Defense Secretary Mattis appearing at AUSA 2017

[From AUSA National, Wednesday, August 23, 2017]

Photo by: Department of Defense

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general who spent four decades in uniform, will be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition on Monday, Oct. 9.

The nation’s 26th defense secretary, Mattis is a former U.S. Central Command commander who led an infantry battalion in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, commanded the 7th Marine Regiment and later the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Afghanistan, and commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 Iraq invasion.

He was easily confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become defense secretary, receiving a waiver to take the job because he had not been out of uniform for the seven years required by law.

Mattis’ priorities are much like the Army’s. Improving readiness is his top goal, followed by increasing military capabilities, reforming Pentagon business practices, keeping faith with service members and supporting ongoing overseas contingency operations.

Army leaders who traditionally speak at the opening ceremony of AUSA’s annual meeting will speak on Tuesday, Oct. 10, during the Dwight David Eisenhower Luncheon.

The Monday opening ceremony is open to anyone registered to attend the meeting. Tickets are required for the Eisenhower luncheon.

Details about the meeting, registration, the schedule and ticketing are available here:http://ausameetings.org/2017annualmeeting/

Best Chapter for Category 5

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, contributed, and participated. We were recently notified that our chapter was selected for earning the Association of the United States Army’s Best Chapter for Operating Year 2016-2017 in our respective category.

If you are attending the AUSA Annual Meeting, please join us for the awards ceremony as we will be receiving the banner then. Again, thank you, everyone, for your support this past year. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s teamwork.

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.

Read more here.

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

Cyber Warriors
photo by: US Army

 

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.

Stay tuned.