In his final Pentagon press conference as Army chief of staff, General Raymond T. Odierno said he has “great concern personally” about the Army’s fate, fearing the nation is “sacrificing the long-term viability of our military.”
The 60-year-old General, whose Army career started in 1976, retires at a time of uncertainty about funding available for the military and increasingly complicated national security threats.
“Our security environment remains uncertain and dynamic,” Odierno said, citing Russian and Chinese aggression, unrest in the Middle East caused by the Islamic State, threats of global terrorism, and an “unstable and provocative North Korea” as a short list of problems that could require military response.
Addressing or preparing for those threats requires a stable and certain budget, something that has proven politically difficult as the fiscal year approaches on Oct. 1 without a bipartisan budget agreement, raising the possibility of a government shutdown and cuts in the Army budget from a possible second round of sequestration.
“The whole four years I have been chief of staff of the Army, we have been in this deadlock,” Odierno said. “We are reaching a point where we have to be careful,” raising the specter the Army could lose capabilities and the ability to quickly respond to threats or a crisis.