ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Budget constraints are the most important issue that APG's senior leaders will face in the near future, the installation's senior civilian said March 22.

Gary Martin, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command executive deputy to the commanding general, kicked off the third session of APG Leadership Cohort with remarks to the participants.

"Cohort is more important now than when we started it a couple of years ago," Martin said. "The leadership we need here [at APG] and in the Army is driven by the fiscal realities of what we're facing as a country."

Cohort is a year-long professional development program to develop future civilian leaders.

Martin referenced the continuing resolution and lack of a federal budget. He encouraged the Cohort participants not to shy away from tough budget decisions.

"Every leader in an organization, down to every level, [needs to] make the hard call [to identify what is] not in the Army's best interests," Martin said.

Martin also mentioned the memo from Secretary of Army John M. McHugh to Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, Army Materiel Command commander. McHugh has directed Dunwoody to develop a plan to save $3 billion annually by eliminating redundancies in Army research, develop and acquisition.

The Office of Personnel Management, with the help of leadership development experts and APG senior executive service members, designed the program.