Tags: bomb techs | army | military

Report: Army Techs Squeezed by Low Numbers and More Assignments

A military canine handler and his dog in Afghanistan
A military canine handler and his dog in Afghanistan. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 07 November 2019 12:34 PM

Decreasing numbers and rising assignments to protect President Donald Trump and other officials and dignitaries have contributed to a shortfall of Army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians — leaving many soldiers burned out and feeling as if they cannot property train for combat missions, according to a Thursday report.

"We are burned out — and it makes people not want to stay," an active-duty senior enlisted Army EOD tech told Task & Purpose. "It makes us want to find other career options."

EOD technicians work to render explosive devices safe. The units are within all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

When technicians are not deployed, they support local police activities and assist in what are known as very important person (VIP) missions.

However, these non-combat activities have more than doubled in the past decade, according to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report cited by Task & Purpose.

Such civilian missions consumed 690,000 man-hours in 2017 versus 248,000 man-hours a decade earlier, according to the GAO report.

The agency also faulted military planners from each branch for not accounting for such non-combat missions in determining the number of EOD technicians they need for military operations in a given year.

The Army is particularly squeezed by the shortfall, particularly as the growth in VIP missions outstrips the number of new recruits willing to become EOD technicians.

In 2010, Army recruitment data cited by Task & Purpose showed that 1,283 recruits signed on to become EOD technicians. By this year, the number of new recruits plunged 80%, to only 250.

"The workload has gone up exponentially, while the people available to do that mission in the Army has gone down," one Army EOD officer told the website.

But Army spokesman Jason Waggoner countered that planners consider all missions, including non-combat ones, in determining its EOD manpower demands.

"The Army uses multiple homeland security scenarios, in addition to war-fighting scenarios, to determine EOD requirements," he told Task & Purpose.

Still, Army EOD techs said they feel understaffed and overworked, often lacking sufficient time to train for combat operations.

"It's a huge morale hit," one enlisted tech told Task & Purpose.

VIP missions, which include bomb-sniffing dogs to check for explosives or sweep motorcade routes, have long been reserved for current and former presidents, vice presidents, their family members, and visiting dignitaries.

However, the non-combat assignments have expanded in recent years — particularly since presidential candidates receive Secret Service details earlier in the election cycle, according to Task & Purpose.

Certain missions can require a huge number of EOD technicians, for instance.

The GAO report cited a three-city, five-day visit by a foreign dignitary that required nearly 800 technicians from all military branches.

The document did not specify the dignitary, but Task & Purpose reports that it might have been Pope Francis' five-day U.S. trip in 2015. The Pope visited Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia.

In addition, the demand for EOD technicians has increased since President Trump took office. Units now must protect the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, Trump Tower in New York City, and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

These assignments are in addition to protecting former presidents and other duties, Task & Purpose reports.

While the enlisted Army EOD tech told the website that soldiers still enjoyed the non-combat missions, "we just need a break."

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Decreasing numbers and rising assignments to protect President Donald Trump and other officials and dignitaries have contributed to a shortfall of Army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians.
bomb techs, army, military
557
2019-34-07
Thursday, 07 November 2019 12:34 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved