Defense

April 17, 2013

Budget challenges impacting Army readiness

Tags:
David Vergun
Army News Service

Army leaders say if sequestration, continuing resolutions and furloughs continue, equipment reset in Army depots, such as at Anniston Army Depot, Ala., could be delayed. That means that equipment will be delayed in its return to units that need it for training.

Army leaders told Congress that the readiness Americans have come to expect from the Army is at risk if sequestration and continuing resolutions are allowed to go on.

Lt. Gen. James L. Huggins Jr., deputy chief of staff for Operations, U.S. Army, and three other Army generals testified to that at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Readiness Subcommittee, April 16, regarding the Army’s readiness posture.

Huggins told lawmakers bigger impacts in fiscal year 2014 will be felt if the budget is not addressed. Cost deferments in training and modernization this fiscal year will be pushed back to the next, “compounding risk” and creating a “magnitude of challenges ahead.”

Reduced spending for personnel, training and modernization will also limit the Army’s ability to adhere to the commander in chief’s Defense Strategic Guidance, which was designed to sustain U.S. global leadership, he said.

Specifically, Huggins said budget cuts have resulted in the curtailment of around 80 percent of training for non-deploying/deployed units.

Asked what type of training those non-deployed Soldiers are getting, Huggins responded that they are limited to training at the squad level. They are not able to train to higher levels within larger-scale exercises at the national training centers.

Some soldiers are getting the training they need, however. Those Soldiers include those preparing to go to Afghanistan, those in Korea or preparing to go to Korea, and those who are part of the Army’s Global Response Force. All of those, he said, need to be at higher readiness levels.

The general concluded that strategy must drive the way ahead and force structure should then follow, the way ahead should not be resource-driven.

Degraded logistics

Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, deputy chief of staff, Army G-4, said that as the drawdown continues, he’s especially concerned about getting equipment out of Afghanistan and getting it reset so it can be used again.

The equipment drawdown in Afghanistan “is orders of magnitude harder than in Iraq,” he said.

The tenuous overland route through Pakistan and equipment beat up by extremes in temperature and terrain make the process “slow and fragile” he said, adding that a lot of it is being airlifted out, an expensive way to conduct retrograde.

Once the equipment gets back to the United States, it’s shipped to depots and arsenals across the country for reset. But the civilian workers there who make up the Army’s “organic industrial base” are preparing to be furloughed soon, he said. That reduction in manpower will delay reset of equipment, which means it will take longer to return equipment to the units that need it for training.

As well, contracts are being cut, including second, third and fourth-tier suppliers, many of them small businesses, he said. This is creating gaps in the supply chain and the industrial base.

One congressman, concerned the cuts would affect the depot in his home state, asked if those workers would be furloughed as well if the decision is made.

Mason replied in the affirmative.

Reserve Components

Brig. Gen. Walter E. Fountain, acting deputy director, Army National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Luis R. Visot, deputy commander G-3, Army Reserve, also testified. They said the reserve components would feel the impacts of the budget later than the active component.

Both said now is not the time to squander the investments made over the last dozen years to transform the component from a strategic reserve to an operational force.

Fountain added that “readiness is perishable, It’s much less expensive to stay ready than to get ready.”




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AF leaders seek relief from sequestration-level funding

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testify before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriationsí Defense Subcommitte...
 
 
navy-china

USS Fort Worth conducts CUES with Chinese Navy

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) practiced the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Jiangkai II frigate Hengshui (FFG 572) Feb. 23 enhancing the professional ma...
 
 

AEGIS tracks, simulates engagement of three short-range ballistic missiles

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and USS Barry (DDG 52) successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system. At approximately 2:30 a.m., EST, Feb. 26, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops...
 

 

DOD seeks novel ideas to shape its technological future

The Defense Department is seeking novel ideas to shape its future, and officials are looking to industry, small business, academia, start-ups, the public – anyone, really – to boost its ability to prevail against adversaries whose access to technology grows daily. The program, called the Long-Range Research and Development Plan, or LRRDP, began with an...
 
 

Air Force places 18 A-10 aircraft into ‘Backup Status’

The Air Force, with congressional authorization, will convert 18 primary combat-coded A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from active units and place them into Backup-Aircraft Inventory status with the possibility to convert another 18 at a later date in fiscal year 2015. The secretary of Defense has authorized the Air Force to place up to a total...
 
 

AFRL shape-changing materials make form a function

Air Force Research Laboratory research is shaping the future of aerospace. Through research into soft materials called liquid crystal elastomers, AFRL scientists have developed a method to locally program the mechanical response in polymer sheets without the use of actuators and traditional mechanical parts. This research (sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)...
 




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>