Today, U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) recognized the tremendous hardship and sacrifices made by the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Army, during a fiscal year 2017 budget hearing with Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy and the Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers asked Secretary Murphy about military readiness, combatting terrorism and budget cuts.
Rogers expressed concern for China's efforts to become a maritime power in the South and East China Seas, growing aggression in Russia, and continued brutality in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS and the Assad regime.
"With so much uncertainty and turmoil throughout the world, I remain concerned about our ability to respond to complex challenges in multiple regions as our force structure continues to decline," said Rogers.
According to the current plan, the Army is set to reach an active duty end strength of 460,000 by the end of fiscal year 2017, and will endure a reduction of another 10,000 troops by 2018.
"You are planning to cut yet another combat aviation brigade (CAB) over the next three years, leaving us with just 10 CABs in the active force. The first CAB eliminated was in my home state of Kentucky. Just last year, the Army deactivated the 159th CAB at Fort Campbell, which resulted in the loss of almost 3,000 personnel at this base," said Rogers. "Nevertheless, the soldiers at Fort Campbell have weathered this unwelcome loss, are as ready and equipped as ever, and are deploying in the fight against ISIS this spring. The Headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Iraq just last month, and soldiers from the 2nd BCT will be deploying in May to join them. They have our support, and we wish them a safe return home."
Rogers also questioned the Army's proposed 35% cut to aviation in the face of a recommendation by the National Commission on the Future of the Army to increase the aviation fleet and the amount of flying hours for active and reserve components.
“The Army consistently tells us how critical aviation is to its ability to fight and participate in joint missions," said Rogers. "The President’s Budget claims to prioritize the modernization of the Army’s helicopter fleet, yet opts to cut the Army’s aviation procurement account by 35%."
Click here to watch the fiscal year 2017 budget hearing for the U.S. Army.