Sunday, May 06, 2007

CNO Mullen: Navy has no plans to increase Individual Augmentee levels

Above and Left: Navy Individual Augmentees go through combat training. Sometimes known as 'sand sailors', Individual Augmentees (IAs) are basically Navy personnel who either volunteer or are involuntarily transferred to work with the Army in combat duty. There are approximately 13,000 sailors serving in IA billets, split between active duty and reserve components. The majority of IAs serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. In order to accomplish the transition from sailor to soldier, they go through a shortened version of combat basic training and learn Army tactics and doctrines, and train on the various weapons they will use in theater as well as patrol techniques, land navigation, and urban assault.

The Navy intends to hold steady its current level of 13,000 individual augmentees in Iraq and elsewhere in Central Command, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen told lawmakers Thursday in testimony on Capitol Hill.

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee, Mullen told members he doesn’t “see anything in the future over the next or three years that I’m able to predict that requirement to be raised dramatically higher.” In a response to a question from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Mullen said, “We work very hard to predict how many more there will be.”

Mullen noted he met with several IA sailors over the Christmas holiday in Iraq and Afghanistan. The response from those serving in this capacity was “positive,” he said.

Read the rest at Navy Times

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