Wonder how many of these cadets aren’t telling?
The White House was asked about troop levels with regard to the Afghanistan announcement and where Defense Secretary Gates was on his review of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (via transcript).
GIBBS: Well, I have not heard an
update from the Secretary on that. I know that obviously the President
wants that policy changed. In terms of — I mean, obviously it’s not
just Army. This is Army and Marines, as well as — well, Army and
Marines. They are — this was very specifically asked in terms of
whether force flow options would interrupt either Marine or Army
policies that have been instituted to give longer breaks for tours of
duty and then return home. The Joint Chiefs, to a commander, all told
the Commander-in-Chief that they could meet the force requirement
without interrupting what they had instituted in order to provide that
time at home and away from the tour of duty.
Q But the troops are stretched thin. I mean, it’s not —
GIBBS: No doubt. And I think that the President was very clear in
wanting to see the Joint Chiefs to, quite frankly, ask them very
directly whether that was the case. There’s no doubt that there has
been for many, many years a strain on our forces; that that strain has
caused repeated tours. And only recently has Secretary Gates and others
instituted policies that ensure that we had time outside of a theater
of war and that they believe was necessary to maintain an all-volunteer
force, which they think obviously is tremendously important, as well as
just dealing with the stress physically and mentally on them.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)