World War I Remembered
[From AUSA National]
On April 17, 1917, with Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Hugh Scott overseas trying to get the Russians to stay in the war, U.S. Secretary of War Newton Baker has his staff flushing out one of Scott’s ideas for universal conscription to grow the Army rather than solely depending on volunteers. They’ll have to sell Congress on the idea.
World War I did not make the world safe for democracy, as President Woodrow Wilson hoped when he asked Congress to declare war in 1917. As we now know, the war with Germany that started for the United States on April 6, 1917, did not end all wars. However, it made the U.S. a leading world power and created five important legacies that continue to shape our Army.
Among the war’s lasting legacies:
- Compulsory military service and organization of state militias into an organized federal army deployable beyond the nation’s borders happened because of the Selective Service Act of 1917.
- The concept of a planning staff, first introduced in the early 1900s by then-Secretary of War Elihu Root, matured under the leadership of Wilson’s brilliant secretary of war, Newton D. Baker.
- Professional education and a systematic approach to training took root during World War I.
- Divisions became the module for deployment and employment.
- Three generations of officers gained important experience during World War I, managing mobilization or fighting in France. Their experience, informed by education and reflection during the interwar period, enabled them to raise, train and lead the enormous Army that fought and won World War II.
National Guard (and Army Reserve) Essential in Europe
[Editor’s Note: Excerpt below From AUSA National]
For those of us who served in the National Guard or Army Reserve on training or on deployment in Europe or Asia, we know the value of the partnership with active duty units. It helps them with training, alleviates burdens when there are personnel shortages, and provides a level of comfort to leadership when regular rotations include known National Guard and Army Reserve units. The National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers often provide continuity on scheduled training exercises. –Editor.
To make the fewer than 30,000 soldiers assigned to Europe look more like 300,000, U.S. Army Europe needs the Army National Guard and Army Reserve to train in the theater on a regular basis, the command’s top Guard leader says.
To that end, Army commanders in Europe are creating every possible training opportunity for Guard and Reserve troops, said Maj. Gen. John M. Gronski, who became U.S. Army Europe’s deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard on May 1.
More Cyber Please
Delaware has a long tradition of signal readiness. With cyber and electronic warfare capabilities being a top priority for the Army’s new cyber directorate, this bodes well for our first state Soldiers.
To that end, BG (P) Patricia Frost who heads the new cyber directorate, spoke recently at the two-day symposium “Mad Scientist 2016: The 2050 Cyber Army” held at the U.S. Military Academy. Her charge is to oversee electronic warfare and cybersecurity and to optimize exploits in the two arenas. The Army has fielded 41 of the 133 defense-wide teams that Congress has mandated be established by 2018. Frost believes, however, there are offensive and defensive gaps that will need to be filled at a tactical level.
For more on the story, check out AUSA’s post “Giving Field Commanders More Cyber Muscle”
Defense Spending Stalled Again
[Editor’s Note: From AUSA National]
It’s a 99.9% probability that Congress will pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 deadline. How they reach their goal is the billion dollar question.
Any optimism the Senate had that they would be able to pass the defense spending bill was dashed Tuesday when the legislation failed to garner the 60 votes needed to proceed. This is the third time Democrats have blocked the measure.
Democrats are not necessarily opposed to the language in the bill, rather it is a tactical maneuver. They believe they will have more leverage over Republicans to secure additional domestic spending in the final FY17 spending package that presumably will be passed after the November elections.
There is nothing to suggest the path to passing a CR will be any easier.
The Senate leadership is in discussions with the minority leaders and the White House to move a continuing resolution to the floor next week. The stop-gap measure would expire Dec. 9.
There is some speculation that if the Senate can actually pass the measure next week, they would adjourn early, thus tying the House’s hands – either pass the Senate’s version or allow the government to shut-down, not a pleasing prospect any time much less in an election year.
House Republicans are divided on the duration of the measure with some agreeing to the shorter CR and, others, namely the House Freedom Caucus who do not favor lame-duck sessions and want the CR to last until March 2017.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus have indicated that they will support the short term continuing resolution if the leadership includes language dealing with Syrian refugees, an idea that will certainly be rejected by Democrats.
Round and round it goes!
AUSA prefers passage of routine spending bills in a timely manner. However, since that is unlikely, we strongly favor a short-term continuing resolution.
There hasn’t been a full year’s appropriation, adopted on time since 2007. While CRs are far better than government shut-downs, they are not a substitute for actual appropriations.
Under CR funding, the Army cannot move money around where it’s actually needed or start new contracts. Budget dollars are placed against needs and priorities of previous years, leaving the priorities and needs of the current year unfunded. The end result of all this is, at a minimum, things cost more and they take longer to get.
Congress is demanding that the Army spend less money but they are making it more difficult to achieve that goal. It’s no way to do business and unfortunately, we don’t see any return to regular order on the horizon.
AUSA to host a Family Readiness forum in NJ
The Family Readiness Directorate of the Association of the U.S. Army has planned an event in September aimed at Army National Guard and Reserve families.
