Analysis of the U.S. Military's Ability to Sustain an Occupation in Iraq: An Update   [open pdf - 129KB]

This analysis is preceded by a letter from Douglas Holtz-Eakin of Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to Congressmember John M. Spratt Jr. regarding his request to compare CBO's prior estimates of the size of an occupation force that the U.S. military can sustain in Iraq with the military's actual practice. From the Letter: "The Department of Defense (DoD) has made some policy decisions over the past two and a half years that have increased its ability to sustain a larger occupation force compared with CBOs previous estimate. Those decisions include terminating the U.S. military mission in Bosnia, reducing the U.S. presence in North East Asia, and adopting somewhat more demanding goals for how rapidly U.S. forces should rotate through extended deployments. However, the majority of the difference between the size of an occupation force in Iraq over the past two and a half years and CBOs estimate of the size of a sustainable force derives from DoDs employing practices that depart from the standards that DoD states are preferable and that CBO uses in its analysis. The most significant such practice has been deploying active- and reserve-component units at rates in excess of what are generally considered sustainable."

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