Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida introduced a bill Thursday to put the brakes on the proposed U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. His bill, the Limited End Strength Reduction Act, would slow the annual drawdown to ensure troops remaining behind have the resources they need, he said in a news release Friday.
"Our men and women in the Armed Forces do not need to continue to be the bill payer for fiscal irresponsibility," said West in a statement announcing his move. "We cannot ask our Army and Marines to fight these wars and not supply them with the resources they need to end these combat operations without undue risk."
The bill aims to slow the pace of the government’s end strength reductions by placing limits on the number of troops than can be eliminated annually. It calls for a reduction limit of 15,000 Army personnel per year during fiscal years 2014 through 2017. The bill also requires the Marine Corps not be reduced by more than 5,000 members annually during the same period.
The Limited End Strength Reduction Act assures that the military has the resources necessary “to prevent overly burdensome or repeated deployments among our men and women serving, who have been at war now for more than ten years,” West’s statement said.
"Our men and women in uniform have paid a great price already, with years away from their families, serious injuries, both physical and emotional, and all too often, with their own lives," West said. "We owe it to our military to continue to provide them the resources and support needed, and the Limited End Strength Reduction Act does just that."
West’s announcement of his bill included an endorsement of “full support” from California Republican Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the United States House Armed Services Committee. “No one knows the perils of an insufficiently manned Army better than Allen West," said McKeon in the statement. “His combat experience and service to this nation, both in Congress and in the Army, give him unique expertise. This legislation helps us not only pave a path to security, it eases the strain on our heavily-stressed military.”
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