Defense

July 26, 2013

Vice chief addresses current Army challenges

While budget cuts and sequestration are a challenge, Americans won’t accept them as an excuse for the Army failing to maintain a fighting force able to win the nation’s wars, said the Army’s vice chief of staff at a briefing to staffers at the new Headquarters Department of the Army, July 24, 2013, at the Pentagon.

 
While budget cuts and sequestration are a challenge, Americans won’t accept them as an excuse for the Army failing to maintain a fighting force able to win the nation’s wars, said the Army’s vice chief of staff.

“They don’t want to hear that sequestration makes our job hard,” said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John Campbell. “If they ask us to do something, our nation expects us to be able to do it.”

Campbell spoke July 24, at the Pentagon, before a packed room of Army officers and a smattering of civilians as part of a briefing for staffers new to Headquarters Department of the Army, new to the Pentagon.

The officers and civilians in the audience will contribute to the teams responsible for developing policy and programs for the Army, and staffing those proposals and changes to ensure they are ready for review and possible approval by Army senior leaders.

“You can make a huge difference to the Army staff and how it moves,” Campbell told them. “You’re coming at a time when we are going to have to make some very important decisions for our Army. We are going to get smaller.”

Campbell told the new staffers that he, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno, and Secretary of the Army John McHugh are focused on “priorities and risk,” and asked staffers to keep that in mind as they go about their work.

“That’s what I need you to think about, as you present solutions as you work your staff actions, he said. “How does it fit in the secretary’s and the chief’s and the Army’s priority, and what is the risk if we do or don’t do that. Keep that in mind.”

As those officers go about their business in the Pentagon, some of the challenges facing them include sequestration, budget cuts, and civilian furloughs. None of those are excuses, Campbell said, for not completing the Army mission.

 

OCO shortfall

With the drawdown in Iraq complete, and the Afghanistan withdrawal coming soon, money meant for war fighting will disappear as well. That money paid for extra Soldiers and paid for equipment and materiel to fight the war. But, Campbell said, there is a shortfall in what is called the “overseas contingency operations,” or OCO, budget for this fiscal year.

Campbell told the new staffers the Army has an $8.3 billion shortfall in the OCO budget that it is working now to rectify. About $5 billion of that can be met by moving money from other accounts, but that requires “reprogramming” and approval by Congress, and the Army is waiting on that now.

Army civilian furloughs have helped to pay for some of that as well, but there is still a shortage in funds to pay for the war fight.

“We still have a bill this year of $1 billion to support the war fight that we don’t know how we’re going to pay for,” he said. “We have to get that paid before we address the furlough piece.”

 

Credit where due

Traditionally, those in the Army, both soldiers and civilians, are not interested in taking credit for the work they do.

“It’s not in our DNA, we don’t take credit for stuff,” he said. “We’ve all kind of grown up in a culture where we don’t take credit for stuff, just get it done.”

But the general said the Army does things to support other services, things that come out of Army budgets.

“Every single day, 30-40,000 soldiers at theater level are working with combatant commands providing sustainment, intelligence and signal capability, for instance, and other forms of support, costs taken out of the Army budget,” he said.

 

Grandfathered retirements

Campbell said that about 48 percent of the Army budget involves personnel, and that includes retirement for Soldiers. One concern for soldiers who may end up being retired early, is what will happen to their retirement if personnel budgets are cut.

The general said he believes that those in the Army now should be “grandfathered” on compensation for retirement, that their retirements will not be affected, including those that are asked to retire early. But in the future, he warned, there may be new rules for new soldiers about how retirement and other compensation is paid.

 




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


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, takes flight July 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-3...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

Navy photograph The Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18 after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman’s California facility.   The M...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano

F-16 collision-avoidance system could save lives

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano The Air Force Research Laboratory Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System will automatically take over an aircraft’s flight controls if a crash is imminent. The technolo...
 




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>