Budget Woes Eroding Army Readiness: Officials

Budget Woes Eroding Army Readiness: Officials

The U.S. Army is grappling with an unexpected funding shortfall that’s “significantly” hurting its ability to prepare for war, the service’s top civilian and top officer said.

Automatic budget cuts and increased costs for the war in Afghanistan have created a potential funding shortfall of more than $15 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said in a joint statement. That includes $7.6 billion in spending reductions, mostly operation and maintenance, and as much as $7.8 billion in war funding.

“The sharp decline over a short period of time significantly impacts readiness which will cascade into the next fiscal year and beyond,” the leaders said today in prepared remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The service has already canceled initial entry training for more than 2,300 intelligence soldiers in response to the automatic cuts, known as sequestration. It may have to also cancel field artillery classes and brigade-level rotations at Maneuver Combat Training Centers.

“With sequestration, the Army will not be able to fully train our soldiers, whether through professional military education or collective unit training,” according to the remarks. “The long-term readiness impacts of the resulting deficit in trained forces will jeopardize the Army’s ability to meet war plan requirements.”

The Defense Department faces $500 billion in automatic cuts over the next decade. That’s in addition to almost $500 billion in defense reductions already included in 2011 deficit-reduction legislation. The first installment of automatic cuts began March 1 and sliced about $41 billion from the fiscal 2013 defense budget.

The Pentagon earlier this month unveiled a base budget of $527 billion for fiscal 2014, beginning Oct. 1. The figure doesn’t include the next round of cuts, which may total $51 billion and reduce spending to $476 billion, excluding war funding.

The federal budget assumes Congress and the White House will reach an alternative agreement to reduce the deficit, though Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse over taxes and revenue.

The ground service stands to lose at least $2.27 billion under next year’s proposed budget. The reduction is part of a larger military strategy to shift emphasis away from the ground wars of the past decade and toward threats in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Army’s base budget, which excludes funding for the war in Afghanistan, would total $130 billion. That’s the least of the three major services and 1.7 percent less than what the Army is expected to receive this year.

The service has started to downsize. It plans to reduce its active-duty, Guard and Reserve components by a total of 90,000 soldiers to 1.05 million soldiers by fiscal 2017, McHugh and Odierno said. Including civilians, the figure totals 106,000 personnel, they said. That may double to about 200,000 personnel if automatic cuts remain in effect, they said.

Odierno during testimony said the U.S. should keep between 8,000 and 9,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. That’s more than what Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis recommended to the Senate panel last month. Mattis, who has stepped down as commander of U.S. Central Command, said 13,600 troops should stay in the country.

The ongoing fiscal uncertainty “poses considerable risk to our ability to maintain a ready force,” according to the statement from McHugh and Odierno. “Each continuing resolution prevents new starts for needed programs, limits reprogramming actions, creates inefficiency and often results in wasteful funding for accounts that we no longer want or need.”

The Army’s investment priorities include network and cybersecurity programs, as well as the Ground Combat Vehicle, which will replace a portion of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle fleet, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which will replace a portion of the Humvee fleet, the officials said.

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I notice the Army is in a death cling to GCV. I also know that the Army IG will audit and may kill ICC Army is in for a realization this isn’t 2008 anymore.

To agree with Lance, and, may I add:
:How many multi-millionaire Defense Contractor CEO’s do we have?”…
“How many MULTI-Millionaire DEFENSE CONTRACTOR CEO’s do we have…???…“
Until, and UNLESS, we address this question, STFU.
Just STFU, DoD, & JCS, &etc…

There’s one at every primary contractor.

Can’t speak to the subcontractors though.

The budget woe complaint only works if you support the current force structure. Even with the proposed Army and Marine Corps cuts, their back at the pre-surge level, which was already too big for a post-Soviet Union military need. The current 1.3 million Active and 860,000 Reserve/Guard personnel military force has been oversized for the last two decades and needs to be cut back by about 25 percent across the board to equate to a peace time (but fully trained and ready) military. And we need to get there in three-years. We just don’t have anyone in the Pentagon with the guts to say so.

Hey GOP and Mr president that’ s what u wanted: joining the ultra left to wreck the military through sequestration.What treasonous behavior

