President Bush requested an increase of 74,200 Army troops and the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) was published October 2007 indicating the Army preferred Alternative Three. The intent is to increase the Army’s end strength from Fiscal Year 2008 through Fiscal Year 2013 "to a size and composition that is better able to meet national security and defense requirements".
The Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for Army Growth and Force Structure Realignment has now been posted in the Federal Register and provides readers with the following mailing address for submitting questions and comments:
Public Affairs Office
U.S. Army Environmental Command
5179 Hoadley Road
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010–5401
Although only the mailing address is listed in the Federal Register, it appears this particular Public Affairs Office may also be contacted by the following means:
PH: (410) 436-2556
FAX: (410) 436-1693
As indicated in the Federal Register
"The Army’s preferred alternative identified in the Final PEIS is to implement Alternative 3. This alternative allows for full support of Army modularity initiatives by adding necessary CS Soldiers to the Army’s Active and Reserve components while increasing the size of the Army by six BCTs"
CS is an acronym for Combat Support (refers to unit function) while BCT is an acronym for Brigade Combat Team, H or I BCT refers to Heavy or Infantry BCT
What we know, for fact, is the soldiers that are being sent to Afghanistan and Iraq are being sent on multiple tours; therefore it would seem reasonable to add additional combat troops to increase the end-strength of our Army.
The problem with adding troops is the fact they are either being blown to bits, and/or they are coming home with a host of medical and/or psychological needs that may eventually require treatment at a VA facility. As of 10:00 am EST on January 7, 2008, the Department of Defense is indicating 35,048 casualties for Iraq and Afghanistan. 4,378 dead and 30,670 wounded. The Afghanistan figures are only through December 29, 2007 so the actual toll will be higher.
My opposition to adding more troops is twofold; first I believe in negotiation, not war. Second, my husband is a former combat veteran and receives treatment at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. If they are not already receiving VA care, sooner or later many of the 35,048 casualties, and additional troops that are service connected for medical and/or psychological problems, are going to require care at a VA facility and here is an example of what they might run into…
My husband received a letter from the VA asking him to call to schedule an appointment in the Endocrine clinic, my husband is service connected for Diabetes Mellitus caused by exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange and is seen on a fairly regular basis due to the numerous medical problems caused by Diabetes.
I called the number listed on the letter and after being put on hold for 9 minutes, I hung up and called the main number and was transferred to the clinic extension where I waited on hold for an additional 11 minutes. After a period of twenty minutes I was finally able to schedule an appointment, for next month. Remember, I was calling because the VA sent a letter requesting a call.
What is going to happen to the troops that don’t get a letter requesting them to call? How long will they be put on hold? The majority of the brave men and women whose lives have been put in jeopardy over and over again, by this administration, are suffering from various stages of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder due to multiple combat tours.
Should they, along with the other approximate five million veterans the VA treats, have to wait 20 minutes just to schedule an appointment?
You are now in a position to provide commentary on adding 74,200 troops to our Army. Please take a few minutes to document your position on the subject by writing to the address listed above.