DoD

July 12, 2013

Hagel calls DOD education support a strategic priority

Tags:
Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Defense Department’s commitment to military families and to quality education for military children is a strategic imperative that leaders will maintain Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in remarks July 9.

During closing remarks at the Military Child Education Coalition’s 15th National Training Seminar, Hagel announced that the department has selected the first round of schools that will receive DOD educational partnership grants for the upcoming school year. A total of nearly $20 million will go to 15 public school districts that serve 23 military installations across the country, he said.

“These grants to school systems from California to Texas to Maryland will bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, as well as foreign language studies,” Hagel told an audience of teachers, school liaisons, program directors and other education professionals. “This year’s grant selection process is continuing, and we look forward to making more awards in the weeks to come.”

The secretary noted that since 2009, department officials have awarded 186 of the grants, totaling more than $220 million and reaching more than 750,000 students. DOD officials have also awarded grants to improve public schools on military installations, Hagel said; 13 schools received grants during the past year, and 17 more are working through the grant process.

The all-volunteer force has helped build a military that is more capable, more resilient and more respected than ever before, Hagel said. To attract and retain that force, he added, “DOD has had to demonstrate that it will always do the right thing for the families, (and) that Americans don’t need to choose between serving their country in uniform and being a mom or a dad. As a result, the military became a more family-centered institution.”

The secretary said the military community includes 1.8 million children, who face unique challenges based on their parents’ duties. They face the stress of a parent’s deployment, often repeatedly, he said, “or the anguish of coping with a parent who never returns from the battlefield. Or one who does return, but is changed in body and mind.”

The secretary said that family support is and will remain a key part of the all-volunteer force. The fiscal 2014 defense budget request, he noted, includes $8.9 billion in support programs, including the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Hagel listed several other educational efforts in which department leaders participate, noting, “We ultimately share the same goal as all parents and educators – to teach our children as best we can, and make the world they inherit a better, safer place.”

He said part of teaching children involves living out the values they should learn, including honesty.
“So I’m going to be honest with you today about the challenges DOD is facing, particularly when it comes to our new fiscal realities,” he said.

The secretary said that on top of $87 billion in spending cuts during the next decade imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the department faces a further funding reduction of $37 billion by the end of September, and another $52 billion in fiscal 2014. Overall, the sequester cuts will cost the DOD half a trillion dollars during the course of a decade if it’s not stopped, he said.

“Sequester is irresponsible, and terribly damaging, but it is the law of the land as it stands now,” he said. “We teach our children to face their problems head-on, and now we must do the same. We cannot run away from sequester. We must deal with it. Anything less would be irresponsible.”

Hagel spoke regretfully about furloughs, which began this week as most DOD civilian employees have taken or will take the first of 11 unpaid days off, one per week until late September.

“This was a very, very difficult decision; one that was not made lightly,” he said. “The last thing I wanted to do was furlough anyone.”

Hagel said he approved the furloughs, though reluctantly, because military readiness was already suffering.

“Planes aren’t flying, ships aren’t sailing and soldiers aren’t training. You don’t always see or hear about some of these changes, but they are happening,” he said. “Because I could not cut any more into our readiness, in the end I had no choice but to make a tough decision on furloughs.”

He warned that while DOD schools have been sheltered as much as possible, and will remain open and accredited, he can’t guarantee family programs won’t feel some future cuts.

“We will have to make more tough choices in the future,” Hagel said. “Perfect solutions do not exist.”
Although efforts to replace the sequester continue, he said, there is no guarantee they will be successful.

“In my budget meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and DOD senior leadership, I always emphasize that we’re going into this challenge together and that we will come out together,” the secretary said. “ … I won’t choose up between services. We are all one service. We are going through difficult times, which you all recognize and realize, but we will get through those difficult times together.”

Adults can learn a lot from military children’s resilience, adaptability and courage, he said.

“And so today, I leave you with one request – that you continue to do what you’re doing,” he said. “ … Our military children look to all of us. They look to us for guidance and reassurance every day; and supporting them is the most important thing we’ll ever do.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

First enlisted Airmen awarded Weapons School graduate patches

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — History was made June 27, when five graduates of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s Joint Terminal Attack Controller Weapons Instructor Course became the first enlisted Airmen in the school’s 66-year mission to be awarded the Weapons School’s graduate patch. These graduates will now be recognized as subject matter...
 
 

Staying safe during flash flood season

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — July is here with high temperatures and a high chance of flash flooding. The months with the highest probability for thunderstorms are July through September. Las Vegas’ annual rainfall is approximately 4.13 inches, and while this may not seem like a lot of rain, the elevation of Las Vegas...
 
 

Conquer fear, live your dream

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Are you living the dream? Do you wake up with energy each morning or do you need an energy drink to get you going? If you constantly hit the snooze button on your alarm, wake with no energy and low self-esteem, need lots of coffee, soda or energy drinks...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz

Weapons School honors newest graduates

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Gen. Lori Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander, delivers the keynote speech during the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Class 15-A graduation ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev., Ju...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay

Hunters save lives through RPA Human Performance Team

U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay Considering the demands facing the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise, Team Creech has formed their own human performance team to meet the needs of those suppo...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Employment Assistance Program aids military members’ transition

Courtesy photo Members of the Nellis community attend a job fair as part of the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s Employment Assistance Program at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 23. The Employment Assistance Program he...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>