Taking a look at the long-term effects of the current budget crunch, military participants in this afternoon’s East: Joint Warfighting 2013 panel agreed that the hits military equipment are taking as a result of reduced funding and furloughs will ultimately affect force readiness. However, some civilians on the panel believe that resources approved in the past have been enough to keep U.S. forces adequately equipped for the near future.
Moderating the panel session, Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, senior fellow, CNA Corporation, and former comptroller, U.S. Defense Department, asked representatives from many of the services sitting on the panel to share their views on current and future results of reduced resources. Vice Adm. William R. Burke, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems, N-9, Naval Operations, pointed out that both furloughs and decreases in hiring within the shipbuilding industry could decrease readiness up to 40 percent. In addition, without training funding for troops preparing to deploy to current operations, readiness is sinking deeper into the “bathtub,” a situation that will be harder to climb out of as time goes on. “We are robbing the future to pay for today,” he stated.
Reflecting opinions expressed earlier today, Maj. Gen. Karen E. Dyson, USA, director, budget, U.S. Army, said that maintenance of equipment and facilities deferred now will end up costing more in the long run. Also, because training dollars are drying up, warfighters who are unable to learn about the latest technologies and use them in new tactics could lead to a situation that will end up costing more—in dollars and readiness—in the future.
James McAleese, principal, McAleese and Associates, said that sequestration for fiscal year 2013 is a “done deal.” The only question that remains, he said, is whether it also will take place for fiscal year 2014. That said, he believes that while dollars for U.S. Air Force and intelligence programs still are robust enough to maintain a strong military, industry will get less and less help from the Pentagon.
East: Joint Warfighting 2013 is taking place at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, May 14-16.