Sequestration would force Army to delay all modernization programs, says chief of staff

Furloughs, budget cuts and curtailment of training might significantly affect Army readiness if sequestration is allowed to take place March 1, Army Chief of Staff GEN Ray Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee in testimony given Feb. 12. Odierno's remarks are summarized in a story on the Army's website.

Sequestration would trigger an approximate 10 percent budget cut across the government March 1, in accordance with a clause in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013, unless Congress and President Obama can reach a compromise before then.
 
"The fiscal outlook that the Army faces in fiscal year 13 is dire, and to my knowledge, unprecedented," Odierno said.
 
The total Army budget will have been reduced by 37 percent since 2008. If sequestration is enacted, it will be greater than 45 percent. This reduces the ability to reset the force, and delays all the modernization programs the Army currently funds, he said.
 
The Army also will have constraints on military training and readiness, and activities will face budget cuts for the current fiscal year and beyond, Odierno said. Even though military personnel are spared, civilian employees will be affected through layoffs and furloughs. An Army-wide hiring freeze has already begun, and about 3,100 temporary and term employees have been terminated.
 
This sequestration means curtailing training of 80 percent of ground forces, affecting basic war-fighting skills. It could also introduce a critical shortfall in areas such as aviation, intelligence and engineering, Odierno said.
 
Personnel, training, and equipment weren't the only things discussed regarding sequestration. Local business will be adversely affected as well.
 
"In the Army, we are going to have to reduce purchase orders from 3,000 small companies," said Odierno. "From an Army prospective, it will hit the small companies, which [is] really devastating."

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