America still has the most powerful Army in the world, but two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll, and the force has been stretched to the breaking point. Senior Army officials, like Chief of Staff George Casey, say the Army is "out of balance."
America's Broken Army
How The Army Gets Second Lieutenants
The sharp increase in the number of officers being commissioned by Officer Candidates School is of concern to some senior officers and analysts for two reasons. Those who go through OCS tend to be plucked from among the best sergeants, thereby eroding the noncommissioned officer corps. Also, most OCS candidates don't have the benefit of four years of college — and the wider scope of education — by the time they become second lieutenants. That lack of education can limit them as they progress into staff jobs and higher rank.
The American military is revamping its training programs, emphasizing fighting counterinsurgency more than classical force-on-force conflict. The changes were met with initial skepticism, but many now realize the importance of the new training and troop education.
The Army's premier training ground is changing its courses and training to teach new officers how to handle the guerrilla warfare and nation-building that forces are increasingly seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the wars continue to take their tolls on the soldiers, military equipment is also taking a beating. It costs the military more than $17 billion each year to rehabilitate, repair and modify the Humvees, guns and other equipment battered at war.