Showing posts with label sequestration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sequestration. Show all posts

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Paul Ryan Forgot He Wrote the Budgets?

Did Paul Ryan forget that he is the one who wrote the budgets that caused the Sequestration in the first place and they never did anything Obama wanted anyway? Does he forget on purpose or is he just that dumb?

Does he really think Republicans are that stupid and didn't know the GOP controlled the House and Senate?

Paul Ryan's Pants on Fire claim on Air Force pilots forced to scrounge for airplane parts in museums

So, this is a sweeping claim: Air Force pilots, crippled by inadequate funding, being forced to scavenge for parts in museums to keep their own planes flying.
Typically we don’t use many quotes in our fact checks. But in this case, they seem to tell the story about Ryan’s claim:
"That’s a grotesque distortion," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Teal Group Corp., which does research on the aerospace and defense industry.
"It’s grossly misleading," said Benjamin Friedman, a Cato Institute defense and homeland security studies research fellow.
"While I admire Ryan, and agree that there are some problems in military readiness, this kind of hyperbole needs to be called out," said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.
click link for me once you stop shaking your head. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Senate Flops On Military Budget Increase

$18-billion hike for military fails in Senate
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: June 9, 2016

Without the increase, the Army will continue with plans to cut 15,000 soldiers and all servicemembers will receive a 1.6-percent pay raise, which will continue years of increases that fall below private sector wage growth.
WASHINGTON — The Senate backed away Thursday from breaking federal spending limits when it rejected a bid to add $18 billion to the military budget.

The spending hike, backed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was blocked by only a few votes and would have reversed troop drawdowns, bumped up pay raises, and bought more fighter jets, ships and helicopters.

McCain and other defense hawks in the Senate argued the military is stretched dangerously thin after 15 years of war. But billions of dollars in new spending would have violated military spending caps that have tied up the budget since 2011, when they were first pushed into law by a wave of Tea Party conservatives.

“Our military commanders have warned us we risk sending Americans into a conflict for which they are not prepared,” McCain said. “This is the reality our soldiers, airmen and Marines are facing. I say it doesn’t have to be this way.”
read more here

Monday, May 9, 2016

Less Soldiers Serving Now Than After WWII?

If you are a reporter with a functioning brain, I beseech you to take this report and then compare it to the number of suicides still in the military. If you thought you understood the problem before, this will really make your head explode. Less serving yet suicide totals remain high and Congress has done nothing to hold anyone accountable for the blank checks they write to "prevent them!" The question is, who is getting the benefits of all the money they pay out while families have to face funerals instead of futures? This is a link to the number of military suicides for 2015.
Army Has Fewest Active-Duty Soldiers Since 1940, Report Says
Fox News
May 09, 2016

The number of U.S. Army soldiers on active duty has been reduced to its lowest since 1940, according to a published report.

The Army Times reported this weekend that the Army's end strength for March was 479,172. That's 154 fewer soldiers than the service's previous post-World War II low, which was reached during the Army's post-Cold War drawdown in 1999.

The current number is still well above the 269,023 soldiers on duty in 1940, the year before America entered World War II. However, the report says the active force has been reduced by more than 16,500 troops over the past year -- the equivalent of about three brigades.

According to the Army Times, the Army is on track to reach its goal of reducing the number of active duty troops to 475,000 by Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2016. Under a drawdown plan unveiled last July, the number of active-duty soldiers would be reduced to 460,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017 and 450,000 by the end of fiscal year 2018, barring action by Congress or the Pentagon.

If those targets are met, the number of soldiers on active duty would be down 20 percent from 2010, when there were nearly 570,000 soldiers on active duty.

In addition to those on active duty, the Army has 548,024 soldiers in reserve, for a total force of 1,027,196 soldiers. Under the drawdown plan, the total force number would be reduced to 980,000 by the end of fiscal year 2018.
read more here

Friday, April 8, 2016

Senator Manchin "Army Too Small To Meet Threats Around The World"

Army Needs 220K More Soldiers to Deal With Major Foes: Milley
by Matthew Cox
Apr 07, 2016

Gen. Mark A. Milley tells 300 ROTC and U.S. Military Academy cadets his winning philosophy. Milley spoke during the George C. Marshall Award and Leadership seminar on Fort Leavenworth, Kan., March 31, 2015. (U.S. Army photo/ David Vergun)
The U.S. Army's chief of staff told lawmakers Thursday that the service would need another 220,000 soldiers before it could confidently handle major operations with emerging military foes around the world.

