Study finds shortage of special forces, intelligence analysts
ARLINGTON, Va. — A recent study shows the U.S. military is understaffed in areas such as special forces and intelligence analysts, said Derek Stewart, who directed the study for the Government Accountability Office.
The New York Times first reported Friday that the Marines, Army, National Guard and Reserve fell short of their goals for hiring personnel in vital fields, including translators and explosive ordinance disposal.
On Friday, the Army’s director of military personnel wrote via e-mail that the Times article is accurate but its conclusions are not.
“There are more than 200 Military Occupational Specialties in the Army and that number changes as we, and the world around us, changes,” wrote Brigadier General Sean Byrne.
Byrne wrote that it is unremarkable that the 1 million soldiers in the Army are not balanced exactly across all of the MOSs in an Army undergoing transformation while at war. However, Byrne wrote that the Army would continue to have a market shortage in some areas of expertise.
The Army Reserve has consistently failed to meet its authorized number of intelligence analysts since 2000, Stewart said.
But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Friday that just because branches of the military do not fill an authorization does not mean that they have created a shortage.
“An authorization is how many people that you are allowed to have in a particular field and doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of people you actually need in that given career field,” Whitman said.
The Defense Department is evaluating its force structure and wants to increase the number of personnel in fields such as special forces, Whitman said.
“The best measurement of whether we have the right skills and the right number of people is by how we are doing in the current conflict that we are engaged in and by all measures we have a highly trained, very well-equipped and very well-led force out there,” he said.