Thanks, But No Thanks

By Marjorie Censer / May 19, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Army does not require more active -duty end strength authority than it now has, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said today.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told Casey at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee he'd like to give the Army temporary additional end strength through the end of fiscal year 2009 to provide “some latitude." Additionally, Lieberman has introduced an amendment to the FY-10 budget resolution that would boost the Army's active size by 30,000.

Though he did not reject outright the idea of a temporary increase, Casey said what he's “not ready to sign up for just yet is whether we need to increase the active Army beyond 547,000,” he told the committee.

“An active Army of that size plus the Guard and Reserve -- that's 1.1 million folks and, if the demand comes down, we should be able to provide the country with sustainable capability at appropriate deployment ratios at 1.1 million.”

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Casey said he has discussed with Defense Secretary Robert Gates the proposed increase, and they have opted not to support it.

“It comes down to it's about a billion dollars to have that increase, and that's a lot of money,” Casey said.