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End the uncertainty
Congress needs to know that they are risking our national security by failing to address the fiscal needs of our defense forces. Recently, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, spoke at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) January Institute of Land Warfare breakfast. His message was quite clear – our national security is at risk because of the fiscal uncertainty we face today.
A $6 billion shortfall for fiscal Year 2013 in Army operation and maintenance accounts because Congress has not passed appropriations legislation and the Army must spend at the FY 12 budget levels. If sequestration triggers, another $6 billion shortfall will occur. Combined with other underfunding, the total shortfall for FY 13 could be $17 billion – in wartime.
Gen. Odierno outlined steps the Army is taking – cancelling combat training center rotations; cancelation of maintenance for vehicles not bound immediately for the current fight; freezing civilian hiring; potential furloughing of existing employees and laying off temporary workers. The bottom line is training and therefore readiness will suffer.
Gen. Odierno stressed what the Army needs most is some budget predictability through several years so that end strength, modernization and readiness can be carefully balanced.
AUSA has been urging Congress to solve the sequestration puzzle quickly. We continue to highlight the significant dangers posed by sequestration and the repeated use of continuing resolutions to fund the Department of Defense.
President, Fort Knox Chapter
Association of the United States Army