Defense legislation is shattered by sequestration threat

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It is summer in Washington and the perennial problem of authorizing and funding our Army is in full flower.

As I have reported before, seemingly endlessly, defense authorization and appropriations legislation is moving forward in both houses of Congress at its usual slow pace.

This year, the process is shadowed again by the specter of defense sequestration that would cut enormous amounts of money out of the DoD budget.

Since Congress seems unable to end sequestration for the defense portion of the budget, it is using overseas contingency funding to make up the difference.

The problem with this: Long-term planning requires regular order in a budgeting process, not an uncertain year-by-year plus-up.

As AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., has said for years, sequestration must end and base budget funding for the military must match the national security requirements outlined in the national defense strategy.

When will the defense authorization and appropriations process be completed?

Both the House and Senate leadership hope to finish the defense appropriations process before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

However, Congress will be gone from the beginning of August until after Labor Day, so the number of days available to complete these crucial pieces of legislation grows smaller and smaller.

Once each house has passed its version of the bill, the legislation must go to conference where differences are ironed out.

There is a long road ahead, but AUSA will be monitoring the process closely and will make our voice heard if the issues our constituents care about are not properly addressed.

In the meantime, thank you for your dedication to our Army, its soldiers and families and for your membership in the Association.

This will be my last column as director of AUSA government affairs.

My wife’s work will take the Loper family to start anew away from Washington. It is ironic that after 25 years of moving because of my work as an Army officer, now we are moving because of her job.

Turnabout is fair play, as they say.

I have enjoyed my work here, not only because AUSA is a great place to work and General Sullivan is an inspiring leader to follow, but because the work of AUSA is so important.

Educating the American people about the importance of the Army in national defense and advocating for soldiers and their families is crucial.

Thank you for reading my columns for all these years and please maintain your membership as AUSA continues to be a "Voice for the Army" and "Support for the Soldier."

Go Army and Go AUSA!