Defense

May 10, 2012

Vice chiefs testify on readiness, contingency funding

by SFC Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

The services’ vice chiefs testified on readiness during a Capitol Hill hearing May 10, with most stressing the continuing need for overseas contingency operations funding.

“These continue to be challenging times for our nation’s military, and we’ve been at war now for over a decade,” Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Army vice chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s readiness and management support subcommittee. “In fact, at no other time in history have America’s servicemen and women fought for so long a period with an all-volunteer force.”

Austin said the Army is focusing its efforts on balancing force structure, modernization and readiness as keys to success, but will need assistance from Congress with ensuring the continuation of overseas contingency operations funding.

“This funding is imperative to our ability to manage a gradual reduction of our end strength over the next five years from 560,000 [soldiers] to 490,000,” he said. “Lack of OCO funding will drive us to a steeper drawdown, primarily through involuntary separations and other means that could result in significant hardships for thousands of Army combat veterans and their families, and generate a large bill for unemployment and other related costs.”

Austin also noted the Army will need “reset” funding for two to three years after it completes the return of equipment from Afghanistan.

“Absent this funding, we will be required to accept risk in other areas at significant cost with a negative impact on readiness,” he said. “We are confident the strategy that we’ve developed will help us achieve our objectives.”

Navy Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, spoke to the committee regarding the state of the Navy’s readiness.

“We focused on funding the critical elements of readiness as we balanced our investments in future capability, operations and maintenance, personnel, training and spares,” he said. “Our budget proposes reductions in force structure and delays in the procurement of some new platforms to ensure the wholeness of our remaining force.

“Importantly, we invested in maintaining a sustainable deployment model to allow for the reset and stride of our forces in rotational deployments as well as in selected deployments and training for the fleet,” he continued. “Quite simply, we prioritized readiness and capability over capacity to ensure that we deliver a ready and relevant Navy now and in the future.”

Ferguson noted the Navy also depends on overseas contingency operations funds or similar supplemental funding to sustain its readiness.

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said his service has ensured forward deployed Marines are at the highest state of readiness possible, but still face challenges.

“Our forward-deployed units have personnel and equipment requirements that exceed standard allowances,” Dunford said. “The additional equipment is due to the nature of the fight in Afghanistan and the very distributed nature of operations. The additional personnel are required to support staffs and trainers for Afghan security forces.”

Dunford said the Marine Corps estimates ground equipment reset costs will be $3.2 billion based on combat losses, equipment restoration and extending the service life of selected items. “We believe it will take two to three years of overseas contingency funding to complete reset once our equipment returns from Afghanistan,” he said.

Gen. Phil M. Breedlove, Air Force vice chief of staff, told the panel that Dec. 17, 2011, marked the first time in 20 years that the Air Force did not fly an air-tasking sortie over Iraq.

“Despite fiscal pressures, there continues to be an increasing demand for air, space and cyber capability, which is evident in our nation’s new defense strategic guidance,” he said. “In order to keep faith with the American people and provide our unique capabilities upon which the entire joint team so greatly relies, it is imperative that we balance our force structure to preserve our readiness and maintain a risk-balanced force.”

Breedlove said the Air Force must rebalance its active and reserve components to meet joint force requirements without exposing the total force to unfavorable ratios of time deployed to time at home.

“While no plan is free of risk, our analysis tells us that we are at an increased, but manageable risk, as measured against this new strategic guidance,” he said. “As we responsibly rebalance this force, we remain committed to advancements in technology and future investments to continually sharpen our sword.

“Although we will be smaller,” he added, “we will remain an effective and ready force.”

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India¬†– French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year¬†– In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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>