Military Readiness
Decline accelerating in 2006

A Readiness Crisis in the Armed Forces?

Serious and Deepening Readiness Problems
Prompt Excuses and Seeming Inaction

by Winslow Wheeler
Director, Straus Military Reform Project, The Center for Defense Information
11 July 2006

According to a June 26, 2006, memo prepared by the staff of the House Armed Services Committee's Readiness Subcommittee for a closed-door hearing with uniformed representatives from each of the Armed Forces:

From other reports, such as from the Congressional Research Service, we also know that the United States currently spends more per deployed soldier and other per-unit war costs than ever before. Quite literally, increased per capita spending has resulted in lower readiness. Moreover, the high expense and low readiness result from a conflict that -- while highly dramatic in political and personal terms -- is actually quite small in terms of deployed forces compared to the conflicts in Vietnam and Korea.

As reported by journalist Elaine Grossman of Inside the Pentagon, the response from senior military leadership has been to provide explanations that appear to either ignore or contradict the evidence. To its credit, the Readiness Subcommittee held a closed door hearing on the matter, but it is entirely unclear what, if anything, the subcommittee, or anyone else in Congress, is doing to investigate seriously the dimension of the problem and to redress the apparent crisis.

To read Elaine Grossman's important article, click here: "House Memo: Army Unit Readiness for Iraq, Afghanistan Is Lagging" (

The memo of the HASC Readiness Subcommittee, which has been circulating on Capitol Hill, can be read by clicking here (

Note:The HASC subcommittee briefing paper is also available on this site in PDF format, and its background section (excluding the proposed questions for witnesses) is available here in HTML format.

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