News / USA

    Pentagon: Tight Budgets Harming US Military Readiness

    FILE - Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton testifies on Capitol Hill, Feb. 22, 2010. Now a general and the Corps' assistant commandant, Paxton told senators on March 15, 2016, that the Marines are "no longer in a healthy position to generate current readiness."
    FILE - Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton testifies on Capitol Hill, Feb. 22, 2010. Now a general and the Corps' assistant commandant, Paxton told senators on March 15, 2016, that the Marines are "no longer in a healthy position to generate current readiness."
    Michael Bowman

    Top officials from four branches of the U.S. military said Tuesday that tight defense budgets have strained their ability to replenish capacity from two wars, meet current demands and assure readiness for future conflicts.

    “We are consuming readiness as fast as we are building it,” General Daniel Allyn, the Army's vice chief of staff, said in testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee.

    “Twenty-five years of continuous combat, coupled with budget instability and lower-than-planned top lines [budgets], have made the Air Force one of the smallest, oldest and least ready in our history,” said Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force's vice chief of staff.

    “The gap between the military we need and the military we have has grown,” said Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. “Our defense budgets must be based on our national security interests and the threats that we face, not artificial budget caps.”

    U.S. military spending has declined from nearly $700 billion in 2010 to $560 billion last year, and is not projected to top $600 billion before the end of the decade.

    Defense expenditures, already declining as wars wound down in Iraq and Afghanistan, were trimmed further by automatic spending cuts known as sequestration beginning in 2011.

    Still in a 'straitjacket'

    “Fourteen years of sustained combat, together with the Budget Control Act of 2011, have presented the nation with a unique readiness challenge. It’s kind of a perfect storm,” said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. “A lot of things have happened since 2011. That was pre-Ebola, pre-Zika, pre-North Korean cyber attacks, pre-ISIL, pre-Russia into the Ukraine. The world has changed dramatically, and yet we are still living under a significant straitjacket.”

    Last year’s bipartisan spending accord provided a two-year respite from sequestration. But strains on military services continue, the vice chiefs said.

    “The Navy continues to postpone much needed repairs and upgrades for the majority of our infrastructure,” said Admiral Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations. “We are still paying down the readiness debt we accrued over the last decade, but more slowly than we would prefer and at continued risk to our shore infrastructure.”

    “The Marine Corps is no longer in a healthy position to generate current readiness,” said General John Paxton, Marine Corps assistant commandant. “We continue to make hard trade-offs, and we mortgage our future readiness because we’re trying to fight today’s fight.”

    The budget squeeze is likely to continue unless lawmakers tackle America’s fiscal challenges, Kaine said.

    “We can’t just say the deficit doesn’t matter, because it does,” the senator said. “The need to relieve sequester is going to demand of us a willingness to show backbone and find some reforms in these areas that in the past has been difficult to do.

    “I really pray that, as a U.S. senator, I’m going to get to cast a vote on a big tax reform and spending reform package that will enable us to put sequester in the dustbin where it belongs.”

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    March 16, 2016 12:18 PM
    Hopefully Trump will get elected, then we'll get our priorities straightened out. No more islamic psychotic murderers in the US. We have more important things to worry about.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 16, 2016 12:47 AM
    The Pentagon doesn't need anymore money, they just need somebody smart to plan their wars instead of the generals that should have been privates? .. IF they can read, they ought to read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. _ Maybe then, they can defeat one or more of those 3rd world countries or terrorist groups they fought? .. Do you think? .. The Pentagon generals had the greatest army in the history of the world and they still couldn't defeat any 3rd world country or any terrorist group, [so now], does the Pentagon need more money for a bigger army, or some intelligent generals to lead them?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora