Transcript: Testimony of Gen. Raymond Odierno on the impacts of sequestration on the Army

Transcript of testimony of Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, on the impacts of sequestration. The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing was held on Feb. 12, 2013.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Inhofe, and other distinguished members.

Nearly 18 months ago, you charged me with leading our Army and providing you with my best military advice. Over the course of my 36-year career, I have commanded at every level, including division, corps, and theater command in combat. I know what it takes to prepare this Nation’s sons and daughters for war. I know what it takes to grow leaders in our Army. I know what is required to send soldiers into combat, and I have seen firsthand the consequences when they are sent unprepared.

I began my career in a hollow Army. I do not want to end my career in a hollow Army.

Today the global environment is the most uncertain I have seen in my 36 years of service. It is unpredictable and dynamic.

We simply do not know when we will have to deploy soldiers to fight again. But history tells us that we will. We owe it to them to ensure they have the proper resources to be ready when needed.

The fiscal outlook which the U.S. Army faces in fiscal year 2013 is dire and, to my knowledge, unprecedented. In addition to the $170 billion in cuts to the Army levied by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the combination of the continuing resolution, a shortfall in overseas contingency operation funds for Afghanistan, and the sequester in fiscal year 2013 has resulted in a $17 billion to $18 billion shortfall to the Army’s operation and maintenance accounts, as well as an additional $6 billion cut to other programs. All of this will come in the remaining 7 months of this year.

The fiscal year 2013 fiscal situation will have grave and immediate readiness impacts on all forces not serving in Afghanistan or forward in Korea, impacts which will have a significant impact well into fiscal year 2014 and beyond.

Just a few of the actions we will be forced to take are, for example: we will curtail training for 80 percent of ground forces. This will impact our units’ basic warfighting skills and to do shortfalls across critical specialties, including aviation, intelligence, engineering, and even our ability to recruit soldiers into our Army.

We have directed an immediate Army-wide hiring freeze, and we will terminate an estimated 3,100 temporary and term employees.

We will furlough up to 251,000 civilians for up to 22 days.

We will cancel third and fourth quarter depot maintenance which will result in the termination of an estimated 5,000 employees and a significant delay in equipment readiness for 6 divisions at an estimated $3.36 billion impact to the communities surrounding our depots.

For fiscal year 2014 and beyond, sequestration will result in the loss of at least an additional 100,000 personnel, soldiers from the Active Army, the Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserve. Combined with previous cuts, this will result in a total reduction of at least 189,000 personnel from the force, but probably even more than that. These reductions will impact every Army base and every installation in the Army.

Sequestration will result in delays to every 1 of our 10 major modernization programs, the inability to reset our equipment after 12 years of war, and unacceptable reductions in unit and individual training. These cuts will be felt across the entire country.

Since 2008, the total Army budget will have been reduced by 37 percent. If sequestration is enacted, it will be greater than 45 percent.

In my opinion, sequestration is not in the best interest of our national security. It will place an unreasonable burden on the shoulders f our soldiers and civilians. We will not be able to execute the Department of Defense Strategic Guidance as we developed last year.

I understand the seriousness of our country’s fiscal situation. We have and we will continue to do our part, but the significance of these budget reductions will directly impact our ability to sustain readiness today and into the future. We simply cannot take the readiness of our force for granted. If we do not have the resources to train and equip the force, our soldiers, our young men and women, are the ones who will pay the price potentially with their lives. It is our responsibility, the Department of Defense and Congress, to ensure that we never send soldiers into harm’s way that are not trained, equipped, well-led, and ready for any contingency, to include war. We must come up with a better solution.

Thank you so much for allowing me to testify in front of you today.

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2 Comments on “Transcript: Testimony of Gen. Raymond Odierno on the impacts of sequestration on the Army

  1. Pingback: Congress & President failed to avert sequestration, $85 billion in cuts set to take effect in FY 2013 | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey on the impacts of sequestration | What The Folly?!

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