USAREC CG hosts town hall to address impact of fiscal constraints
February 28, 2013
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- The USAREC commanding general opened his Feb. 14 town hall at Waybur Theater with a thank you to his headquarters staff for their hard work, dedication and support for the more than 8,000 noncommissioned officers executing the recruiting mission across the nation.
"What we do to bring in the strength of our Army is no small feat. Though we really focus on what is done at the recruiter level, and rightly so, we can never forget to say thank you to the folks here who make it all possible," said Maj. Gen. David L. Mann, expressing his appreciation for the some 500 Soldiers and civilians in the headquarters. "I'm using this opportunity to say thank you and God bless you for all you do to keep this Army of ours strong."
Mann focused on sharing the current impact of fiscal constraints on the Army and Recruiting Command in an effort to minimize some of the rumors and speculation, and the resulting unintentional stress it creates on employees.
Up front he reiterated the immediate actions directed by the Secretary of the Army to reduce Fiscal Year 2013 expenditures, such as the 30 percent reduction in base operating funds, curtailment of non mission critical TDY and the Armywide civilian hiring freeze, as well as those actions directed by the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to reduce travel, supplies and services by 50 percent and closely review current contracts.
Additionally, Recruiting Command is reducing brigade and battalion staff government vehicle usage 25 percent, eliminating paid overtime, suspending overseas travel, curtailing military unit awards programs and discretionary board expenditures, and cancelling educator tours involving travel and many non-mission-critical national marketing events. Institutional training at military schools will continue for the time being, he said, but all other training is suspended for both military and civilians, except where required for professional licensure or certification.
"I want to make sure - to the greatest extent possible - that day-to-day recruiting operations at the center level are not impacted," Mann said. He has asked recruiters in the field to continue outreach efforts to develop and nurture local community relationships, and to leverage grassroots partnerships, especially those that don't require additional resources.
He also emphasized his guidance to subordinate commanders that there will be no degradation in support to Soldiers, civilians and families. "We are not going to let that happen, period," he said, calling the safety and well-being of all members of the team "sacrosanct."
Addressing one of the most contentious aspects of the budgetary crisis - potential civilian employee impacts - he said the Army and TRADOC have directed that all temporary employees except those deemed mission critical be released and term employees may not be extended past their current terms. All affected USAREC employees will receive 30 days notice in writing.
"When it comes to positions, especially, we've been asked to identify what is mission critical … those things that, if we stopped doing them right now, it will definitely have an immediate impact on the mission," said Mann. The command's definition of mission critical, as well as the positions the command has identified as mission critical, have been submitted to TRADOC for review and approval.
He was careful to assert, however, that just because one position is identified as mission critical and another is not, does not mean that position is not important to the command.
While the Army is considering the possibility of civilian furloughs in 2013, Mann said they are a tool of last resort, and current USAREC planning does not include furloughs. "At this point no decision has been made and no one below the Secretary of the Army will make the decision about furloughs."
Before wrapping up the town hall, Mann addressed questions from the audience, primarily about staff travel, civilian hiring restrictions and potential furloughs.
"The last thing I want to do is add stress - especially when we don't know what we don't know," Mann said, acknowledging there is a lot of stress among employees about the unknowns. "What you need to take away from this is that your leadership is going to do everything possible to make sure we take care of our people."