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My number one priority for our military is restoring readiness. Regardless if you think we should keep a robust presence in Iraq or immediately redeploy our troops to the United States, all Americans should be incredibly concerned at the extremely strained readiness of our Armed Services, especially the Army and the Marine Corps.

At a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “Our Service members, in particular our ground forces and their families, are under significant strain. However, they remain dedicated, they are resilient and combat hardened, and they are taking the fight to our enemies. I do not take their service for granted and recognize that their resilience has limits. I am extremely concerned about the toll the current pace of operations is taking on them and on their families, on our equipment, and on our ability to respond to crises and contingencies beyond ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Our troops are clearly strained by repeated, fifteen-month deployments, and the Army is burning through supplies and equipment at an alarming rate. In this age of global threats, I am gravely concerned that America is devoting so many military resources to Iraq.

Americans should be rejoicing that things are better in Iraq, but our ultimate focus remains our military’s ability to respond to future threats. We live in a dangerous world. As long as our force size in Iraq remains where it is, I do not feel that our military could respond to a threat in a manner that everyone expects. The question of redeployment from Iraq is no longer one of politics or opinion. It is a question of national security, and it is a critical question for our nation.