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American Forces Press Service

Pace Says Military Stretched but Able to Handle Any Threat

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

TOKYO, March 21, 2007 – The U.S. military is stretched, but it is able to do all missions the country asks of it, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace said during a news roundtable with Japanese reporters that actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. military, but there is ample capability in the services to handle any mission, anywhere in the world.

Pace said he submitted his risk assessment to the U.S. Congress in January. That classified document is the chairman’s evaluation of whether the U.S. military can do all the missions it might be asked to do. “What is public is that it is my assessment that we can handle any additional threat that might come our way,” Pace said.

But because of operations in support of the global war on terror, the timelines that the military might need to accomplish those missions might be longer than what would be ideal. “There is no question that we would prevail against an adversary,” he said. “But we would probably not be able to do it as quickly and as efficiently as our own plans call for.”

Pace said that people often confuse what the military would like to do with what it can do if called upon. He used Army deployments as an example. He said the Army would like to have one-year deployments followed by two years at home stations. Instead, the U.S. Army has one-year deployments with one year at home stations. “That type of rotation is not what we would like to do, but it is sustainable,” he said.

But, if called on, the military could do more, Pace said. If another threat developed, the forces already deployed would continue what they are doing, and the Air Force, Navy and reserve components would handle that new threat, the general said. “But again, because you would have to do some mobilization, the timeline would be longer than we would prefer,” he said.

Pace said roughly 400,000 U.S. servicemembers are engaged in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and in operations in support of the war on terror in other parts of the world. With 2.4 million American in uniform, there is still “enormous power” to handle any further threat.

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