Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ROA Learns More about Defense Efficiencies and Cuts

ROA’s legislative department attended the House Armed Services hearing last week about the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efficiency and savings measures.

Read the written testimony/watch the webcast

One issue discussed was the termination of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which DOD has no specific plan to replace.

When the panel’s service leaders were asked about health care problems, the Army and Navy said they lack enough behavioral health specialists, and the Marine Corps and Air Force said they need better post-deployment health care.

According to the Army, the announced end strength cuts are to make up for the 22,000 influx that was meant to be temporary, and the plan is to eventually get down to 547,000. The end strength cuts are supposed to be condition-based for what’s happening on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) highlighted the fact that there has been enormous pressure on the Reserve Components and end strength should not be cut. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) spoke about how TRICARE is widely viewed by those joining the military as providing lifetime health benefits, and that it is a breach of trust to impose fee increases on them.

Other issues that the committee were concerned about included lack of communication and transparency from DOD, continued utilization of Service Life Extension programs of equipment, maintaining the capacity to respond to threats, and plans for the new Air Force bomber.

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