Gen. Mark Milley told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Army is operating at "high military risk" if it continues to operate at the proposed total Army troop strength of 980,000 soldiers.

By fiscal 2018, the Army's active force is slated to have 450,000 soldiers in its ranks. The National Guard will have 335,000 and the Army Reserve will have 195,000 soldiers.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, has been one of several lawmakers who's been very vocal about his concern that the Army is too small. "Everything that I have heard from your generals is there is no way we can meet the imminent threats that we have around the world with 980,000 soldiers," Manchin said.
read more here

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Congress Ignored Warnings From General Raymond Odierno

Odierno has been wrong on military suicides, especially when he said during an interview with the Huffington Post
"First, inherently what we do is stressful. Why do I think some people are able to deal with stress differently than others? There are a lot of different factors. Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations.
And then went on to point out that he had a very supportive family, meaning those who committed suicide must not have had support. Anyway, he's been wrong on a lot of things but this time, he isn't wrong. Congress just didn't care about having a strong Army or the price soldiers had to pay for what they failed to do.
Odierno Stepping Down With Barrage of Warnings on Troop Cuts
by Richard Sisk
Aug 12, 2015

In the face of continual budget cuts and shrinking end strength, Army Gen. Ray Odierno has been a persistent voice in stressing the "indispensable" role of the soldier during his time as chief of staff.

Odierno is leaving his post as the Army's top officer with a barrage of warnings on the risks to the nation of continuing cuts to the regular forces.

"We have deactivated 13 active-duty brigade combat teams and we are in the process of eliminating three active component combat aviation brigades," Odierno told the Senate Appropriations Committee last March.

The result is that "we have fewer soldiers, the majority of whom are in units that are not ready," Odierno said. "They are manning aging equipment at a time when a demand for Army forces is much higher than anticipated."

Odierno will hold his final news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday, and on Friday he will turn over his post as Army chief of staff to Gen. Mark Milley in a formal change-of-command ceremony at Fort Myer in Virginia.
read more here

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marines Left Stranded Thanks To Congress

Marines weighing having members hitch rides on foreign warships
FOX News
Jennifer Griffin Lucas Tomlinson
June 29, 2015

The Marines are weighing whether to have members hitch a ride on foreign warships, citing a shortage of U.S. Navy vessels due to recent budget cuts -- raising bipartisan security concerns about the leverage this could give other countries.

A key concern is whether a warship from a host nation could deny Marines permission to come ashore.

"Ceding our amphibious ships to other countries -- it's almost silly and I can't believe it is even an option for the Navy," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who served as a Marine in Iraq. "Now we are going to have to ask other countries, much less financially stable countries than America, to loan us their ships so that we can base our Marines on their ships. It's almost embarrassing."
read more here

Friday, May 29, 2015

Members of Congress, Weapons of Mass Deception!

There is a very interesting report on Foreign Policy about contractors working with the military. Within the report is this stunning piece of information.
"The extent of contracted support for America’s wars can be unearthed in the Pentagon’s daily “contracts” press releases. The most important recent U.S. policy statement for America’s post-2014 role in Afghanistan did not come from the White House, but rather was found in two paragraphs published late on New Year’s Eve, in which the Pentagon announced $100 million in contracts for DynCorp International, LLC, to “advise, train, and mentor” the Afghan Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense. Similarly revealing contracts include $12.8 million for Six3 Intelligence Solutions, Inc., $36 million for IDS International Government Services, LLC, and two — released on the same day — for $6.9 and $6.8 million awarded to Battlespace Flight Services, LLC, for work “performed at Jalalabad, Afghanistan,” and work “performed at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada” (Foreign Policy)

We now know that contractors have also been paid to take care of the troops medical care, as well as veterans. An example of that was proudly talked about at a Memorial event I attended over the weekend. One of the speakers talk about providing this "care" to the troops and veterans.

Luke and Associates Inc., a tiny, Brevard County startup staffing company that had never generated any contracts or revenue, signed a 10-year, $1.9 billion contract -- that's billion with a "B" -- with the U.S. Air Force to supply medical personnel to bases all over the country.

Luke and Associates, Inc. Awarded $20 million Contract at Fort Bliss, Texas

Is this all there was? Oh hell no! Plenty more to go around. There was a time when politicians were ashamed to have this kind of thing go on but now, hey, business as usual.

While you're thinking of those numbers, remember this was all happening when these same guys decimated the military with sequestration cuts and deployed servicemembers got lay off notices because there wasn't enough money to let them stay on the only job they ever wanted to do.

Angry yet? Politicians sent troops into Iraq looking for WMD but they should have just checked in Washington first for the real ones jeopardizing our security. Members of Congress, Weapons of Mass Deception!

The New Unknown Soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq
Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one?
Foreign Policy
MAY 29, 2015

This past Monday, as on every Memorial Day, American political and military leaders paid tribute to the sacrifice of service members who gave their lives for their country. The day of remembrance is not only to honor the past dead, but also to recognize the tens of thousands of service members still deployed in combat zones today, regardless of whether politicians label them as “wars” or whether these operations are in the forefront of Americans’ minds. On Memorial Day itself, the Pentagon released a somber statement: “Sgt. 1st Class Pablo A. Ruiz, 37, of Melbourne, Florida, died May 24, in Bagram, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.”

President Barack Obama, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, used standard language of reflection declaring, “We honor the sacrifice of the thousands of American service members — men and women — who gave their lives since 9/11, including more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.” This is factually accurate.

However, it overlooks the important sacrifices made by non-service members on behalf of military missions. Since 9/11, a total of 1,592 private contractors (approximately 32 percent of whom were Americans) working on Department of Defense contracts were also killed in Afghanistan. Last year, private contractors accounted for 64 percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan (56 service members and 101 contractors died). But we cannot know exactly where last year’s deceased are from, because shockingly the U.S. Department of Labor “does not routinely track the nationality of workers injured or killed under any of the laws administered by the program.”
read more here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sequestration Hitting Army Hard

Congress has been whining about "support the troops" but this pretty much proves they don't really practice what they preach. They could have fixed what they caused years ago. They didn't.
With sequestration looming, area’s economic future unclear
Killeen Daily Herald
JC Jones and Jacob Brooks
May 17, 2015
SHRINKING ARMY As the end of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan loomed in 2011 and 2012, military leaders began a plan to shrink the size of the Army from about 570,000 active-duty troops to 490,000 by 2020. However, when sequestration was enacted by Congress, a series of automatic budget cuts began in March 2013, cutting about $1.1 trillion — including more than $450 billion in defense spending — from the federal budget through 2021.

In August 2012, Ashley Kristof and her husband opened a 900-square-foot restaurant on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Killeen, blocks away from Fort Hood, where droves of hungry soldiers pour out every weekday during their lunch breaks.

Thanks to those hungry soldiers, the gamble of opening a restaurant — an industry where as many as 60 percent of new establishments fail in the first year — was a success.

The Kristofs’ restaurant, The Gyro Nook, now has a staff of eight and expansion plans are underway.

“I kind of need to open a second location,” Kristof said. The second Gyro Nook is set to open next month in Harker Heights, and the owners are contemplating moving the original location to a bigger building to keep up with demand.

“They come in groups of four or five at a time,” Kristof said. Up to 50 soldiers per hour will pass through during the peak lunch time, she added.
read more here

Monday, March 30, 2015

Army Tells Congress Sequestration Will Cost 14,000 More Soldiers

Army cautions sequestration could cut 14,000 service members 
Killeen Daily Herald
Rose L Thayer Herald staff writer
March 29, 2015
Dropping the Army’s end strength to 450,000 would require the involuntary separation of about 14,000 soldiers, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Army vice chief of staff, told lawmakers during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.
Army officials last week cautioned what troop reductions could look like should sequestration return in January.

Dropping the Army’s end strength to 450,000 would require the involuntary separation of about 14,000 soldiers, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Army vice chief of staff, told lawmakers during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.

“It will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and noncommissioned leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said, according to a report from Army News Service.

“Sequestration will undermine readiness, ultimately putting soldiers’ lives and our mission success at risk,” he said.
As Col. Karl Konzelman, chief of Army Force Management at the Pentagon, explained during Tuesday’s listening session in Killeen, the Army already exhausted all other means of troop reduction. Now it will have to start making cuts from active units. The listening session addressed troop reductions directly linked to the draconian budget cuts.
read more here

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Congressional Leadership Failure Has A Price Paid By Military

I am not a Democrat and this is one reason why I will never be a Republican. Under their "leadership" we had sequestration. That cut fund to the military as well as what they and their families need. They had years to fix it but didn't. They spent billions a year on programs that don't work as we've seen with the rise of military suicides.

Well folks, here we go again. The USO had to step up at Fort Bragg to fill in for what got cut.

"When deep budget cuts hit Fort Bragg, one of the casualties was an Army program meant to promote resiliency and reduce suicides."
USO of N.C. helps fill gaps for Army programs affected by budget cuts
By Drew Brooks
Military editor
Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015
Fort Bragg's commander, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, has praised the partnership. He said the USO stepped forward to continue important training that otherwise would have been cut. Speaking to community leaders earlier this year, he cited the partnership as an example of ways the community can help Fort Bragg.
USO of N.C. helps fill gaps for Army programs affected by budget cuts Staff photo by Andrew Craft Along with yoga, the program included a juggling lesson and classes on stress management, suicide, substance abuse, leadership and financial literacy.
When deep budget cuts hit Fort Bragg, one of the casualties was an Army program meant to promote resiliency and reduce suicides. But Fort Bragg leaders didn't give up.

Instead, they turned to community partners to fill the gaps created by tighter purse strings. The result is Warrior Reset, a three-day gathering at Cape Fear Botanical Garden that is serving Fort Bragg soldiers as well as members of the North Carolina National Guard, Marines from Camp Lejeune and soldiers from Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

The program, which ends today, has brought together about 70 people - including servicemembers and their wives - for hands-on activities designed to help troops cope with stress and open up about their problems.

Kelli Davis, troop and family programs director for the USO of North Carolina, said the troops are leaders who are expected to take the lessons learned back to those who serve with and under them. Davis said the USO will host similar programs on a quarterly basis, rotating across the state to other military communities, Raleigh and Charlotte.

It is the latest step in a partnership that has continually evolved. read more here

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

VFW Wants Action From Congress Over Sequestration

VFW Says Ending Sequestration is Top 2016 Priority
by Bryant Jordan
Capitol Hill
Mar 03, 2015

"Everyone is against the sequester but no one has yet proposed legislation to end it," said Joe Davis, the VFW's national spokesman.
Members of the nation's oldest veterans' service organization will be lobbying to end sequestration this week when they appear before congressional committees and meetings with lawmakers in their offices.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has a number of military- and veteran-related issues to talk up, but its top mission is to rid Washington of the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1 if Congress fails to pass a budget.

"Our members -- all voting constituents -- will use this face-to-face opportunity [with Congress] to demand ... an end to the sequester," VFW National Commander John W. Stroud said. With the U.S. still at war, the cuts required under the sequester will devastate military readiness, homeland security, the quality-of-life of military families and veterans, he said.

The VSO leadership and an estimated 500 members gather in Washington annually to confer on veterans and defense issues and lobby Congress for them.

VFW officials will testify before joint sessions of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees on Wednesday and Thursday, where they will make their case for proper benefits and healthcare funding for the Veterans Affairs Department.

The group's 2016 priorities list also seeks improved interoperability between VA and Defense Department records, continued safeguarding of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and for employment programs. The group's priorities also extend to defense and homeland security spending.

The sequester, officially the Budget Control Act, should be ended to "ensure defense funding supports quality of life programs for servicemembers and families, training and readiness, troop end strength and equipment needs," the organization said.
read more here

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sequestration Puts Navy at High Risk

Sea Services Officials Detail Sequestration’s Impact
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
By Jim Garamone
Feb. 26, 2015
Lightning flashes over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the ship transits the Persian Gulf, Feb. 8, 2015. The carrier is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr.

Under the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal, the military’s sea services would be able to carry out their worldwide missions, but if sequestration triggers, all bets are off, senior Navy and Marine Corps officials said on Capitol Hill yesterday.

Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command; and Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, the deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources, testified before the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power and projection forces on the budget request.
High Risk
The department’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal represents the bare minimum to execute the defense strategy guidance. It still, however, “results in high risk in two of the most challenging missions that depend on adequate numbers of modern, responsive forces,” the joint statement said.

“The principal risk to the department’s ability to meet the [defense strategy guidance] remains the uncertainty in future funding, which affects our planning and the ability to balance near- and long-term readiness and capability,” the statement said. “The fiscal 2014 President’s Budget was the last budget submission to fully meet all of the missions.”

The Navy made difficult, strategy-based choices and shifted funds to higher priority missions, but that is not sustainable, officials said in the statement.
read more here

You know how we keep hearing politicians say they support the troops and value the military? Like they say, talk is cheap and these guys think our defense forces should be too or they would have fixed the budget by now. They aren't even talking about it so as with the picture of lightning off the USS Carl Vinson, Congress struck again.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pentagon Isn't Buying What Congress Is Saying?

Do reporters read what they write? The title of the article is that the Pentagon is saying it doesn't want congress buying stuff the military doesn't need yet the part about John McCain is about saying the Pentagon needs to be stopped from doing it. WFT?
Yet one more reason,,,,
"Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts."
Pentagon Tells Congress to Stop Buying Equipment it Doesn't Need
Matthew Cox
January 28, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday he wants the U.S. Military's service chiefs to have more power to prevent the Pentagon from buying weapons it doesn't need.

Sen. John McCain, SASC's new chairman in the new Republican-run Senate, said one his top priorities for this session is to ensure that the service chiefs have more input into the acquisition and procurement process.

Wednesday's hearing's focus was to hear testimony on the next round of mandatory defense spending cuts under sequestration scheduled to occur in fiscal 2016.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have already suffered massive cuts to end-strength, modernization and readiness under sequestration that began in 2012. And just like in past hearings, the heads of each service predicted a grim outlook if more sequestration cuts come in 2016.

All the services agreed that they would not be able to continue to meet mandatory missions under the National Defense Strategy – win a major war, deter the threats of a second, major enemy and protect the homeland at the same time.

Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts. read more here

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Army Kicking Out Soldiers Early Slated For Deployment

Policy will force-out enlisted slated to deploy
Army Times
By Jim Tice, Staff Writer
January 23, 2015
The Army plans to inactivate six brigade combat teams this year as part of a sweeping reorganization and drawdown for reaching an active component end strength of 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30. The manning goal is about 10,000 fewer troops than are in the force now.

Soldiers scheduled deploy with an ETS date of up to 12 months
away may be involuntarily separated, under Army policy.
(Photo: Sgt. Michael Crawford, U.S. Army Europe)

Involuntary separations of up to 12 months ahead of a soldier's ETS have been authorized for certain Regular Army enlisted soldiers who are assigned to units scheduled for deployment or deactivation, and who decline to re-enlist or extend as the Army draws down.

The special policy, called the Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program, mirrors a similar policy in effect during 2014. The program applies to three categories of active component (Regular Army) soldiers:

Units Scheduled for Contingency Deployment: Soldiers assigned to units that are deploying in support of a named contingency, such as Resolute Support in Afghanistan, and who will have six months or less of service remaining when their unit arrives in theater will be involuntarily separated up to 12 months in advance of their contracted ETS if they do not re-enlist or extend to stay with the unit through the deployment.

Units Scheduled for Inactivation: Soldiers assigned to inactivating units with ETS between the inactivation date and inactivation plus 365 days, and who elect not to re-enlist or extend, will be involuntarily separated up to 12 months before their ETS.

Units Scheduled for Korea Rotation: Soldiers who do not re-enlist or extend to meet the service remaining requirement for a Korea rotation plus 90 days, and who cannot be effectively used by other units at the same installation, will be subject to involuntary early separation.
read more here

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pentagon still playing "budgetary shell game" after sequestration

Pentagon to request 20 percent less for war funding, officials say
Bloomberg News
By Tony Capaccio
Published: January 8, 2015
"It's a budgetary shell game for getting around" the caps imposed by the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, Harrison said in an email.

Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division salute as soldiers killed in an improved explosive device strike are flown from Combat Outpost Nalgham to Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on August 11, 2011.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will request about $51 billion in war funding for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, a 20-percent reduction from the $64 billion Congress approved this year and the least since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials and congressional aides said.

The Overseas Contingency Operations funding, as it is known, will be sent to Congress in addition to basic defense spending of about $534 billion when President Barack Obama offers his proposed fiscal 2016 federal budget Feb. 2, according to the officials and aides, who asked not to be identified before the details are made public.

While the decline in war funding largely reflects the continued withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan — from the 10,600 now there to half that planned by year-end — it remains enough to draw questions about why the Defense Department shouldn't pay to fight wars as part of its basic mission.

"The continuing drawdown in Afghanistan is not having a proportionate effect on" the war budget because it's "being used for a lot of things other than Afghanistan," said Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst with the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.

"It's a budgetary shell game for getting around" the caps imposed by the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, Harrison said in an email.
read more here

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Congressional Grinch Cuts Pay and Benefits For Troops

House passes defense bill with benefit cuts, money for Obama war strategy
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
December 4, 2014
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed a defense budget that cuts troop benefits and clears the way for the Obama administration to continue its war strategy against the Islamic State, despite bipartisan outcry over a lack of debate.
The last-minute budget compromise reduces military pay raises, housing allowances, prescription medicine coverage, and commissary funding next year, while providing $63.7 billion for overseas wars and permission for continued arming and training of Syrian rebel groups.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on the massive 2015 budget bill, which was cobbled together during weeks of closed-door negotiations after the Senate failed to pass its version of a defense budget.