Apparently, we DO have an idiot Taxpayer, who’d rather see America in ashes, than see his taxes go up even a penny…China’s population is 1.3 BILLION, U.S.A. is .3billion… China has ONE BILLION more people than U.S.…Thanks to 2+ decades of it’s “one-child” population control policy, China currently has a pool of 100,000,000 — that’s “One Hundred Million” Military age men, single, who can NEVER get a Chinese wife & family…That’s one third of the entire U.S. population…The so-called “Sequester” is a political stunt, cooked up by BOTH parties, to further distract & confuse the general public…it’s both a dis-information, and mis-information tactic, and “Taxpayer” swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker…The current Pentagon budget is so bloated with pork, waste, fraud, and abuse, that we could both increase manpower, and reduce the budget, both at the same time. Advances in miniaturization, along with nano-technology, and increased use of “Unmanned” air & ground vehicles, also bode well, budget-wise. But bonehead Taxpayer here obviously hates America, and is so greedy with his money, that he’d rather see America in ashes in 2023, or 2033, than see either his taxes go up a penny, or see the waste, fraud, and abuse addressed…And, he thinks we can get by with, oh, one out of 300 citizens serving as active duty Military.…Sorry, Taxpayer, I just couldn’t let your TREASONOUS words go unanswered…After 12 years of the Bush dynasty’s illegal Asian wars, with multiple repeated deployments, our Military Family is reeling,
with alcohol and drug abuse, sexual violence, PTSD, divorce, etc…Why do we have so MANY hurting Troops, AND so many multi-millionaire Defense Contractor CEO’S?…Looks like Mr. Taxpayer likes things the way they are just fine, and wants to further cripple our Defense Capability, by foolish, short-sighted, and selfish Troop number cuts…Why don’t you just go back to your off-shore tax-haven, with Romney, and the rest of the armchair generals? Our Military should never be reduced to over-priced toys made mostly in China, and dream machines that only perform on the drawing board…Our Troops are America’s greatest asset, and we need all we can get, as well-supported as possible. I’d rather pay MORE TAXES, to see THAT. The damage done to the American economy, by the Bush Dynasty’s tax cuts for the super-rich, and dramatically increased spending on 2 illegal wars, couldn’t be fixed by Obama in 4 terms…I remain a proud supporter of America’s Military Family, and I’m ashamed of greedy, short-sighted
armchair general “Taxpayers”…What more can I do to help?

I guess what I don’t understand is that they are seeming to make it out like the sky is falling and we could be facing a strategic loss in capability and readiness unless Congress coughs up more dough.

Yet, isn’t the FY14 base budget something like $526B ??

I’m confused.

I’m not in this business, but my gut feeling is that if the US Army can’t put together a kick ass and ready to go Army force structure and capability with a $526B base Defense appropriations… our national security is in some serious trouble going forward due to some sort of fundamental break down in the equation.

Is this something that Congress is questioning or asking about? Or concerned about? Thanks for any input to better understand.

The issue here is you have no clue how bloated and inefficient a organization with a $500B+ budget can get. I mean, we bought 27,740 MRAP vehicles, from 7 different manufacturers, not including the M-ATV. Only half, 12,726 of those are still even in service, despite the oldest vehicles only 6 years old, and the bulk about 4 years old. We have another 8,000 M-ATVs on order, and many thousands of up-gunned humvees. Of these, only the M-ATV has a future role as an armored car in the force structure. We bought 30,000 vehicles to be used for less than a decade at most. That kind of waste is a great example.

Well, “From Mars”, you asked, and i will answer you. First, well over 90% of Congress is either millionaires, or lawyers, or BOTH. Take my word for it, or do your own research. Most Generals are making enough over $100K/year, that they may as well be millionaires. Big Bankers, Wall St. types, etc., again, mostly millionaires, or may as well be. In America today, this is how it is: MONEY = POWER, and POWER = Money. Money, and Power, are the SAME THING. Politicians have the Power of Money, to Tax, to Spend, to pass Laws, etc… The “RICH” have the Power of Money. That, you understand. So, ALL of Congress, Generals, Big Business, etc., are RUNNING A MONEY&POWER RACKET. Where do they GET that “money&power”…???… FROM US! From “We the People”…So, they want to CONTROL US, to keep the money&power GAME going!…DUH!… IT’S THAT SIMPLE!… This whole “Sequester” is a GAME, that BOTH “parties” — Dems & Repubs, ALIKE, are playing on the American People. Of course, the whole reality of the situation LOOKS much more complicated…deliberately so. The “Money&Power” People hope to keep “We the People”, scared, confused, divided, and uncertain. Why? Simply because they don’t know any better, than to keep playing the “Power&Money” GAME. Congress, is PART of the GAME. That’s how it is. Any more questions? Also, read my other answer here, to “Taxpayer”. I’d rather see a much larger Military Force, where we invest in MORE Troops, not more Big Bucks TOYS! And, cut out all the waste, fraud, and abuse, that’s making a tiny few percentage, TOO RICH…There’s more Multi-Millionaire Defense Contractor CEO’s, than you want to know!… God Bless America.

I’ve wondered about that too. In principle we bought enough to re-equip most of the force in MRAP’s, but for Iraq we could’ve just rotated units through MRAP’s and then dumped them on the Iraqis before pulling out, instead of buying more MRAP than we needed.

