DONNELLAN: Still no secretary of the Army for Trump admin

To the Editor,

This administration is a year-old and still we have no secretary of the Army. Congress blames the president — the president blames Congress.  They’re both acting like little kids in the schoolyard fighting over something stupid. While they roll around in the dirt our Army is being seriously weakened. Further, that neither of them were aware of just how serious this was until one senator read about it in the newspaper.  Why does it matter to all of us?  Their weakness causes all of us to become more vulnerable.

Army recruitment is down — that’s not surprising after nearly 17 years of multiple deployments, some reaching six tours.  Further, we are misusing our Guard and Reserve forces — at times in Iraq and Afghanistan they represented half of the active force. These forces are to be held in reserve until needed.  And then used sparingly.

What we have seen is Uncle Sam taking advantage of part-time employees. I mean no disrespect to the Reserve and Guard who have fought and died in these wars and serve just as honorably as anyone else. However they are only paid for time when they are deployed.

Last month I read they were not meeting their recruitment quoted. So rather than research this and try and strengthen the Army, they lowered the standards and waved use of marijuana as a bar — only to reach their goal of 69,000. Next year’s goal is 80,000 which puts them further in the hole.  So now, in addition to last year’s low standards, the Army will be accepting people with a history of “self mutilation, bipolar disorder, depression, and drugs and alcohol abuse.”

Are you comfortable with that?  I’m not — nor are the soldiers who are going to have to train and serve with these people, which will lead to more of our solid soldiers not re-enlisting and therefore recruitment problems, which will bring on even lower standards.

If I can see this, why can’t the people in Washington whom we pay a great deal of money to make sure things like this don’t happen.  Now that the media has brought it to our attention, Washington is running around like the Three Stooges claiming they are on top of it.  We need a Secretary of the Army and one with a backbone, please.

Sincerely,

Jerry Donnellan

Director

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland