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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Army: Only 2 Brigades Ready To Fight -- By Jeremy Herb, The Hill

Budget cuts mean only two Army brigades are combat-ready, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday.

Odierno made the admission at an Army conference, where he said thousands of soldiers might not be properly trained for deployment.

 “Right now, we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That's it. Two,” Odierno said at the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference.

“The worst-case scenario is you ask me to deploy thousands of soldiers somewhere, and we have not properly trained them to go, because we simply don't have the dollars and money because of the way sequestration is laid out, that it makes it more difficult,” he said.

Odierno said the Army hoped to have seven brigades prepared for combat by the end of June. The numbers did not include those brigades deploying to Afghanistan, the Army general said, but even those brigades aren’t trained for combat.

“They are trained to be trainers and advisers, do force protection, all of those kind of things. They are not trained as brigades to conduct combat operations, because that's not their mission in Afghanistan anymore,” Odierno said.

Odierno’s concerns underscored the budget problems the Army faces due to sequestration and other budget issues, including the prospect of a full year continuing resolution.

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