Engage

Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
2,120,284
Like Us
Twitter
450,989
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

Military officials testify on sequestration, readiness

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Sequestration would degrade military readiness, senior military officials recently told a Senate panel.

Army Gen. John F. Campbell, vice chief of staff; Marine Corps Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant; Air Force Gen. Larry O. Spencer, vice chief of staff; and Navy Vice Adm. Philip H. Cullom, the deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, testified March 26 before the Senate Armed Forces Committee's subcommittee on readiness and management support.

"Today, the Army remains globally engaged with more than 66,000 Soldiers deployed, including about 32,200 in Afghanistan and about 85,000 forward-stationed in over 150 different countries," Campbell told the Senate panel.

While restoration of some funding for fiscal year 2014 helps the Army restore readiness, he said, it is not sufficient to fully eliminate the shortfall in core capabilities created from the past decade of counterinsurgency operations, and made greater by sequestration.

"The current level of (fiscal 2015) funding will allow the Army to sustain the readiness levels achieved in (fiscal) '14, but will only generate minimum readiness required to meet the defense strategic guidance," Campbell added. "We anticipate sequestration reductions in (fiscal 2016) and beyond (will) severely degrade manning, readiness and modernization efforts and would not allow us to execute the defense strategic guidance."

The Army is in the process of a drawdown to 490,000 active-duty Soldiers, 350,000 Army National Guardsmen, and 202,000 reservists by the end of fiscal 2015, Campbell said.

By the end of fiscal 2017, the Army will decrease its end strength to 450,000 active-duty, 335,000 Army National Guardsmen and 195,000 reservists, he said.

"This cuts disproportionately on the active Army and they will reverse the force mix ratio going 51 percent active and 49 percent reserve in (fiscal) 2012 to 46 percent active and 54 percent in our reserve component in (fiscal) 2017. So we have a greater preponderance in our reserve components, in both our National Guard and our reserve," Campbell added.

As the Army continues to draw down and restructure over the next three to four years, "readiness and modernization deficiencies" will exist, he said.

"Fiscal realities have caused us to implement tiered readiness as a bridging strategy (by) ... maintaining different parts of the Army at varying levels of preparation," he added.

"This year is critical to deciding the fate of what is the greatest army in the world and could have significant implications on our nation's security for years to come," Campbell said. "Cuts implemented under the Budget Control Act and sequestration instantly impaired our readiness."

About 30,000 Marines are now forward-deployed around the world, promoting peace, protecting the national interest and securing U.S. defense, Paxton said.

Marine readiness has been proven many times, he added, and "significantly" twice in the last year with humanitarian missions during a typhoon in the Philippines and the rescue of American citizens in South Sudan.

Both missions "demonstrated the reality and the necessity for maintaining a combat-ready force that's capable of handling crisis today," Paxton said. "Such an investment is essential to maintaining our national security and our prosperity in the future."

As the nation continues to face fiscal uncertainty, the Marine Corps is making necessary choices to protect its near-term readiness and to place the service on the best trajectory to meet future defense requirements, Paxton said.

Marine Corps' leadership, he said, looks at issues through five pillars: to recruit and retain high-quality people, maintain the highest state of unit readiness, meet the combatant commanders' requirements for Marines, maintain appropriate infrastructure investments, and "keep an eye on the future" by investing in capabilities for tomorrow's challenges.

In the Air Force, decades of sustained combat operations stressed the ranks and decreased its readiness to unacceptable levels, although Airmen performed "exceptionally well" in the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fights in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Spencer told the Senate panel.

"We will continue to maintain our ability to respond to today's requirements, but we must also regain and maintain our ability to effectively operate in the most demanding threat environment," he said.

The bottom line on readiness, Spencer added, is the Air Force knows the "(fiscal) '15 (proposed) submission sets the conditions that enable us to begin the road to recovery in the years ahead, but we will need your help to get there."

Sequestration "has cut the Air Force budget by billions of dollars. Our only option is to reduce our force structure. We cannot retain more force structure than we can afford to keep ready," Spencer said.

Properly trained and equipped, the Air Force can set the conditions "for success in any conflict in any region of the world whenever we're called upon," he said.

The Navy continues to deliver ready, certified forces forward and will not compromise, Cullom said, calling it a responsibility to Sailors, their families and combatant commanders.

"With the budget you provided for this year '14, we're meeting our forward-presence commitment to the combatant commanders," the admiral said. "We are able to execute the deeper maintenance plan for our ships and aircraft, and we have restored a normal training and readiness progression within the fleet..

"Our maintenance plan continues to execute the reset of surface ship material condition after a decade of high temporal operations," Cullom continued. "But because of the need to drive our ships for much of this work, it must continue for at least five more years."

The Navy accepted "increased risk" into the mission areas of defense strategic guidance because of slowed modernization and restricted ordinance procurement, and the risk continues into the long-term viability of shore infrastructure, Cullom said.

"If we must return to sequestration levels in (fiscal) '16 and beyond, we will continue to strive to have a ready Navy, but it would require us to become smaller and less capable," he said.

"Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are the finest we have ever had and they're going into harm's way every day (...) . We must continue to provide them the right training and capable equipment to meet the challenges they face today and will face in the future," Cullom said.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus