Army General Sees No End in Sight to Cuts

Army General Sees No End in Sight to Cuts

The U.S. Army’s deputy chief of staff for programs said automatic budget cuts known as sequestration are here to stay.

“We don’t see an end in sight,” Lt. Gen. James Barclay said during the second day of the Association of the United States Army conference. “We’re going to have some tough times.”

Army Secretary John McHugh yesterday said he has directed his staff to prepare two budgets for fiscal 2015; one that assumes the automatic, across-the-board spending reductions remain in effect and one that doesn’t.


The Army is accelerating its plans to shrink from about 520,000 active-duty soldiers today to about 490,000 from 2017 to 2015, Barclay said. That figure may drop to 380,000 if sequestration remains in effect, Pentagon officials have said.

Because the service can’t afford to shed 50,000 to 70,000 soldiers in a year, it will have to look for reductions in other areas of the budget, namely modernization and readiness, Barclay told a roomful of mostly company representatives.

The Army’s top weapons buyer, Heidi Shyu, said the service will continue to better integrate missile defense systems and to upgrade aging weapons systems, such as the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or AMPV, designed to replace the 1960s-era M113 armored personnel carrier, and the M109 Paladin Integrated Management, or PIM, designed to replace earlier versions of the 155mm howitzer.

Shyu also said the Army will seek to get better deals by pursuing multi-year contracts and to protect funding for science and technology to develop systems for future missions likely to occur in contested airspace.

Noticeably missing from her remarks was any reference to big-ticket acquisition programs such as the Ground Combat Vehicle, designed to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle; the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, designed to replace a portion of the Humvee fleet; and a battlefield communications network known as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T.

Shyu also responded to a comment from Kevin Gates, a staff member of the House Armed Services Committee, headed by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., suggesting that the Army and other services have been slow to adopt newer technology because of cumbersome acquisition regulations and directives.

The regulatory responsibility “that’s imposed upon acquisition is not exactly our own making,” Shyu said.

A longtime executive in the private sector, including Raytheon Co., Shyu said she was shocked when she entered government and learned how little control program managers have over the acquisition process.

“The PM is the flea on the tail of this dog,” she quipped, to applause from the crowd.

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According to her bio, Ms. Shyu has been with Army acquisition since June 2011. She can criticize all she wants, but rather than joke about PM’s as fleas, where’s her list what processes she’s cutting out of the Army acquisition process? And where’s her list of changes and acquisition law repeals she’s sent to Congress?

A longtime executive in the private sector, including Raytheon Co., Shyu said she was shocked when she entered government and learned how little control program managers have over the acquisition process.

“The PM is the flee on the tail end of this dog,” she quipped, to applause from the crowd.
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Yes, they are powerless to stop us!

Good. The US needs to get back from Bush levels of insanity. The wars are gone, as should large numbers of soldiers (albeit with every PENNY they were promised when signing up, and every benefit they SIGNED for including Veterans benefits and health care). No EX POST FACTO budget cutting allowed. The US will still be the premier superpower (militarily) so calm down guys. The current levels are unsustainable, stop denying it. 380k is a bit low, I imagined about 400k as a given, and 150k marines. It’s good enough, seen as how large prolongued occupations won’t happen anymore, even if al qaida blew up the white house (for dramatic effect). You guys needs to keep investing in the AF and Navy and rotorcraft and specops and drones (and digital warfare etc, but that is boring, I like to talk about hardware). That will be doable with about a 400/450bn a year budget, which will suit you fine. Lot of money to be made by exports guys, if you get the f35 right. You don’t really make much stuff anymore, so make sure you get that right. We are buying a couple dozen of them as well:)

Stick with EUROPEAN PROBLEMS and don’t concern yourself over anything American. Also while you are concerning yourself, demand Europe reject any more America aid of any sort.….Other wise silence is golden as far as your concerns go.…

Every time there is a major acquisition screw-up (and there have been many of late) a new acquisition law generates another review/approval event (aka Layer of Excellence) imposed on the acquisition community. This in turn requires more federal workers & contractors to make sure all the squares are filled / blocks are checked. It’s a wonder how we can actually buy anything at all.

