Army Leaders Warn of Possible ‘Dark and Very Dangerous Future’
Army Secretary John M. McHugh asked lawmakers on Thursday to think about the military’s budget uncertainty from the eyes of a soldier.
“The Army lieutenant leading his or her platoon, the sergeants training and mentoring their soldiers, the invaluable civilian workforce laboring countless hours to support them, and the young family waiting patiently at home are all human,” McHugh told the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense. “The stress of war, multiple deployments and unpredictable requirements doesn't change in the face of indiscriminate funding cuts.”
As he and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno have warned in other venues, McHugh warned capped budgets and the threat of sequestration increase national security risk and leave soldiers uncertain about the future.
“Your Army faces a dark and very dangerous future unless this Congress makes every effort to act now to end these ill-conceived and inflexible budget cuts,” McHugh said. He repeated a warning that the hurt will be wide if this happens. “Every installation, every component, nearly every program will feel the brunt of these cuts.”
Odierno said the Army is engaged in a “dangerous balancing act” with readiness, modernization, force size and capabilities all being adjusted.
“We have fewer soldiers, the majority of whom are in units that are not ready,” Odierno said. “And, they are manning aging equipment at a time when demand for Army forces is much higher than anticipated.”
The $126 billion Army budget proposed by the White House “represents the bare minimum needed for us to carry out our missions and execute and meet the requirements of our defense strategy. It is a tenuous house of cards,” Odierno said.