By U.S. ArmyJanuary 28, 2015
Thank you Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, other distinguished members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to talk about this important topic today. As I sit here before you today as sequestration looms in 2016, I am truly concerned about our future and how we are investing in our Nation's defense.
I believe this is the most uncertain I have seen the national security environment in my nearly 40 years of service. The amount and velocity of instability continues to increase around the world. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's unforeseen expansion and the rapid disintegration of order in Iraq and Syria have dramatically escalated conflict in the region. Order within Yemen is splintering; the al Qaeda insurgency and Shia expansion continues there; and the country is quickly approaching a civil war. In North and West Africa, anarchy, extremism, and terrorism continue to threaten the interests of the United States, as well as our allies and partners.
In Europe, Russia's intervention in Ukraine challenges the resolve of the European Union and the effectiveness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Across the Pacific, China's military modernization efforts raise concerns with our allies and our regional interests while the cycle of North Korean provocation continues to increase. The rate of humanitarian and disaster relief missions, such as the recent threat of Ebola, heightens the level of uncertainty we face around the world, along with constant evolving threats to the homeland.
Despite all of this, we continue to reduce our military capabilities. I would like to remind everyone that over the last 3 years we have already significantly reduced the capabilities of the United States Army, and this is before sequestration begins again in 2016. In the last 3 years, the Army's Active component end strength has been reduced by 80K; the Reserve component by 18K. We have 13 less active component Brigade Combat Teams. We have eliminated three active aviation brigades. We are removing over 800 rotary wing aircraft from the Army inventory. We have already slashed investments in modernization by 25%. We have eliminated our much needed infantry fighting vehicle modernization program. We have eliminated our scout helicopter development program. We have significantly delayed other upgrades for many of our systems and aging platforms.
Readiness has been degraded to its lowest levels in 20 years. In FY13, under sequestration, only 10% of our Brigade Combat Teams were ready. Combat Training Center rotations for seven brigade combat teams were cancelled and over half a billion dollars of maintenance was deferred, both affecting training and readiness of our units.
Even after additional support from the BBA, today, we only have 33% of our brigades ready, to the extent we would ask them to be if asked to fight. And our Soldiers have undergone separation boards forcing us to involuntarily separate quality Soldiers, some while serving in combat zones.
Again, this is just a sample of what we have already done before sequestration kicks in again in FY16. When it returns, we will be forced to reduce another 70K out of the Active Component, another 35K out of the National Guard, and another 10K out of the Army Reserves by FY20. We will cut 10-12 additional combat brigades. We will be forced to further reduce modernization and readiness levels over the next 5 years because we simply can't drawdown end strength any quicker to generate the required savings.
The impacts will be much more severe across our acquisition programs requiring us to end, restructure, or delay every program with an overall modernization investment decrease of 40%. Home station training will be severely underfunded, resulting in decreased training levels. Within our institutional support, we will be forced to drop over 5K seats from Initial Military Training, 85K seats from specialized training, and over 1K seats in our pilot training programs. Our Soldier and Family readiness programs will be weakened, and our investments in installation training and readiness facility upgrades will be affected impacting our long term readiness strategies. Therefore, sustainable readiness will remain out of reach with our individual and unit readiness rapidly deteriorating between 2016-2020.
Additionally, overall the mechanism of sequestration has and will continue to reduce our ability to efficiently manage the dollars we in fact do have. The system itself has proven to be very inefficient and increases costs across the board, whether it be in acquisitions or training.
How does all of this translate strategically? It will challenge us to meet even our current level of commitments to our allies and partners around the world. It will eliminate our capability, on any scale, to conduct simultaneous operations, specifically deterring in one region while defeating in another. Essentially, for ground forces, sequestration even puts into question our ability to conduct even one prolonged multiphase, combined arms, campaign against a determined enemy. We would significantly degrade our capability to shape the security environment in multiple regions simultaneously. It puts into question our ability to deter and compel multiple adversaries simultaneously. Ultimately, sequestration limits strategic flexibility and requires us to hope we are able to predict the future with great accuracy. Something we have never been able to do.
Our Soldiers have done everything that we have asked of them and more over the past 14 years, and they continue to do it today. Today, our Soldiers are supporting five named-operations on six continents with nearly 140,000 Soldiers committed, deployed, or forward-stationed in over 140 countries. They remain professional and dedicated - to the mission, to the Army, and to the Nation - with the very foundation of our Soldiers and our profession being built on trust.
At what point do we -- the institution and our Nation - lose our Soldier's trust? The trust that we will provide them the right resources -- the training and equipment -- to properly prepare them and lead them into harm's way. Trust that we will appropriately take care of our Soldiers, our Civilians, and their Families who so selflessly sacrifice so much. In the end, it is up to us not to lose that trust. Today, they have faith in us, trust in us, to give them the tools necessary to do their job. But we must never forget, our Soldiers will bear the burden of our decisions with their lives.
I love this Army that I've been a part of for over 38 years, and I want to ensure it remains the greatest land force the world has ever known. To do that though, it is our shared responsibility, to provide our Soldiers and our Army with the necessary resources for success. It is our decisions, those that we make today and in the near future, that will impact our Soldiers, our Army, the Joint Force, and our Nation's security posture for the next 10 years. We do not want to return to the days of a hollow Army.
Thank you so much for allowing me to testify today. I look forward to your questions.