On Sept. 22, a forum focusing on National Guard and Army Reserve spouses will be held at the New Jersey National Guard Armory in Bordentown, N.J.
The forum for National Guard and Reserve spouses will look at help that is available for spouses and families when not located in a military community. The discussion will focus on where to find help, how to build a support network and practical tips.
Homefront United Network, an organization founded by Army National Guard spouse Angela Caban, is a co-sponsor of the event. Caban, the New Jersey National Guard Spouse of the Year 2013, and Bianca Strzalkowski, 2011 Military Spouse of the Year, will speak at the event.
Register for the Guard and Reserve spouse event here:
Memorial Day Events 2015 Around Delaware
The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs is conducting two events to commemorate Memorial Day. On Monday, May 25, 2015 at 11:00 am, they will conduct a Memorial Day Service at the Delaware Veterans Memorial on the parade field of the cemetery grounds at 2465 Chesapeake City Road in Bear, Delaware. On Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10:30 am, the Commission will conduct a Memorial Day Service at the War Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge, New Castle, Delaware.
Our Community Salutes of Delaware
[Published From Our Community Salutes Web Site, an AUSA Delaware sponsored event]
Wilmington University and the Delaware Chapter, Association of the US Army co-sponsored the fourth annual “Our Community Salutes” ceremony in Delaware on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Wilmington University. We recognized and thanked those high school seniors from Delaware who have chosen a military career after graduation.
Tim Furlong of NBC 10 Philadelphia returned as emcee. We were honored to have Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn and Major General Glenn Lesniak, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Reserve as our speakers. Student enlistees received letters of appreciation signed by U.S. Senators Carper and Coons, and U.S. Representative Carney. Students also received letters from the State of Delaware House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and an ‘Our Community Salutes’ challenge coin.
Mr. Justin Null, a high school counselor at St. Georges’ Technical High School, was presented The General Colin L. Powell award in recognition of his help assisting students interested in beginning their career in the military.
Photos of this event can be found at OCSDE.org/2015-photos
Army Gets $7 Billion Budget Boost
[From AUSA National]
The Army would get a $7 billion increase in its base budget for 2016 under the Obama administration plan unveiled Monday.
The increase primarily goes to operations, maintenance and weapons modernization programs.
The administration requests $147 billion for the Army in fiscal 2016, $2 billion less than the current budget in a reduction resulting from reduced funding for contingency operations.
For fiscal year 2015, the Army received $121 billion in the base budget and $28 billion in operating contingency funds. For fiscal 2016, the administration proposes boosting the base budget to $127 billion while cutting the contingency budget to $21 billion.
The 2016 budget was announced Feb. 2, at a time when the Army has 140,000 soldiers serving in 150 foreign countries, and with nine of the Army’s 10 active divisions having headquarters actively engaged in ongoing operations.
The modest boost for the Army is part of a decision by the administration to ask Congress for a 2016 defense budget that is $38 billion over spending caps set in the Budget Control Act, something that will require consent from lawmakers. While the Army would receive $7 billion more than current spending, the budget would provide a $16 billion increase for the Air Force and an almost $12 billion increase for the Navy, according to Defense Department briefing charts.
Forty-five percent of the Army’s base budget goes for personnel costs, with 36 percent for operations and maintenance and 18 percent for weapons programs. Spending on personnel is flat, even though the Army expects to be smaller in 2016, a result covering the cost of modest increases in pay and benefits. The budget includes a 1.3 percent basic pay hike, an average 1.2 percent increase in housing allowance and a 3.4 percent increase in subsistence allowance.
Active-duty personnel levels would drop from 490,000 today to 475,000 by Oct. 1, 2016, under the plan. Army National Guard strength, now 350,200, would drop to 342,000. Army Reserve strength would remain at 198,000.
There is $16.1 billion allocated to Army weapons procurement in the budget request, up from $13.9 billion in 2015. Increases are spread over aircraft, missiles, track vehicle and ammunition programs, but Army officials said a top priority is modernizing Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopter fleets in support of the Aviation Restructuring Initiative, a controversial topic where an independent commission could end up deciding details and timing.
Ninety-four Black Hawks, 64 Apaches and 39 Chinooks would be purchased in 2016, an increase from the 87 Black Hawks, 35 Apaches and 32 Chinooks funded in 2015. Money also is included to buy 450 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and upgrades for 87 Strykers.
For more headlines, click here.
GEN (Ret) Sullivan remarks about seeking stability and sanity in Breaking Defense
[From AUSA National]
Unhealthy and unnecessary friction in the Total Force is a consequence of the larger budget pressures facing the Army. We need to make certain the suboptimal decisions foisted on the Army’s leaders don’t damage the overall cohesiveness of what is shaping up to be a much smaller active, Guard and Reserve force.
You can read the entire op-ed article published in Breaking Defense on January 19, 2015 here. Included you will also find links to MG (Ret) Gus Hargett’s comments for NGAUS’s perspective on the current budget crisis facing the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army in particular. Regardless, GEN (Ret) Sullivan is right in that the “most precious, capable, and flexible weapon system is people.”