Defense

March 15, 2013

Cuts harm programs sustaining all-volunteer force, official says

Spending cuts that took effect March 1 will diminish recruiting, training, and medical and support programs that sustain the all-volunteer force, a senior Pentagon official told Congress March 13.

Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, noted to the House Armed Services Committee that President Barack Obama exempted military personnel accounts from sequestration.

“Although I wholeheartedly agree with his decision,” she added, “the results are larger decrements on other defense accounts, and most notably, the [operating and management] accounts, to compensate for this.”

Sequestration calls for a $41 billion deduction in budgeting across the department through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, with another potential $6 billion “for a total of 9 percent of the total budget to be implemented in the last seven months,” Wright said.

“While we’re going to protect our war fighters’ military pay,” she added, “we cannot do this without the cost of readiness for our force.”

Although their pay won’t be affected, Wright said, service members will feel the pinch in other ways.

“The backbone of this great military institution is our people – active, National Guard and Reserve service members, as well as the civilians who serve throughout the country and the world, are the department’s greatest assets,” she said. Due to operating and maintenance cuts, she added, reduced training will lead to diminishing readiness, and ultimately, lower morale.

“Even as we seek to protect our family programs, where feasible, service members and family support programs will be impacted across the board because of funding decrements,” Wright said. “And that will affect the quality of life.”

The Defense Department’s career civilian workforce has not seen a pay raise in several years, and is likely to be subject to 22 days of unpaid furlough beginning from late April through September, Wright said, noting this equates to a 20-percent pay reduction over that period. This also affects their families and the economies of the communities where they live, she added.

“We’re currently reviewing the priority of family programs and how to minimize the impact and the effects of sequestration to our service members and families,” Wright said. “Although the purpose of sequestration is to evenly cut all programs, we’ll seek to preserve these services as much as practical. We have to make hard trade-off decisions to lessen these impacts and determine how to absorb these impacts.”

The undersecretary said DOD officials recognize the nation’s fiscal situation, but need the Pentagon’s contribution to be sensible.

“We understand the Department of Defense must do its part in addressing the nation’s budget cuts, [but we] must do it in a responsible and judicious manner,” she said.

 




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


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Matt Short

‘Grim Reapers’ introduce Oceana to F-35C

An F-35C Lightning II aircraft makes an arrested landing during a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The F-35C is the carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.   The “Grim Reapers” of Stri...
 
 
Army photograph by Tom Faulkner

Army evaluates DARPA’s futuristic soft exosuit

Army photograph by Tom Faulkner Spec. Rafael Boza, a Soldier from the 1st Infantry Division, tests the prototype smart suit on a three-mile course of paved roads and rough terrain at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Oct. 3, 2014. ...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by SSgt. John Jackson

Marines, Brits turn over Helmand bases to Afghan forces

Marine Corps photograph by SSgt. John Jackson Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, Oct. 27, 2014. The Marine Corps en...
 

 
DOD photograph by Air Force TSgt. Nathan Gallahan

Senior enlisted leaders tour California units

DOD photograph by Air Force TSgt. Nathan Gallahan Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducts a ceremonial oath of enlistment ceremony at the Los Ang...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 
 
Army photograph by David Kamm

Army advances technology at Base Camp Integration Laboratory

Army photograph by David Kamm Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, listens as Bob Graney explains details of the energy-efficient rigid-wall shelter system, Oct. 22, 2014...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>