USA — Army Pledges Not to Cut Family Programs

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2010 — Army lead­ers yes­ter­day promised to leave fam­i­ly sup­port pro­grams intact when look­ing for ways to reduce the service’s bud­get.

“We want to ensure that the fam­i­ly pro­grams we’re oper­at­ing are run well and effi­cient­ly and if we need to make adjust­ments so they can be more so, that’s fine,” said Sec­re­tary of the Army John McHugh. “But what we won’t do par­tic­u­lar­ly as a first reac­tion, is look to those pro­grams as a source of bud­getary sav­ings.”

Dur­ing the Oct. 25 open­ing pre­sen­ta­tion at the 2010 Asso­ci­a­tion of the Unit­ed States Army’s Annu­al Meet­ing and Expo­si­tion here, McHugh dis­cussed the Army’s chal­lenge of oper­at­ing in a con­strained bud­get envi­ron­ment as well as efforts to mod­ern­ize the Army. He and Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey Jr. went into more detail dur­ing a press con­fer­ence imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing that cer­e­mo­ny.

In regard to a chal­lenge by Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates to the mil­i­tary ser­vices to find ways to trim some $100 bil­lion from the defense bud­get over the next five years, the Army’s two senior lead­ers said they won’t look to fam­i­ly sup­port pro­grams — which they say are impor­tant to sup­port­ing the all-vol­un­teer force — but will instead look to things like restruc­tur­ing com­mands and doing “port­fo­lio reviews” of Army capa­bil­i­ties.

“A lot of what we’re find­ing is com­ing out of capa­bil­i­ty port­fo­lio reviews and it’s basi­cal­ly redun­dant pro­grams or non­per­form­ing pro­grams,” said Casey, not­ing the Army also is look­ing at force struc­ture realign­ments. “We’re ask­ing our­selves, for exam­ple, do we still need a four-star gen­er­al in Army Europe and what should a sup­port force struc­ture in Europe look like? I sus­pect we’ll be able to gar­ner some sig­nif­i­cant mil­i­tary and civil­ian sav­ings at those head­quar­ters.”

Those port­fo­lio reviews, McHugh said, “already show great promise in bring­ing bet­ter dis­ci­pline to our pro­grams — bet­ter eval­u­at­ing and realign­ing our require­ments with the real­i­ty of today and where we think tomor­row is going.”

The Army sec­re­tary said a task force is eval­u­at­ing these issues and it will pro­vide a report to senior lead­er­ship with­in 90 days.

McHugh said a good bud­get pol­i­cy starts with peo­ple.

“We can’t have an Army with­out peo­ple,” he said. “All our efforts must start with them, with train­ing and edu­ca­tion — the things that cre­ate our great­est hedge against future threats. That hedge: adap­tive, inno­v­a­tive, think­ing enlist­ed sol­diers, offi­cers and NCOs — folks who will make a dif­fer­ence.”

McHugh also dis­cussed a new project — an effort to mod­ern­ize the insti­tu­tion­al Army, or gen­er­at­ing force. That’s the por­tion of the Army whose pri­ma­ry mis­sion is to gen­er­ate and sus­tain the oper­a­tional Army’s capa­bil­i­ties for employ­ment by joint force com­man­ders.

“The oper­a­tional Army has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly,” McHugh said, explain­ing that 10 years of con­flict in Iraq and Afghanistan have changed the way the Army fights and reacts. But the insti­tu­tion­al Army, he said, the gen­er­at­ing force, has not changed.

“It looks pret­ty much the same as it did struc­tural­ly since the ear­ly to mid-1970s,” he said.

The sec­re­tary said there are exam­ples of changes in the insti­tu­tion­al Army in the past, includ­ing a reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the War Depart­ment by Army Gen. George C. Mar­shall, and, after the Viet­nam War, Oper­a­tion Stead­fast, which reor­ga­nized the Army and built an all-vol­un­teer force.

“But these mod­els real­ly don’t address what I call the new par­a­digm. America’s ene­mies are no longer sole­ly defined by nations or con­tained by bor­ders, because they are not,” McHugh said. “Our com­bat for­ma­tions quick­ly adapt to changes in ter­rain, mis­sion and the ene­my they face. I believe the insti­tu­tions and process­es we have to help those forces do bet­ter need to change as well.”

The Army’s chief of staff also dis­cussed the Army’s effort to restore bal­ance to the force, which it has been work­ing on since 2007.

“With the draw­down in Iraq, we are get­ting to a sit­u­a­tion where we can breathe again,” Casey said. “When you’re only home for 12–15 months between deploy­ments, you real­ly don’t have much time to breathe — you take a break then you get back on the tread­mill and get ready to go.”

As a result of the increased growth the Army com­plet­ed in 2009 and a tem­po­rary end-strength increase of 22,000 direct­ed by Gates in July 2009, Casey said, units are home for 15 to 18 months now, and the units that are deploy­ing toward the end of this year will end up in the 18- to 24-month range.

“Increas­ing the time the sol­diers spend at home is the most-impor­tant ele­ment of get­ting our­selves back in bal­ance,” he said.

The gen­er­al also touched on oth­er Army efforts, includ­ing mod­u­lar con­ver­sions. He said the ser­vice has con­vert­ed about 290 of the 300 brigades to mod­u­lar designs. Also, he men­tioned an effort to move sol­diers out of Cold War-era career fields and into spe­cial­ties more rel­e­vant to today’s con­flicts. He said so far some 124,000 sol­diers have been con­vert­ed, and by this time next year that num­ber will be 150,000. That move, he said is “sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­ing our abil­i­ty to do the 21st-cen­tu­ry tasks.”

Casey also said the Army faces sev­er­al chal­lenges in the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry, includ­ing main­tain­ing a com­bat edge, recon­sti­tut­ing the force and build­ing resilience.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →