PROVO, Utah – Week by week, the Pentagon is deploying hundreds of troops to the Middle East and Africa with little public debate. Under the Obama Administration, Pentagon officials’ war fighting decisions were kept within tight parameters – not so with the Trump Administration.
The Pentagon’s unofficial increase in authority will affect the entire U.S. Military, including the Utah National Guard. Jeff Burton, the commanding general of the Utah Army and Air National Guard, said this means the Utah Guard will likely see an uptick in deployment numbers.
Utah is home to special forces units, a special jet fueling fleet, and the Army’s only linguist brigade. The Military needs these special units all around the world, almost all the time. Burton said the fueling fleet in particular is busier now than it was right after 9/11.
The increase in deployment numbers means lower level officers will be making decisions. This has caused worries that there will be an increase in mistakes, which could result in soldier and civilian casualties.
But General Burton said this isn’t something to worry about.
“When we’re down range in a combat situation, it would be ludicrous to think that a young captain would need to radio to the President to get orders for actions on a particular objective,” Burton said.
General Burton said he hopes the proposed $54 million increase in military spending will mean more money for more training days. He also expressed how necessary it is for soldiers and airmen to constantly train for deployments or attacks.
“The cost of failure is great in the military. The enemy doesn’t care what your intentions were. You better be good at what you do,” Burton said.
However, he expressed great confidence in his soldier’s and airmen’s current abilities, and said the Guard successfully operated in 39 countries last year alone.
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