Dailey: Fiscal uncertainty, decisions threaten soldiers’ trust in leaders
The senior enlisted advisers from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force were on Capitol Hill to testify on quality-of-life concerns in their services.
The possible return of sequestration in fiscal year 2016 influenced much of the discussion.
Uncertainty over possible deterioration of health care benefits, compensation and family programs as well as job security were concerns among the four top enlisted leaders speaking before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said caring for soldiers, their families and Army civilians "builds trust, and trust is predictability ... the unwritten contract between the American people, her leaders and the people of our Army."
Adding, "Today, we are back in Iraq facing a new enemy.
"But, perhaps the greatest enemy to the contract I’ve mentioned and to our future is fiscal uncertainty. ... I’m very conscious that every fiscal decision we make together has the potential to impact a soldier’s trust in us as leaders. ... Not only does this affect our readiness today, it affects the All-Volunteer Army of tomorrow."
Dailey said that without predictable and adequate resources, the Army simply cannot plan and conduct required training or maintain diverse, high-quality soldier and family support programs.
"Furthermore, I see a return to sequestration-level funding as the tipping point between our ability to maintain our responsiveness and our ability to maintain trust with our people," he said, noting that his biggest fear was losing more soldiers.
"We’re managing that through the use of accessions, retention and quality control programs," Dailey said.
He added, "Unfortunately, if we continue to see fiscal restraints and we return to sequestration levels of funding, good soldiers will be asked to go home."
By the end of 2015, the active Army expects to be down to 490,000 soldiers.
Lt. Gen. Karen E. Dyson, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller, said additional sequestration in fiscal year 2016 could mean another 15,000 soldiers cut from the active force.