Budget Controls Must be Lifted to Boost Readiness, Vice Chiefs Say
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Feb 07, 2017)
WASHINGTON --- Military readiness will suffer if the budget constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 are not repealed and are allowed to again take effect in fiscal year 2018, the military’s vice chiefs of staff told members of the House Armed Services Committee today.

Testifying before the full committee were Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William F. Moran and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Glenn M. Walters.

Challenging Time for Nation, Army

“This is a challenging time for our nation, and our Army,” Allyn said. “The unipolar moment is over, and replacing it is a multipolar world characterized by competition and uncertainty. Today, the Army is globally engaged, with more than 182,000 soldiers supporting combatant commanders in over 140 worldwide locations.”

To meet the demands of today's unstable global security environment and maintain the trust placed in soldiers by the American people, the Army requires sustained long-term and predictable funding, he said.

“Adding additional legislation, the caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 will return in [fiscal year 2018], forcing the Army to once again draw down or restrict, reduce funding for readiness and increase the risk of sending undertrained and poorly equipped soldiers into harm's way,” Allyn said. “[It’s] a preventable risk our nation must not accept.”

He added, “The most important actions you can take … that will have both positive and lasting impact, will be to immediately repeal the 2011 Budget Control Act and ensure sufficient funding to train, man and equip the FY 17 [National Defense Authorization Act] authorized force.”

If the act isn’t repealed, additional top line and overseas contingency operations funding will prove unsustainable, Allyn said.

Navy’s Demand for Forces

Moran told committee members the ongoing demand for U.S. Naval forces far exceeds its long-term supply. And, he added, the Navy is the smallest it's been in 99 years, making it urgent to “adequately fund, fix and maintain the fleet we do have.”

The U.S. Navy has never been busier in a world of global threats, Moran said.

While the Navy is getting the job done, Moran said, he added that the unrelenting pace, inadequate resources and small size are taking their toll.

“For years, we've all learned to live with less and less, we have certainly learned to execute our budget inefficiently with nine consecutive continuing resolutions,” Moran said.

But this has forced the Navy to repeatedly take money from cash accounts that are the lifeblood of building long-term readiness in its ranks, he said.

“It's money for young lieutenants to fly high and fast, and who need air under their seats to perfect their skills in the future. It's money for spare parts so sailors can fix the gear that they have. It's money for sailors to operate at sea in all kinds conditions to build instincts that create the best war fighters world,” the admiral emphasized.

With the committee’s help, the opportunity to change the situation exists, Moran said.

“It starts by strengthening our foundation,” he said. “Let's ensure the ships and aircraft that we do have are maintained and modernized so they provide the full measure of combat power. Let's fill in the holes by eliminating inventory shortfalls in ships, submarines [and] aircraft throughout the fleet. Together by taking these steps, we can achieve the ultimate goal of sizing the Navy to meet the strategic demands of this dynamic and changing world.”

Air Force’s Growing Needs

The capabilities the Air Force provides the nation and its allies have never been more vital, and the global demand for American airpower will only grow in the future, Wilson said. However, today’s Air Force is out of balance, he said.

Years of “continuous combat,” Wilson said, have limited the Air Force’s ability to prepare for the future against advanced future threats.

This, paired with budget instability and lower-than-planned budgets has been at issue in the Air Force, he said.

“We've attempted to balance risk across [the] force to maintain readiness,” Wilson said. “And we've forced to make unacceptable trades between readiness for structure and modernization.”

Today's global challenges require an Air Force that’s ready, not only to defeat violent extremism, but an Air Force prepared to modernize for any threat the nation could face, he added.

“Your Air Force needs congressional support to repeal the Budget Control Act and provide stable, predictable funding. It's critical to rebuilding our military full-spectrum readiness, is the number one priority for the secretary of defense. We need to act now, before it's too late,” Wilson said.

Marine Corps’ Budget Concerns

The Marine Corps’ operational tempo remains as high today as it was during the peak of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Corps faces substantial challenges with fiscal uncertainty and funding reductions, Walters told committee members.

“Your Marine Corps is insufficiently manned, trained and equipped across the depth of the force to operate in an ever-evolving operational environment, he said. “With years of fiscal constraints, the Marine Corps is fundamentally optimized for the past and has sacrificed modernization and infrastructure to sustain our current readiness posture.”

The Corps’ active component end strength must be increased by 3,000 a year to maintain its high standards, Walters said.

“The continued underfunding of this sustainment restoration and modernization and military construction continues to call for progressive degradation of our infrastructure and creates long-term cost,” he said.

“If forced to continue the pursuit of investing in legacy systems in lieu of modernizing our force, we will find our Marine Corps optimized for the past and increasingly at risk to deter and defeat our potential adversaries,” Walters said.

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Funding for Readiness Needed to Match Troop Levels, Says Vice Chief
(Source: US Army; issued Feb 07, 2017)
WASHINGTON --- Unless the Army receives the funding it requires to match the authorized increased end-strength levels, Soldiers will arrive too late on the battlefield due to training and equipping gaps, said Gen. Daniel B. Allyn.

"The end result [would be] excessive casualties, both to innocent civilians and to our forces already forward-stationed to accomplish its mission," said Allyn, who is the vice chief of staff of the Army.

Allyn and other service leaders testified Tuesday before a House Armed Services Committee hearing titled: "The State of the Military."

Only a third of the brigade combat teams, a fourth of combat aviation brigades and half of division headquarters are combat ready to fight within 30 days, he said, and of the 58 BCTs, just three "could be called upon to fight tonight in the event of a crisis."

The general defined "fighting tonight" as units needing "no additional people, no additional training and no additional equipment."

At this point in time, the Army is outranged, outgunned and outdated, the vice chief pointed out in written testimony.

To ensure readiness and lower risk on the battlefield, Congress needs to repeal the 2011 Budget Control Act, discontinue continuing resolutions and provide a predictable budget sufficient to train, man and equip the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act-authorized end strength, Allyn testified.

The NDAA increased the active Army end strength from 460,000 to 476,000 and increased the reserve component by another 12,000 Soldiers. Allyn pointed out that funding to properly train and equip those additional Soldiers was not authorized.

Continuing resolutions also hamper training, he said.

"Continuing resolutions deny the Army the opportunity to implement new programs," he said. A good example of this is funding upgrades for the opposing forces at the combat training centers. As the Army identifies new tactics and capabilities of potential adversaries, he said that needs to be reflected in OPFOR upgrades.

Allyn pointed out that he was in the operational forces when the BCA of 2011 went into effect. The result was that seven combat training center rotations were canceled. That's a "generation of leadership experience we'll never get back. We cannot go back there and do it to ourselves again; we're still climbing out of that abyss."

Unless sufficient and predictable funding is provided, it will "render all of your hard work for naught," he added.

The enemy is moving "at light speed" on its offensive cyber capabilities, Allyn said. The best thing lawmakers can do is to authorize "funding flexibility" for cyber programs so operators can be more agile and responsive in both offensive and defensive cyber operations.

Regarding another round of Base Relocation and Closure, the Army is in favor of BRAC, he said, noting that there are 21 percent excess facilities on installations, costing billions of dollars to maintain that could otherwise contribute to readiness.

Replying to a question about stewardship, Allyn replied that the Army continues to be good stewards of the funding it receives. Only the highest priority equipment and systems are being funded. Also, the Army is making good progress at getting to full auditability, he added.

These are challenging times for the nation and for the Army, Allyn said. Some 182,000 Soldiers are supporting combatant commanders in 140 locations worldwide, many potentially in harm's way, he said.

The strength of America's all-volunteer force "truly remains in our Soldiers, trained, ready and inspired," he said, adding that lawmakers must be similarly inspired to support them and prevent undertrained troops from going into harm's way.

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