Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Army says two divisions
unprepared to go to war

The Army chief of staff, however,
blames a shortage of personnel, not
lack of equipment or poor training

Associated Press


WASHINGTON -- The Army has assessed two of its 10 divisions as unprepared for war, the first time in years any Army division has dropped to the lowest of four possible readiness levels, officials said today.

A recent classified assessment placed the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 1st Infantry Division, based in Germany, at C-4, the lowest level of readiness, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki said.

Shinseki said the problem was mainly a shortage of military personnel rather than a lack of equipment or poor training.


Asked whether he was worried about the slip in readiness, Shinseki said, "Sure, anytime a division commander reports C-4, we are concerned." He disputed the notion, however, that the Army is not prepared to fight two major wars at nearly the same time, a standard of readiness that is fundamental to the United States' national security strategy. The fights could be waged, he said, but at a higher-than-usual risk of failure.

Another Army official said the lowering of the ratings for the two divisions was part of a broader administrative change in the way the Army calculates the war-readiness of its units. The 10th Mountain Division and the 1st Infantry Division are only slightly less ready for war than before, the official said.

Those two divisions each have about half of their troops involved in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The rock-bottom rating of war readiness for the 10th Mountain Division and the 1st Infantry Division reinforces the arguments of congressional Republicans who have charged that the Clinton administration is spending too little money on the military and committing it to too many missions. The result, the Republicans argue, is a military that is stretched too thin around the world.

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