterinary Corps, but are there enough Vets in the Army to warrant a GO? Or is it all about hope?
  • Reduce SJA GO-level positions. Return TJAG of Army to MG. There are 7 JAG GOs serving now. At the height of the Cold War there were 2 on active duty. There are no JAG commands, so why so many GOs? The TJAG makes policy and personnel management decisions, so why so many senior officers? Is this one of those decisions just to give "hope" to those to keep them in the service?
  • Reduce Chaplain GOs back to normal of 2. There are 3 GO Chaplains now. Why does USAREUR have a GO Chaplain with only 4 brigades? There probably are not 40 Chaplains in all USAREUR. This is only a small issue in the grander scale but an indication of the real problem, too much hierarchy. Every GO has a staff and a staff is adding to a smaller "tooth to tail" ratio.
  • Personnel living on post maintain their own quarters area. Specifically, post support contracts should not resource grass cutting. Save some money here. GOs provided for accordingly and they should be.
  • Ensure that quarters areas are again divided by rank; enlisted, NCO, SGM/CSM, junior officer, field grade officer, senior officer and GO. Do not mix senior NCO and field grade officers. They are not the same. An NCO is an NCO and a field grade is a field grade. The Army is not an egalitarian society and can’t function as one. Familiarity does breed contempt. This issue varies from post to post.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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