Defense

June 12, 2013

Hagel details budget request, calls for more base Closures

Jim Garamon
American Forces Press Service

Sequestration and the need for another base closure and realignment commission headlined Defense Secretary Chuck Hagelís testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committeeís defense subcommittee June 11.

Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the presidentís request for $526.6 billion for the Defense Departmentís fiscal year 2014 budget and an additional $79.4 billion for overseas contingency operations.

This budget enables the department to support troops still at war in Afghanistan, protect readiness, modernize the militaryís aging weapons inventory in keeping with the presidentís strategic guidance and sustain the high quality of the all-volunteer force, Hagel said. ìThis budget also continues the departmentís approach of the last couple of years of targeting growing costs in areas of support, overhead, acquisition and pay and benefits.

But the specter of sequestration hangs over this budget. DOD is absorbing $37 billion in fiscal 2013 spending cuts, which has necessitated furloughs of 700,000 civilian employees for up to 11 days.

DOD also has cut facilities maintenance, instituted hiring freezes, cut overhead and reduced important, but lower-priority, programs, the secretary told the senators, noting that the department has submitted a request to Congress to allow Pentagon officials to shift $9.6 billion in funding.

We ask this subcommitteeís assistance in providing rapid review and approval of this critical reprogramming request, Hagel said.

The spending cuts have forced the services to reduce training and maintenance of nondeployed operating forces, Hagel said.

ìThe Army has stopped rotations at its key combat training centers for all but deploying units, more than a dozen combat coded Air Force squadrons either already have or will soon stop flying and the Navy has curtailed deployments,î the secretary said.

The fiscal 2014 budget request is based on $487 billion in spending reductions over 10 years mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 – it does not include the effects of sequestration, Hagel told the panel, and if sequestration continues, it will mean a further $500 billion on top of the already agreed-to cuts.

ìThe presidentís [fiscal] 2014 budget replaces sequestration and gives the department the time and flexibility to plan and implement spending reductions wisely and responsibly,î he said.

Under this request, Hagel added, DOD has identified $34 billion in new savings, including weapons program restructuring and terminations that achieve $8.2 billion in savings, slowdowns in military construction, and reductions in other programs.

The budget requestís military compensation package ìpreserves DODís world-class pay and benefits while putting our military on a more sustainable path for the future, Hagel said. It includes changes to the TRICARE program to bring the beneficiaryís cost share closer to the levels envisioned when the program was implemented.

Hagel called on the committee to support DODís need to eliminate excess infrastructure. The budget request calls for one base realignment and closure round in 2015.

BRAC is an imperfect process, and there are up-front costs, but in the long term, there are significant savings,î the secretary said. He noted that previous BRAC rounds now save $12 billion a year.

ìAlthough there are clearly opportunities to achieve significant savings by improving efficiency, consolidations and reducing overhead, the scale of the current spending reductions will also require cuts and changes to military operations, he said.

The budget request isnít all about cuts, Hagel noted. The defense strategic guidance issued in 2012 identified areas that must be increased. These include implementing the military rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, maintaining Americaís nuclear stockpile, increasing cyber capabilities and sustaining the growth of special operations forces.

Finally, this budget seeks to preserve a combat-ready force and sustain the high-quality all-volunteer force, he said.

The budget is the best effort to inject some certainty into the fiscal environment, Hagel told the Senate panel, noting that changes in top-line spending would require changes to the budget plan.

Consequently, I directed a strategic choices and management review in order to assess the potential impact of further reductions and plan for those continued reductions,î the secretary said.

Hagel assured the senators that the Defense Department will continue to find new ways to operate more affordably, efficiently and effectively.

However, as Iíve stated, continued cuts on the scale and timeline of sequestration will require significant reductions in core military capabilities and the scope of our activities around the world, he said.

Hard choices remain, the secretary said, and continued partnership with Congress is essential.

In the past, many modest reforms to personnel and benefits, along with efforts to reduce infrastructure and restructure acquisition programs, were met with fierce political resistance and not implemented, Hagel said. ìWe are now in a different fiscal environment. New realities are forcing us to more fully confront these tough and painful choices, and to make the reforms necessary to put this department on a path to sustain our military strength for the 21st century and meet new and complicated threats.




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


 
 

 

Headlines May 29, 2015

News: U.S. Army chief opens door to embedding U.S. troops with Iraqi forces - After the fall of Ramadi, the Iraqi Security Forces need military and political leadership, Gen. Raymond Odierno says.   Business: No acquisition strategy yet for LCS frigates - Details of the new Littoral Combat Ship frigate program’s acquisition strategy are still being reviewed,...
 
 

News Briefs May 29, 2015

Finnish navy: Underwater intruder possible foreign submarine Finnish military officials say that an underwater object the navy chased last month in territorial waters and dropped several depth charges could have been a foreign submarine. A navy investigation released May 28 says that technical analysis did not provide sufficient proof of the presence of a submarine...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Chad Bellay

F-16 test pilots hit the ‘road’ to help train USAFE pilots

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kyla Gifford Three F-16s assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on a refueling mission last year. Two F-16 test pilots from the 416th Flight Test Squadron recently returned from a &#...
 

 
Navy photograph

Its reign in the fleet over, naval Sea King helicopter now rests at Pax Museum

Navy photograph At more than 54 feet in length with a 62-foot rotor diameter, the mighty SH-3A Sea King helicopter sits in its final spot at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. Designed as an anti-submarine warfare helicopter,...
 
 
boeing-korea

New Boeing Avionics Facility to enhance ROKAF readiness, affordability

Boeing formally opened a new avionics maintenance and repair center in the Yeongcheon Industry District of Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone May 28. The 10,000 square-foot facility will test and repair aircraft electrical syst...
 
 
Navy photograph by John F. Williams

ONR testing high-speed planing hulls

Navy photograph by John F. Williams A ship hull model attached to a high-speed sled moves through waves at the David Taylor Model Basin at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock, during Office of Naval Research -sponsored rese...
 




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>