There is so much waste in the military — the Army, AF, Navy, Marine budget should be cut by at least 33 percent. If the Army wants new equipment — let them have a cake sale to get the money. The taxpayers
are sick of government contracts being awarded to the likes of Lockheed, etc. For a start, all we need
is one four star General and lower the grades of all the others. Do away with the silly Chief Master Sergeant
of the AF, Army, marine corp and Navy (and the Chiefs at lower levels). If a Commander needs a Senior
NCO to tell him how the morale of his people he is obviously unqualified. A Commander can talk
to his First Sergeant and Senior NCOs.i

Thanks. You seem to be the only informed common sense adult posting on this site.

Thanks, Concerned European. You seem to be the only informed common sense adult posting on this site. Please continue contributing.

Ms. Shyu is right on. The PM is just one person and has little effect in changing the thousand step processs in the acquisition cycle to get a contract awarded for a product. I have been on teams to document the long process and after presented it was “duh” by those who have a rice bowl attached to each step of the way. The entire PPB and acquistion process in the DAG should scrapped out of existence and along with that all the DIDs and CDRLs required and have the DOD adopt a SAMSUNG or TOYOTA design process to do requirements needed and put them on a doc so that industry can bid. Let industry bid on less complicated government docs and let them propose the design and the testing and steps need to get the product to filed. Today the major of the procurement budget (including upgrades OMN) is adding stuff to exsiting platform. Get rid of all the ACAT requirement and SEMPs for these upgrade contracts. You can reduce staffing on the F35 from thousands to a hundred or so civilians.

Army has “no MONEY?” Hundreds of billions is no money???? They don’t have “no money problem” they have a “problem with how they spend money”!!! The Army and the other services buy more studies of everything from office furniture moderationizion in headquarters to how to explain and reinvent the issueing of contract on power point charts and paper then they do on buying hardware and software. Breakdown a programs budget and you will see that 80 percent of it is waste and non value added B.S. Let’s bring the ways of buying things like they did in WWII when they needed thing quickly, hardy, and in quality and qty.

Where can one find the written description of the SPECIFIC threats we face? That info in hand, where then does one go to get a threat-specific breakdown of the threat-specific avoidance or countering or elimination systems available to meet the threats, specifically, and a threat by threat, rank-ordered by the likelihood of combat to counter each SPECIFIC threat, systems determination? Anyone not understanding the reason for this request should, either, NOT work for the government side of the military-industrial complex, or, SHOULD be hired immediately by one or more of the companies found on the civilian side of that same complex.

Not too many years ago, Paul Van Riper explained to an interviewer, “In reality, the fundamental nature of war hasn’t changed, won’t change, and, in fact, can’t change. The nature of war was probably best explained and articulated by the Prussian general and theorist Carl von Clausewitz, who wrote the classic On War. In the book, he lays out the nature of war, which is, first of all, fundamentally uncertain. There is no way to predict how any war will turn out. As he said, it has its own dynamics as it unfolds. … So if you understand the fundamental nature of war, you realize that it’s not going to change. What is changing — in fact, is always changing — is the character and form of war, and the technology is what influences that character and form. We need to understand that and be careful of it, but it’s not what should drive us.”

Thanks for answering my questions JRT!

Now, DoD’s answer in hand, we can move on to a, oh, say 45.00346% (exactly, to the exact penny) fully-justified logically and mathematically cut in the defense budget, writ large.

As the budgetman, my job is done. For this round, at least. I leave it to you “defense” experts to figure out how to spend whatever each of your competing service’s demands are, rank them against each other, and — as required and justified by your fully understandable and documented needs — wrest away from the others w/their own “fully justified” defense expenditure “needs” what, properly, is your superior need.

Methinks that, somehow, y’all will come up with a way to spend properly what is available for the nation’s defense, that, as we have determined, together, is precisely 54.99654% of whatever it is that you get now. Now, and now much was that, anyway?

Oh, and by the way, JRT, how’dja like a promotion there in your job on the civilian side of the complex? Heh?

If anything, and I don’t like it, WE are sucking YOU dry. Why would you allow that? Don’t you see that in the name of ‘defense’ you are hollowing out your real economy? Like the Soviet Union did? We have been building our commecial industry, especially the Germans, and producing the best in EVERYthing. We export that and that’s why our currency is worth 30% more than the USD. You guys should stop letting us leach, and the Asians also, and invest in your education etc, so you can make better stuff and sell it as well (need engineers etc). THAT’s what it really is about, not about who controlls shipping lanes (you don’t export much, so you don’t GAIN by protecting those lanes). You are basically providing the logistics for Europe and the Asian hordes.

