Military Overstretch?

photoThe war in Iraq has taken its toll on the American military, and a sizeable chunk of the National Guard and Reserve troops are now actively deployed. With retention rates being artificially propped up by a Pentagon "stop loss" order there is concern that the United States does not have enough ground troops to enforce the Bush doctrine.

Overstretch has a real impact on the lives and morale of U.S. soldiers. Being unable to leave the military when planned or being assigned to work that you were not specifically trained for undermines a soldier's sense of security.

But there are few ways to build up ground forces. One is reinstating the draft, which most believe is not a political possibility under the present circumstances. The lack of that option places in turn a huge burden on recruitment and retention of military troops.

Hear a discussion on whether the U.S. military is dangerously overstretched and what the solutions might be.


Mark Mazzetti, Los Angeles Times defense reporter

Cindy Williams, Senior Research Fellow of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and manager of the department's 'Transforming the Rewards for Military Service' project

John P. White, Lecturer in Public Policy and Chair of the Kennedy School Middle East Initiative, served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1995-1997, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1978-1981, and Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics from 1977-78

Brigadier General John Libby, adjutant General, Maine National Guard

Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Operation Truth, served as a Platoon Leader for 3rd Platoon, B Company, 3/124th INF (Air Assault) FLNG.

This program aired on September 30, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.


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