We have so many we’re dumping them on municipal law enforcement agencies. We could sell them all to the UAE, Qatar and the Saudis for internal repression duty/regime protection/“police work”.

And Jordan, Turkey, Oman, Yemen…

Bradford,__(1) A sequester is a game, but one in which both the president and Congress play. The president submits a budget that is not fully funded (deficit spending) with taxes and other revenues. Then the Congress adds to it. When it busts the spending caps set by the budget committees — and Congress can’t do its job in cutting the budget back down to those caps — the just issue an edict, either a “sequester” (which is just a proportional reduction) or an “undistributed reduction” (which is what they usually do to pay for their pet rocks, which are usually projects for their local constituencies who vote for them to bring home the bacon). If they did sequester, we Americans would incur more debt. One third of that debt is financed by foreigns (China, Japan, England, Middle East countries — who have surplus budgets).

Bradford,__(2) As a former servicemember and Pentagon civil servant myself (like many of the commentators in these blog posts), I am offended by your comment that believing anything different than the status quo military is treasonous. Isn’t that what we fouught the American Revolution for? I believe we need a strong military (properly trained and equipped), but just not as large. Keeping a large military that’s not fully paid for in taxes (and I agree we ALL need to pay more in taxes if we want these levels of services) adds to our long term national debt, which is on the backs of our kids and grandkids. Is that what you want? A bloated military also leads to many bad decisions, as you and other cite.

Bradford,__(3) I’m not a Republican fat cat or millionaire. I’m an independent, who votes for the person or issue based on the merits. I don’t align myself for any political party (political parties were not mentioned in the US Constitution) or blindly vote for every stupid idea or policy they have. I have no problem with paying more taxes, and in fact paid substantially more in taxes this past year on less income (thanks to last year’s tax act)._(4) The Pentagon needs a bottoms-up review of how it does business, what it buys, how it maintains its equipment, how bigs its bureaucracy is, how many generals and admirals and political appointees it has, etc., etc., etc. They just wont do it themselves and need to be forced to do it. Based on 30 years working inside the Pentagon money game, the only way that will happen is just to cut ther budget!

Correction…“if they didn’t do a sequester, we Amercians…”

Taxpayer, I think we are really more in agreement than it might seem, and I admit my “treasonous” comment was made in haste, and poor judgement, so I’m sorry for that. My point is, I’d rather see MORE troops, better trained, equipped and supported, than to see a few Big Business & Wall St. types getting rich off the Defense Budget. Whether or not we agree on that, it seems we DO agree that there’s too much waste, fraud, and abuse in the Budget. All the Service branches are undergoing major changes, and that means turbulence. But, I also see the branches making needed investments is “doing more with less”, and being both more “green”, and “smart” in how bases are run, etc…

Bradford,_Thanks, and we are more in sync than you think. For example, one way to have both MORE well-trained troops for LESS cost is to move a large part of the Active forces into the Reserves (Reserve and National Guard), and expand that new force structure under a different training concept. Under a militia model concept, training wouldn’t be two weeks each summer and one weekend each month, but three months active duty, including full integration with a non-deployed Active unit, and include a “training deployment.” We’d pay the employers full-pay for a backfill for that three months, but still save half the cost of an Active personnel. That way if an emergency (contingency) arose, the forces are activated and we are at full force. (This is basically what the Army did in Iraq with the National Guard.) But this is such a major change — and a threat to the status quo vested interests — it would probably require one of those independent commissions to assess and recommend for congressional action.

The constitution gives Congress the power to “raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.” I’m all about an army big enough to handle the security challenges we face…but part of raising an army is ‘unraising’ it when the crisis has passed. The Army talks about keeping 490k soldiers on active duty. We cannot afford to have nearly that many. Maybe closer to 390k. We all support the troops, but people are expensive.

Brad: Japan is in hock to 235% of GDP, England is on a borderline recession, the middle east countries have curtailed oil exports to stabilize the price of oil, China ha! its much touted YUAN is a fixed rate currency! A fixed rate currency & they claim 2 be the 2nd largest economy? give me a break! The only countries who have surplus budgets are the mideast oilxporters. The biggest buyer of T-bonds is the federal reserve.……a disasterous monetary policy!

brad…the army “broke” the national guard. It was meant to be a strategic reserve, not a modulated military force. All u posters also forget “stop-gap”, the involuntary extension of troops due for ets, big time morale buster!!!!, it was basically a back door draft, because rummy & wolfowitz & their legion of a*s kissing yes men said charge!!!. How quickly we forgot the Powell doctrine w/respect to Iraq & A-stan. U can’t go in “light” & expect to hold ground with the same sized force, bad policy! In Iraq, we xformed our army into a urban area coinops organization. In A-stan we should have been out in Jun. 2002, mission accom. Instead we went down the road of nation building, so we can put a picture of an illeterate afgan girl on the cover of nat’l geograph holding a tuba, that she can’t even play! w/4k+kia? wtf! over, then in Iraq after change of adminis. we cut & run, at least the kurds have held their own, but now that SECDEF Hagel is floating 20K boots on the ground in Jordan, why didn’t we keep those 20K in central Iraq & follow through with the sunni sons of Iraq. I think if we did, the country would at least be 2/3rds stabliz. The shia in the south would prob. remained neutral with al-sadr hedging his bets, playing the persians off the U.S. 4 more $$$. The whole area is a giant sheet storm. I don’t hear anyone talking about israel getting the pick of the best equipment left behind either?

