From 2006 December

U.S. Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker told reporters Dec. 14 that he believes the Army is experiencing "momentum" that mandates buying new equipment for its reset and recapitalization, particularly Future Combat Systems spinout technology in coming years, and that the United States should boost its overall defense spending to pay for a "long war" buildup.

"This isn't an either or," the chief of staff said. "You don't want to buy old stuff. What you want to do is when you replace equipment you've worn out, you want to buy the new stuff."

Testifying in front of the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, Schoomaker likewise reiterated congressional testimony and said that at the beginning of Iraq military operations in March 2003, the Army was "underfunded" about $100 billion, resulting in nearly $56 billion worth of equipment "shortages" across the active, Army National Guard and Reserve components.

"Frankly, we entered this war flatfooted," he told the commission.

"We've got to dig ourselves out of a hole," Schoomaker said. "The equipment we buy to get ourselves out of a hole has got to be new equipment and the equipment we replace has got to be new equipment."

Now facing the "long war," Schoomaker said the United States was closer to the beginning of another Cold War-length engagement rather than the end.

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Topics of Interest

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker says he's confident that the restructured Future Combat Systems program has enough leeway built in to compensate for unforeseen developmental problems. "We...

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