The military “is going to have to live with a dramatically smaller amount of money than they thought they would have,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

He said the cuts do not go far enough and more are likely in the coming years.

The military is faced with a shrinking budget as sequestration forces caps on spending. Top brass came to Capitol Hill earlier this year lobbying for a wide range of cuts to personnel and equipment, warning that their ability to fight wars depends on reining in the ballooning expenses.
read more here

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Land of the free but do we deserve to be?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 29, 2014

We have the best military in the world. No doubt about it. Patriots obtained our freedom and every generation after them retained it. They filled up cemetery plots during combat and afterwards because we didn't care enough about what they needed from us.

We don't take care of them when they are serving or when they come home. We are all enjoying the rights and freedoms they make sure we have but at the end of the day, we need to answer some questions honestly.

Why are soldiers and families on food stamps?
About five percent more shoppers used food stamps at commissaries in 2013 than used them in 2012. But the increase is actually a sign that use is leveling off instead of quickly increasing as it had been before. Between 2011 and 2012 it went up 13 percent. And back between 2008 and 2009 it went up 70 percent, according to figures from DeCA.

I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, surely we should be paying our military members enough that food stamps are out of the question. On the other hand, is the need for food stamps really as high as it seems?

The story originally broke last fall here and finally made its way to CNN over Presidents Day weekend.

The food stamp increase doesn’t track with the rate of use of the Woman and Infant Children (WIC) subsidy. Army Times reported in October that those numbers were trending steadily downward. About 6 percent fewer military families used WIC at the commissary in 2013 than in 2012.
“On occasion, customers with food-stamp EBT cards found themselves in the wrong line, and we’d have to direct them to use one of the registers with an EBT terminal,” said Gary Hensley, director of the commissary at Fort Benning, Ga., in an announcement from the Defense Commissary Agency. The Fort Benning commissary rang up more than $1.1 million in purchases in the food stamp redemption program in 2007, tops among commissaries.
Why are they getting layoff notices in Afghanistan?
The study believes our newest veterans have financial hardships that make accessing sufficient food more difficult compared to the average citizen.

“We found that 27 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have consistent access to sufficient food,” said University of Minnesota researcher Rachel Widome, Ph.D.,. “That’s drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.”

Research was conducted with the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs, and surveyed 922 veteran records.

The Army says it will soon notify 550 majors that they must leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.

As the Army looks to reduce its force to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015 and 450,000 by the end of FY ’17, a military personnel official from Fort Hood said Tuesday that 213 captains within III Corps were recently identified by the Army Officer Separation Board to transition from the service in the coming months. At Fort Hood, 91 captains were affected by the OSB, according to Jay Whitaker, the senior military personnel officer, or G1, with Fort Hood’s Mission Support Element.

Fiscal 2016 sequestration marks ‘breaking point’ Everyone wants the U.S. to lead the way in resolving global conflicts and crises, he said, not necessarily supplying the preponderance of forces, but involvement to some extent. The nagging question is, “Do we want to do that or not?” In fiscal year 2016, Odierno pointed out that the budget will go down $9 billion from what it is now. That would have a “significant degradation” on the force “because I cannot take people out fast enough.”

Why do the wounded get this kind of treatment?

The memo encourages "dispositions/discharges as soon as possible." Hospital spokesperson Sandy Dean explained this direction, saying, "We are are encouraging health care providers to be more efficient when handling their paperwork instead of writing discharge orders later in the day ... no patient has been or will be discharged before it is medically appropriate."

With cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems at an all-time high, Dean says civilian caregivers in the hospital's in-patient mental health section are furloughed, reducing beds there from 28 to 22.
The news of veterans getting the shaft at the VA seemed like such a shock yet if you remember, since they didn't remind you, none of it was new. Congress gave us decades of promises to fix what the VA got wrong and support what they got right. Here's a few more stories the national press forgot about.

Why are veterans still finding when they turn to the VA for help healing PTSD, it isn't there?
Howard County Veterans' Service Officer Ross Waltemath estimated out of the up to 10,000 veterans who live in Kokomo and the surrounding area, which has the highest number of veterans per capita in Indiana, around 2,000 have mental-health disorders.

“We've got a lot of vets running around Howard County with real problems,” he said.

But when local veterans seek help for their disorder, they discover it's not easy to find.

Waltemath said there's a two-month wait to see a psychiatrist or mental-health worker at the VA clinics in Indianapolis, Marion or Fort Wayne, where most area veterans end up going for treatment.

He said with the influx of service members coming back with PTSD and other mental illnesses, area VA hospitals aren't equipped to handle the spike in cases.