This is a really flawed approach to defense planning, systems engineering and analysis. Rumsfeld was right — the Jack Sparrow approach — what we can do, and what we cannot do — is the right way to think about what we need to defend ourselves. it is all about capabilities. If you baseline on threat projections, you will (1) underspecify the problem, (2) bound the solution to what has been done by your competitors, and (3) — IEDs being a good example — goose your priorities to address the latest fad. We need a balanced force and a stable top line budget. Period.

No VetP — if I have understood you correctly and fully — you have it all wrong; you have it basackwards.

NO government spending, and especially defense spending, should be based on CAPABILITIES. ALL government spending, in particular, and ESPECIALLY “defense” spending, as a subset of spending over all, must/must be based on specific, and fully quantifiable, NEED.

Two reasons for this immediately come to mind:

1) If we cannot, and fully, justify whatever we need for “defense,” we have NO constitutional right to imprison people (read: taxpayers) for avoiding paying for it (that’s what taxes are, VetP, compulsory payments to the state for it’s essential, collective “services”, like, well, defense.

2) If we compel folks to pay for something we cannot even define and quantify, we are wasting tax resources — and PERHAPS putting at risk the very national security about which we have defined ourselves so wisdomated as to pretend to some right to force people to pay for it (to the friggin’ penny) — as well!

VetP, get the picture? If not yet, please consider this — we have the CAPABILITY to vaporize, say, Andorra. So, must we then fund a nuc force to include that option? I suspect you would agree that this would be a silly waste of tax dollars.

And YOUR agreement would NOT be based on OUR “capability”. Rather, YOUR determination would be based on the fact that ANDORRA (today) in no way militarily constitutes a THREAT to us.. So, your own paradigm demands that you conclude: Andorra poses no threat; Andorra, therefore does not merit targeting; so, no threat, no justification for funding (for now, at least).

Now, on IEDs — you should know the background on this. Please, read up.

I’m not sure by what stretch of logic that this author equates the noun “capability” with the adjective “unneeded”. Using a ridiculous scenario (“vaporizing Andorra”) as a rhetorical device does not absolve one from serious thinking about ends and means in the context of real world events. Now, in answer to the hypothetical task of covering a 750 square kilometer region with nuclear warheads, the answer is 135 20 megaton warheads. A useless capability ? Now that depends on where you target those warheads. I have in fact heard of conventional B-1 strikes used against IEDs in Iraq, a capability that I probably wouldn’t have imagined if left to the task. If Andorra were somehow infested with international terrorists, I would, on both moral and practical grounds, recommend seeking some other capability more in line with the principles of objective and economy of force. Either way, the nuclear capability described above is fungible, and well below most of our minimal calculations of a “sufficient” nuclear deterrent capability.

The Andorra scenario was offered so as to make the point clear to the doggedly obstinate. But, here it is, again, and presented w/o the apparently too obviously clear of an example:

“NO government spending, and especially defense spending, should be based on CAPABILITIES. ALL government spending, in particular, and ESPECIALLY “defense” spending, as a subset of spending over all, must/must be based on specific, and fully quantifiable, NEED.”

Let me try puttin’ this in even more clear terms: If you cannot justify a “need” then you ain’t-a-gonna-git-nunna my $s to acquire a “capability” you cannot even begin to justify as needed.

Now, if that is still too complicated, well, I suppose we’ve lost your vote to the fascists. They may have some proposals in which you concur.

There is no arguing against the solipsist “You don’t need that” argument made by the isolationists, pacifists, peace researchers, and “never again” opponents of the US military. We don’t “need” to intervene in Syria. We don’t “need” to protect Ukraine against Russian aggression. We don’t “need” to uphold the responsibility to protect everywhere, freedom anywhere. US alliance commitments at all. Is it “fascist” to want the capability to do these things ? I don’t think so. Thanks for posting the most dishonest set of posts to DoD Buzz ever, and that gets plenty of competition.

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