AUSA Presses for Money to Pause Drawdown
With Congress about to start writing the 2017 defense budget, the president and CEO of the Association of the U.S. Army met April 14 with a key House subcommittee chairman to talk about Army priorities.
Retired Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, AUSA’s leader since 1998, met with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Frelinghuysen, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, has been a member of AUSA since 1984.
In a discussion about the challenging global strategic situation and the current funding environment on Capitol Hill, Sullivan asked for the congressman’s help in providing budget stability for the Army. Sullivan urged an end to sequestration, the budget mechanism that cuts spending when Congress and the White House cannot agree on budget priorities, and he also requested help finding $2.5 billion to cover added personnel costs if the Army temporarily stops the drawdown.
AUSA supports the POSTURE Act, a bill that would stop reductions in the Regular Army, Army Guard and Army Reserve. Army leaders have expressed support for the bill, but are worried about how to cover the costs of having more soldiers than budgeted.
While making no specific promises, Frelinghuysen said his subcommittee would attempt to find money for the Army if the House Armed Services Committee stops or slows cuts.
Frelinghuysen cautioned there are many competing needs across the joint force, and there are limited resources. He would not make any commitments, but he assured Sullivan that the subcommittee works very closely with the authorizing committees. If the House Armed Services Committee bill pauses the end- strength drawdown, the defense appropriations subcommittee will look at it in detail to determine the necessary resources to keep the Army strong.