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Army to Respond to Commission Report

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Army will speak with one voice on recommendations from the National Commission on the Future of the Army, delivering a joint statement as early as April 15 from the leaders of the Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told Congress.

Milley, along with acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy and Chief of Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, will sign off on the Army's analysis of the 63 specific recommendations that were made in the commission's final report, which was released in late January.

“We’ve done a vigorous study of the recommendations,” Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee at an April 7 hearing. “About 50 or so, we think, are achievable at relatively little or no cost, or we’ve already started doing them.”

There is one recommendation “that we absolutely disagree with,” Milley said, though he would not specify which one, and “we recommend no.” The others, he said, “do incur some, or significant, cost in terms of dollars, and we’re analyzing that.”

Milley said “we promised” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter “that we’d give him a written report on which ones we think are good to do and of those, how would we pay for them; how would we execute, implement those recommendations.”

One of the costly recommendations is to retain four battalions of AH-64 Apache helicopters in the Army National Guard. The one-time procurement cost is $420 million, according to the report, with increased annual operating costs of $165 million. Milley said the Army’s analysis will include a discussion of how to cover the cost of accepted recommendations.

“There have been a lot of meetings, a lot of stakeholders involved so we could come to what we think is our consolidated position” on the commission’s myriad recommendations, Milley said.

Those recommendations cover a wide range of issues, from the broad—“The Army must continue to treat readiness as its most important funding priority”—to the specific—“The Army should increase the number of annual rotations for Army National Guard Brigade Combat Teams at combat training centers beginning in fiscal year 2017 without decreasing the number of Regular Army Brigade Combat Team rotations.”