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Army Announces Plans To Add Thousands Of Soldiers To Its Ranks
On June 15, the U.S. Army announced that it will maintain an end strength of just over a million soldiers despite previous plans to reduce troop numbers to 980,000 by fiscal year 2018.
“The end strength increase will augment deploying units, and units on high readiness status, with additional soldiers to increase Army readiness and enable us to continue to protect the nation," Brig. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, director of the Force Management Division, said in a statement.
With tensions escalating in areas like the Middle East, East Asia, and North Africa, the Army’s need to retain and recruit more soldiers has become more pressing than in previous years. By then end of 2018, the Army wants to maintain a fighting force of 476,000 active duty soldiers, 343,000 soldiers in the National Guard, and 199,000 Reserve soldiers.
What’s more, units that were previously slated to be cut like the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the 18th Military Police Brigade Headquarters in Europe, the 206th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas, the 61st Maintenance Company, and a combat aviation brigade in South Korea, will continue to be operational under the FY18 budget request.
"These force structure gains facilitated by the FY17 end strength increase have begun, but some will take several years to achieve full operational capability,” Mennes said. “Implementation of these decisions, without sacrificing readiness or modernization, is dependent upon receiving future appropriations commensurate with the authorized end strength."
The Army’s push to fill its ranks may also mean better incentives for soldiers to consider reenlistment. As the branch scrambles to increase troop levels, it plans to increase its bonus budget request for fiscal year 2018 threefold to more than $380 million, according to the Associated Press. In addition, the Pentagon wants to remove eligibility limits on the dollar-for-dollar contributions made to senior enlisted troops’ 401(k) accounts under the new “blended retirement system” to encourage retention across all service branches.
“The top line message is that the Army is hiring,” Maj. Gen. Jason Evans, who recently became the service’s head of Human Resources Command, told the AP.
Regardless of how it manages to grow, enemies should brace themselves for the million-man machine that the Army will soon become.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"