Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Extended deployments with sequestration?

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Extended deployments with sequestration?
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Delays in construction, a hiring freeze, cuts in family and youth programs and maintenance contracts. Army officials are outlining everything that could happen if Congress can't reach a deal on a spending plan by Friday. But that's not all. As our Brian Dwyer reports, cutbacks in training could mean soldiers who are ready for battle could be overseas longer than expected.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It was a statement early on that basically set the tone for an hour long discussion with Army officials about sequestration.

"The fiscal crisis that we face today can be framed by three numbers: Six, six and six," U.S. Army Director for Budget Maj. Gen. Karen Dyson said.

Dyson talking about billions of dollars in cuts the Army has faced or will face just this year. There's $6 billion in base cuts. There's a $6 billion shortfall in war funding and $6 billion of cuts in operations money from sequestration.

"The reductions that we're going to talk about today define a fiscal outlook that is dire and as far as I know, unprecedented," Maj. Gen. Dyson said.

Among other things, there'd be an Army-wide hiring freeze. Family and youth program would see reductions. Also, there'd be construction delays on new buildings and fixing up old ones.

"A soldier living in a barracks that has a leaky roof, we may have to just throw a tarp over it," Brigadier General Curt Rauhut of Installation Management Command said. "Say a window was broken. We may have to provide a piece of plywood or a piece of electrical tape."

Posts could also see service and maintenance contracts canceled. Soldiers could be doing trash runs and mowing fields. Civilian workers lucky enough to keep their jobs will see a 20 percent pay cut as they work four day weeks.

"We're looking for ways to make information available to them about financial counseling, about community support that may be available in their communities and we plan to establish emergency assistance centers," Maj. Gen. Dyson added.

Did you know civilians help set up and organize soldier training events? Training will also be cutback because of that and other costs. If a soldier doesn't get proper training, he or she can't deploy. The effect would be extended deployments.

"We won't send them down range until they're ready," Major General Robert Dyess, the G8 Director of Force Development said. "That means we may have to look at an option like in the 2006-2007 time frame to keep some units longer."

The officials made it clear: Sequestration puts meeting the nation's demands and American lives at risk.

Another problem the Army has is it is not able to transfer all money. Sometimes it can't take from one program to pay for another.

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