Esper, Milley Ask Congress to Aid Army
Army Secretary Mark T. Esper praised congressional aides for their work on the 2019 military budget while Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley assured them that despite political turmoil DoD operates as an “island of stability.”
“Take a deep breath,” Milley said. "There have been tough times in America before.” Esper and Milley spoke at an AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition breakfast of more than 700 people, with most of them members of congressional staff.
“Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Esper said to the staffers for their part in passing a 2019 defense budget on time for the first time in a decade and one that also provides an increase in the Army budget.
The Army is going to need their help again in 2020 with a predictable and sustainable budget to pay for improvements in readiness, which will remain an Army priority through at least 2022, and for modernization, Esper said.
Efforts are underway to save money from within by reforming manning and programs, Esper said. “In every aspect of our budget, every program, every activity, we are looking for the nickels, dimes and quarters that we can reinvest.”
Acknowledging he’s been warned money will be tight in the 2020 budget. “We hope you will support us as we move forward,” Esper said, asking for an agreement in Congress “that places national security before the Budget Control Act” that sets caps on military spending.