To the Editor:

It is important for members of Congress to know that they are risking our national security by failing to address, in a timely manner, the fiscal needs of our defense forces.

Recently, Gen. Ray Odierno, the former III Corps & Fort Hood commander who is now Chief of Staff of the Army, spoke at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) January Institute of Land Warfare breakfast in Washington, D.C., and his message was quite clear — our national security is at risk because of the fiscal uncertainty that we face today.

The numbers are sobering — a $6 billion shortfall for FY 2013 in Army operation and maintenance accounts because Congress has failed to pass appropriations legislation and the Army must spend at the FY 2012 budget levels. If sequestration triggers on March 1, another $6 billion shortfall will occur. Combined with other underfunding, the total shortfall for FY 2013 could be $17 billion — in wartime!

Gen. Odierno outlined the steps the Army is taking to remain effective while dealing with the lack of funding — canceling combat training center rotations, delaying depot work, cancellation of maintenance for vehicles that are not bound immediately for the current fight, freezing civilian hiring, potential furloughing of existing employees and laying off temporary workers. The bottom line is that training, and therefore readiness, will suffer. He described Army end strength reductions to 490,000 that will occur regardless and said that if sequestration triggers, the number of troops could further dip.

Gen. Odierno stressed that what the Army needs most is some budget predictability through several years so that end strength and modernization and readiness can be carefully balanced and a hollow force avoided.

AUSA has been urging Congress to solve the sequestration puzzle quickly and we continue to highlight the significant dangers posed by sequestration and the repeated use of continuing resolutions to fund the Department of Defense.

Unfortunately, the military-related headlines in major newspapers today focus on side issues that serve only to take the eyes of the American people off of the key issue — the fiscal process must be put back in order so that our defense forces can maintain their readiness and their ability to defend this nation.

Bobby Hoxworth


Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter, AUSA

(3) comments


Yes the defense budget is ever so important for this area. Because this city & many councils haven't taken the initiative to develop other industry & relied solely on the military post & it's soldiers, it's a top priority that soldiers get paid & jobs are retained on post. This area is no more interested in national defense than any other place in America. Everyone wants a safe nation. But this area is dependent on troops dollars to keep the economy afloat. Like no other. Banks need to loan money, homes need to get sold. Are people really relying on getting the defense funding for the sake of soldiers & their families? For sake of self sounds more likely.

UT Fan

I don't think Congress is looking at local city councils to determine what they do with the sequester. Thank you Bobby for keeping the seriousness of the sequester in our minds. I hope our national leaders get in sync with making sure our defense budget is taken care of for our soldiers, families, and our country.


Change starts at home. Maybe Killeen City Council can manage local fiscal spending by prioritizing projects for public's greater good vs. allocating funds to pet projects they deem necessary.

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