“The VA health care system is completely overloaded,” he said. “Mental health is one of the areas that's totally overwhelmed all our medical facilities. No clinic is designed or manned anymore to deal with the volumes of people out there.”

Once vets do eventually get in to see a therapist or psychologist, there's a good chance they won't have another appointment for a few months, Waltemath said.

“I've never heard of a VA turn a guy away, but if you have mental-health issues and you get in once every three months, how big of a help is it really to you?” he said.

The problem goes far beyond long waits to get into to see a VA therapist.

One of the biggest issues is the lack of psychiatrists and psychologists who have any military experience or a real understanding of how to properly treat PTSD and traumatic brain injury, said Ken Gardner, an Air Force veteran and clinical therapist at Kokomo Family Psychiatric Center.

He said for most veterans, it's tough to speak to a mental-health worker about their disorder who hasn't served and doesn't understand military culture.

“It's really difficult to relate to a therapist who is fresh out of school and who doesn't understand the experience of the vet,” Gardner said.

Chris Fidler, the local facilitator for the non-profit Vet 2 Vet peer group, said the lack of providers with military experience is one of the biggest obstacles for veterans seeking help.

“People in the military are thrown into something they're not prepared for,” he said. “The military tries to prepare you for it, but who can ever really be prepared to go and kill people and see the horrors that they see? So anybody that tells a combat veteran they understand what they're going through is lying. They haven't been there, and they don't understand.”

Capt. Scott Edwards, a state behavioral health officer and the chief psychologist for the Indiana National Guard, said many mental-health workers at VA clinics not only lack military experience but don't know how to properly treat PTSD.

“The VA providers are supposed to know how to do these treatments, but what I've found is that they aren't very proficient,” he said. “We can't always assume that the VA is offering the appropriate treatment.”

For many vets, the only treatment they get from a VA behavioral health provider is a bag of prescription meds, said veteran's service officer Waltemath.

The situation is even worse for veterans trying to find help at civilian hospitals and behavioral-health centers.

Waltemath said there are hardly any local providers who have any military experience or know how to properly treat PTSD and other mental-health issues related to combat.

“If you have a clinician who can't even spell the word 'deployment,' these vets aren't going to come back to you,” Waltemath said.
read more of this here
Are they right? Yes but it turns out only 13% of civilian mental health providers understand military culture.
A Rand Corp. survey of 522 psychiatrists, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers found that just 13 percent met the study's criteria for "cultural competency," meaning they understood military mores, language and background, and delivered appropriate care for illnesses unique to the military, such as combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

We read the end result far too often. The result of the military refusing to adapt programs that actually work instead of kicking thousands of them out with bad paper discharges every year. Instead of trying to convince the public these soldiers were "damaged" before they enlisted so we aren't supposed to care or hold any of the leaders accountable for any of it. They are unable to accept responsibility for their own mental health testing failing if that actually is the reason as much as they refuse to accept responsibility for their own programs being inadequate for the non-deployed yet they tell redeployed they were trained to be resilient.

Then the VA itself lacks properly trained psychologists and psychiatrists to treat those able to overcome the stigma the military filled them with. Lacking the help they need adds to the stress they are already under but the top off is when members of the press twist words to make it seem as if veterans turning to the VA are only looking for money. Nice little trick being played on millions of veterans with PTSD.

The question we need to start answering is, do we deserve to have the best military in the world? Do we deserve the men and women stepping up to retain our freedom or not? Seems like everyone says stuff like "I know my rights" and scream about freedom of speech and religion but then never seem to understand where those rights come from. Our troops serving today and veterans who served yesterday made sure your rights were defended so you could use the right to ignore them or fight for them.

Do we deserve them or not? When do we start acting like it? When do we take the time to fight for them?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pentagon Not As Optimistic as GOP over Sequestration Roll Back

Pentagon Not As Optimistic as GOP over Sequestration Roll Back
Kris Osborn
November 6, 2014

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill expect the defense portion of sequestration to be incrementally rolled back once the new Congress comes to session in 2015 even though Pentagon officials said Wednesday that they aren't so confident.

Sequestration is slated to resume in 2015, but Congressional sources said they expect the Republicans to use their new majority in the Senate to lessen the burden on the military.

"What you will probably see is a consensus among Republicans that we really need to roll back sequestration for defense. I think there will be a whole new momentum to take the defense portion of sequestration off the table. Once you do that, everything else changes," the source said.

However, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition official, said Wednesday morning at a speech in Washington D.C. that he would be "quite surprised" if Congress would come to a consensus to protect the Defense Department from sequestration.

