President Bush will use his new budget to propose cutting the size of the Army Reserve to its lowest level in three decades and stripping up to $4 billion from two fighter aircraft programs.
Under the plan, the authorized troop strength of the Army Reserve would drop from 205,000 — the current number of slots it is allowed — to 188,000, the actual number of soldiers it had at the end of 2005. Because of recruiting and other problems, the Army Reserve has been unable to fill its ranks to its authorized level.
Army leaders have said they are taking a similar approach to shrinking the National Guard. They are proposing to cut that force from its authorized level of 350,000 soldiers to 333,000, the actual number now on the rolls.
Some in Congress have vowed to fight the National Guard cuts. Its soldiers and resources are controlled by state governors unless Guard units are mobilized by the president for federal duty, as Bush did after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.Naturally, this doesn't address some pretty important points-- what about the inability of the Reserve to cope with the Gulf Coast disasters? And troop levels stretched to the breaking point in Iraq? And doesn't this sort of go against the idea of 'Homeland Security?' I realize that all of those American flag lapel pins the GOP favors are doing a cost-effective job of keeping us protected, but...