March 5, 2013 -- Odierno testimony before House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction
March 5, 2013
General Odierno: Thank you, Chairman Culberson, Ranking Member Bishop, and the rest of the committee. Thank you for allowing us to be here today.
I would start off by saying that the combination of the continuing resolution, a shortfall in overseas contingency operations funds for Afghanistan, and the sequester in Fiscal Year 2013 has resulted in at least an $18 billion dollar shortfall to the Army's Operation and Maintenance (OMA) accounts, as well as an additional $6 billion worth of cuts across all of our other programs. As I've said previously, these cuts will have grave and immediate impacts to Army readiness that will not only last in 2013 that will last and be promulgated into 2014 and beyond.
Under sequestration and a full-year continuing resolution, the Army will reduce all military construction by 7.8%, a $567 million reduction to FY13 and all unobligated prior-year accounts. We will be forced to delay progress on our top construction priorities -- the renovation of existing cadet barracks and the construction of new cadet barracks at West Point and the Arlington National Cemetery expansion. Until the Army receives an appropriations measure with new start authority, we cannot initiate the 102 military construction projects that are scheduled for award in 35 states.
We are reducing our base sustainment funds by $2 billion in FY13, a 70% drop from what has been historically required to run our installations. This translates into an estimated 100,000 facility work orders per month that will not be executed, which places the Army on a slippery slope where our buildings will fail faster than we can fix them. All restoration and modernization (R&M) projects for FY13 will be deferred.
Budget cuts will have a tremendous impact on one of my top priorities -- family programs. The furlough of our 251,000 valued civilian employees, reduction in base sustainment funds, and the elimination of service contracts will strain our ability to protect our Army Family Programs across every one of our installations. Sequestration will force us to reduce resources for our schools, our daycare centers, and every one of our family assistance and community service programs that rely upon the installation's infrastructure to provide services. Sequestration will also impose a $44.7 million cut to our family housing program.
Consistent with the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Army is reducing its authorized endstrength by 89,000. Sequestration will impose an additional loss of at least 100,000 Soldiers from the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Together, this represents a 14% reduction of the Army's endstrength which will equate to an almost 40% reduction in our Brigade Combat Teams. This means we will have excess US-based installation infrastructure. Therefore, a future round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) is essential to identify excess Army infrastructure and prudently align civilian staffing and infrastructure with reduced force structure and reduced industrial base demand. If we do not make the tough decisions necessary to identify efficiencies and eliminate unused facilities, we will divert scarce resources away from training, readiness, and Family programs and the quality of our installation services will suffer.
I understand the seriousness of our country's fiscal situation. We have and we will continue to do our part. But we simply cannot take the readiness of our force for granted.
In my opinion, the sequester is not in the best interest of our Soldiers, our civilians, and our national security. Furthermore, I do not want to see the impact of these cuts rest on the shoulders of our Soldiers and civilians who so courageously defended our country over the last twelve years. I would ask that you provide us with an appropriations bill that would provide flexibility to reprogram funds and reduce some of the O&M shortfall and allow for new starts.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the committee, for allowing me to testify here today.