There's also the question of whether President Obama would support it. The president could veto a deal and Obama has said he would only support a repeal of sequestration if it was balanced on defense and non-defense programs.
read more here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Navy Marksmanship Team must pay for all expenses while representing the Navy?

Missing the mark: Top marksmen say Navy funding cut impairs team
Navy Times
By Meghann Myers
Staff writer
Oct. 12, 2014
Members of the Navy Marksmanship Team must pay for all expenses while representing the Navy, the result of budget cuts two years ago. Here, Chief Gunner's Mate Don Christenson fires his AR-15 rifle at a 2007 competition.
(MC3 Sean P. Lenahan / Navy)

Did you know the Navy has an official shooting team?

It does, but the team that’s been around since 1907 is in danger of falling apart after deep budget cuts two years ago, team members say. The Navy’s best marksmen foot the bill — amounting to thousands of dollars a year — for the lodging, transportation, fees, guns and ammo needed to represent the service at top competitions. And the cuts are making it hard to keep going, let alone recruit the next generation’s sharpshooters.

“We need equipment for the young shooters, to inspire them to get in the game,” said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EWS/SW/AW) David Walker. “Some of the old-timers are leaving, and who’s going to be next?”

Walker and some others can recall the time when their competitions and team expenses were wholly covered by the service, which stopped in 1977. But Naval Sea Systems Command still picked up some bills until two years ago, another team leader said.

“We have had some support, up until two years ago,” said Cmdr. Mick Glancey, the team’s officer-in-charge. “NAVSEA had been basically paying for weapons and maintenance, [but] they lost the funding to support the small-arms program, which paid for ammunition.”
read more here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fiscal 2016 sequestration marks ‘breaking point’ for the Army

It seems as if people have just gone insane in the online world. So many so upset about Obama getting off Air Force 1 with a coffee cup in the same hand he saluted a Marine with. Ok, so he should have switched hands but he didn't. That is what they are upset about but not so much the fact that our troops are under siege by Congress.
Army Chief: Fiscal 2016 sequestration marks ‘breaking point’
Fort Hood Sentinel
By David Vergun, Army News Service
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

WASHINGTON - Should sequestration resume in fiscal year 2016, “it will be very difficult for us to lead around the world. Fiscal year 2016 is a breaking point,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, adding, “I’m not seeing peace breaking out around the world in (2016).”

Odierno delivered his remarks Friday, at a Defense Writers Group, at the Fairmont Hotel here, where he was guest speaker.

Everyone wants the U.S. to lead the way in resolving global conflicts and crises, he said, not necessarily supplying the preponderance of forces, but involvement to some extent. The nagging question is, “Do we want to do that or not?”

In fiscal year 2016, Odierno pointed out that the budget will go down $9 billion from what it is now. That would have a “significant degradation” on the force “because I cannot take people out fast enough.”

The general explained that manpower, modernization and training need to be kept in balance even as the budget shrinks and it’s currently out of balance with too many Soldiers and not enough dollars to properly train and equip them.

With a reduction of 20,000 a year, that’s as far as he said he’s willing to push it without seriously degrading operational concerns and personnel considerations.
Sequestration takes “a large percentage of a small portion of the budget” that would have otherwise gone to training and equipping the force, he said. The slashed budget will delay aircraft purchases, platform upgrades, improved command-and-control systems and a host of other needed requirements for years to come.

The active Army is now 510,000, which is down from a high of 570,000. It will be 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015, 470,000 by fiscal year 2016, 415,000 by fiscal year 2017 and 420,000 by fiscal year 2019, he pointed out.

Before the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, and the Russian incursion into Ukraine, Odierno said he testified to lawmakers that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a “significant” security risk and 420,000 would mean the Army would be unable to “execute our current strategy.”
read more here
Guess they just weren't important enough for Congress to stick around long enough to figure out what they would approve and fund before taking off to try to get re-elected.

Military suicides keep going up so that Navy SEAL, Green Berets and other Special Forces bravest of the brave have committed suicide even after Congress spent billions a year on "preventing" them. Ya, and they just keep writing the checks no matter what happened to the troops. Top that off with they really aren't too upset over veterans committing suicide either, since their numbers went up as well.

Sorry but when it comes down to what we really have to complain about, do we really think it is a wise use of indignation to focus on feeble salute?

Oh by the way, Obama was focused on military suicides in 2008 when he was running for office and serving on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, just in case you forgot that. We expected a lot more of out of him but as of this very day, no one has been held accountable.