Budget cuts for the Army and our economic ally Fort Drum are on the forefront of many residents and military families’ minds.
Family programs and services, as well as civilian contracts, are being closely examined by the Department of Defense and Army leaders, to find out what works and what doesn’t in an effort to save money.
“We are taking a hard look at family programs, not to cut them necessarily, but to make sure that we are delivering them in ways that make sense,” said John McHugh, Secretary of the U.S. Army.
One could say that at this point it’s about “cutting the fat” in the Army spending budget.
“The deep concern I have, and we are going to do everything we can to protect family programming because this is a family based Army, not say like it was 20 years ago, is that if we go to sequestration, if it in fact results that the Department of Defense has to find another $600 billion in cuts added to the $489 billion in cuts we are already working on to find, everything has to be on the board.”
Army leaders are examining the programs and services to find out which are most beneficial to soldiers and their families, especially during a time of deployment.
“I think that one of the things we have to look at is as we draw down in Iraq and we start to draw down in Afghanistan, as that process takes place, we may see some critical movement there, and if that happens that is going to bring more dollars back to us,” said Congressman Bill Owens.
“When you are at war… the first thing you have to do is take care of those war fighters and make sure that they have the training and the equipment- everything they need when deployed and that is our job one,” said McHugh. “The second thing I remain concerned about, behind that, is the families that are an important part of our Army team. You can’t have an affective war fighter if he or she is in Afghanistan or Iraq and they are worried about their family being taken care of.”
The challenge now seems to be finding those programs and services, and measuring their importance without affecting vital resources to soldiers, families and local civilian employees.
Check out the video story with interviews from Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Congressman Bill Owens to hear their complete thoughts on the Army budget cuts.