• December 28, 2014

Hard times approaching for U.S. Army

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Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 4:30 am

With perhaps the worst batch of congressional leadership in more than a century, the Army and the rest of the country are due for stormy days ahead.

The folks in Congress — on both sides of the aisle — couldn’t pass a budget to save their lives. They keep proving that, time and time again.

So what does that mean to Fort Hood and the Army?

Difficulty.

Uncertainty.

And complex issues.

Don’t take my word for it; those are words of Secretary of the Army John McHugh when he spoke at the Association of U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C, on Monday.

It was a message of warning that he and other top Army leaders delivered to soldiers and civilians gathered for the annual event.

It’s difficult, because anyway you look at it, cuts are coming. Even without sequestration or a government shutdown, the Army has been in a process of getting smaller for more than a year. There are fewer combat brigades and fewer soldiers.

Throw in sequestration, looming government shutdowns and an inept Congress, it becomes clear the cuts to a multitude of Army programs will be deep.

The choices on which programs to cut the most — or cut out altogether — won’t be easy.

It’s uncertain, because no one really knows what the hell is going on.

Furloughs come and go like a bad cough. No one knows how long sequestration will last. No one knows if Congress will ever pass a real budget.

And even if a budget is passed, no one knows what the Army’s funding will look like.

It’s complex, because so many different factors are involved. From the president on down, the budget turmoil will affect everyone in the military and many who don’t wear a uniform. But just how the cuts will affect everyone and every program, remains to be seen.

How does one cope with it?

Let your voice be heard. Write letters to the editor. Attend town hall meetings on the issue. Write your congressman. Talk to commanders.

Fort Hood participated virtually in a town hall meeting about family programs on Monday in connection with the AUSA event. There will be more town hall meetings in the months ahead as we trudge through the process.

Good leaders are good listeners. If you talk, they should listen. And then they will take that information to the cutting table, where the tough decisions will be made ... unfortunately.

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