The readiness of American troops for combat could be “worse than most people think,” according to a top budget analyst.
“The readiness situation is worse than most people think because we don’t know how bad it is,” said Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Thursday at an event.
Pentagon officials have warned that, if Congress does not reverse the budget cuts of $500 billion coming over the next decade under the Budget Control Act, readiness will degrade, and more troops will die.
There are a whole slew of things that influence the readiness of a unit for combat. Some are fairly easy to quantify- what percentage of a units manpower slots are filled, especially key roles; how many vehicles and aircraft are mission ready, and what are stocks of spare parts like?
Others may be quantified, but not especially objective. Has a unit fully completed its rotational training schedule for gunnery and maneuver? Has the unit displayed competence at its core Mission Essential Task List (METL). H0w long has it been since the unit did so?
I have little doubt that many units are not as combat ready as they may wish. That doesn’t mean they cannot be deployed, fight, and win. It means they face a much steeper learning curve than we as a nation generally like to see when deploying a unit, as that steep learning curve means lives lost and assets squandered.