Security Policy Working Group

Panel Presentation ~ Media Briefing ~ Discussion

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Stretched Too Thin?
The Effect of Recent Military Operations
on America's Armed Forces

Tuesday, 19 October 2004  ~  10:00AM - 12:00PM
Marriott at Metro Center  ~  775 12th Street NW, Washington DC
Room: London II on the Ballroom Level

Panel & Description
Media Contact
Map & Directions
Panelist Bios
>>Reference Material<<

Panel & Description

Are recent military operations exhausting the US military – its people, equipment, and budgets? Are we asking too much of our armed forces? Do we have and are we buying the capabilities we need for today's challenges? What remedial steps are need -- in strategy, force employment, force organization, procurement, or training and personnel policy?

Panelists will evaluate the stress placed on US forces by recent military operation and the shortfalls made by these operations. The impact of the Iraq war will be central to the discussion, but panelists will also address the effects of the Afghan war and broader war on terrorism. The meeting will address recent controversies regarding:
  • troop deployment and rotation,
  • force size and readiness,
  • involuntary service extension and other personnel issues,
  • use of the National Guard and Reserves,
  • global realignment of the US military, and
  • Army transformation.

Media Contact

Sean Meyer, phone 413-259-9129; Email: 
[email protected]

Map & Directions

The Marriott at Metro Center is located on 12th Street between G and H Streets, one-half block north of the 12th & G street Metro exit. It is 3.5 blocks north-east of the National Press Building. Metro Center is serviced by the red, blue, and orange lines.


Panelist Bios

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, winner of the 2003 National Magazine Award for his work on the Iraq war, and author of the book, National Defense. From 1996 to 1998, he was editor of the US News & World Report. A March 2004 Atlantic article by Mr. Fallows, The Hollow Army, concludes that "the U.S. military is stretched to the breaking point."

Lawrence Korb is Senior Advisor for the Center for Defense Information and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He was formerly the Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 1981 to 1985 he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense. Mr. Korb has proposed an increase in Army end strength and a new division of labor between active- and reserve components to redress the current pressures on the armed forces.

Col. Douglas Macgregor (USA, ret.) is the author of Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century and Transformation Under Fire. He was formerly a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University and Director of the NATO Joint Operations Center during the 1999 Kosovo war. During the 1991 Gulf War, he commanded an Armored Cavalry squadron. In recent congressional testimony, Col. Macgregor questioned the adequacy of Army transformation efforts, observing that "today, our ground force is apparently exhausted and incapable of securing the stretch of road from downtown Baghdad to Iraq’s international airport."

Patrick Towell is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Formerly, he was Senior Defense Reporter at the Congressional Quarterly, where he reported on defense issues for 25 years. Mr. Towell has recently completed a study of past Army efforts to reduce personnel turbulence in its fighting units, which he briefed to Congress earlier this year. Mr. Towell will address current pressures on deployed forces (active and reserve), how well the personnel management system is holding up, and efforts to transform it.

Carl Conetta, moderator, is the co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA) and editor of The Revolution in Military Affairs Debate web page and the Chinese Military Power web page. Prior to joining PDA in 1991, Mr. Conetta was for six years a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, editor of its journal, Defense and Disarmament News, and assistant editor of the Arms Control Reporter. He is co-author of the 1999 study, The Readiness Crisis of the US Air Force.

Security Policy Working Group (SPWG)
  • Marcus Corbin and Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information
  • Steve Kosiak, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Center on War, Peace, and the News Media
  • Economists Allied for Arms Reduction
  • National Priorities Project
  • David Gold, New School University
  • Carl Conetta and Charles Knight, Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Cindy Williams, Security Studies program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • William Hartung, Arms Trade Resource Center, World Policy Institute
SPWG web page:

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