Splitting hairs here Mars, but the $536B is for the entire DoD, not just the Army. The problem they’re having with the budget cuts is not necessarily the cuts themselves, but rather them coming amid the most confusing fiscal year in recent memory and a mandated 10% cut on every program item in the budget whether it deserves it or not. The DoD started FY13 with a Continuing Resolution which meant it was only authorized to spend at FY12 levels, but Congress kept telling them it was okay to spend at their requested FY13 rate because it would be retroactively fixed. Not only was the FY13 budget never enacted, but the sequestration meant additional cuts on top of that so they had to make up a significant shortfall in short order so they’re cutting things that are easiest and don’t involve breaking contracts like training and maintenance.

Nothing worse than a negative-Nelly Repubtard, except a surrender-monkey Dem…WE THE PEOPLE can easily afford a 500K standing Army, but a 1,000K / MILLION MAN Army makes more sense…The “crisis” will NEVER “pass”, that’s just archaic, obsolete, 20th Century dinosaur-brained musings…The Constitution merely intended that every 2 years — being a House of Reps election term — be used as a budget basis, instead of annually arguing over growth rates…As Global population growth rates continue to rise into the foreseeable future, any attempts to shrink Troop strength levels is at best short-sighted and at worst Treasonous…

Darn. I sure hope you’ve got a a short-line to the JCS… Bush jr. *DISBANDING* the Iraqi army, instead of dis-arming and confining to base, only proves WH / DoD-level incompetence…We’re at least 10 years behind where we should be, going in to the 21st Century…Drones&Cyber,etc., will only close the humint/sigint gap so far…And the U.S./Conus social structure is still too fractal-ated&pixel-ated…The non-issues of “gays in the military”, and “women in combat roles”, should have been fully internalized, rectified, and resolved, in the 1970’s / 1980’s, & 1990’s…
Are those planned 20K Troops heading to Jordan, on their way also to Syria, or is that a detour, or on-the-way side trip…???…And, how is/are the 2016 — 2020 NEW POTUS plans progressing…???…

What we see here is manipulation by the power brokers to bilk the people out of more of their rights and funds. Cypress has led the way for other nations to follow their example of taking citizen funds due to financial hardship. Ever notice how the power brokers and the super-rich stay insulated from economic downturns etc? When they are calling the shots and regulated the rules to benefit them at every turn. The ultimate goal is an Orwellian society of genetically selected, scientifically enhanced folks to replace the current gene pool. The slow eroding of the (free world) the rise in Radicalism, it is all an engineered program. Most citizenry are like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that is warming up, eventually cooking the frog. The military is being dismantled because they are a battle hardened threat to what is coming. Hard to create that Orwellian-Sharia Law society when you have so many freedom loving, battle hardened military folks who swore an oath to the Constitution, not some God or some King or some powerbroker. What cannot be controlled is a threat right? The most powerful military ever seen on Earth to this date is a problem I would guess.

Agreed 95%+, Old Sergeant…But don’t forget, most of the “wealth” in Cyprus’ banks, was Russian mobster / organized crime money…Cyprus had become the de-facto “offshore tax haven” for Russian oligarchs…And, they deidn’t seem to mind so much, losing their ill-gotten gains…“Easy come, easy go”, right?…*ALSO*, Your so-called “Radicalism” , and “Sharia Law”, along with the very word “Orwellian”, are all BUZZ-WORDS that TPTB, and the “New World Order” “Global Ruling Elites” use, to keep the masses agitated and running scared.
If a bunch of Islamic countries want to impose Sharia Law internally, why should America be too worried? Do you know that under so-called “Sharia Law”, both compound interest, and usury interest, are generally outlawed? The whole “Western World” / U.S. banking system is a house of cards built on the, Ponzi-scheme *SCAM* of compound interest, and fractional reserve banking. Hence, the end of the Gold Standard, and the creation of the Federal Reserve…and the rise of Fiat Currency, and “credit”…we’ve al been turned into both DEBT SLAVES, and WAGE SLAVES…The “Future” which you FEAR, is HERE, and quickly becoming the PAST…But, Oath Keepers is sponsoring a NASCAR, so, “Let’s Go Racing”!…

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