If Sequestration takes effect in FY2016, "...we can lose, people will die, and people will be injured..."[[{"fid":"381","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]

Washington, DC: Today, the House Armed Services Committee conducted a full committee hearing regarding the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Budget request from the military departments. See below for a portion of Congressman Mike Turner’s exchange with General Raymond T. Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army.

REP. MIKE TURNER:  As you are all aware, today the House Budget Committee unveiled its budget and it will be funding the Department of Defense at the sequestration number, which I oppose and I think most people in this room oppose... 

But I have had this conversation with most of you. The more we talk in this room about the effects of sequestration the less we win. Because we are all on the same page. But we’ve got to get the message outside of this room. And unfortunately in this room, when we talk about sequestration, we use words like readiness, risk, capability, mission. General Odierno, I’m going to ask you to help give us some clarity, beyond words of readiness, risk, capability, and mission.

You testified last week that only 33% of our brigades are ready when our sustained readiness rate should be closer to 70%. This number is disturbing both because of its significance to our military and the effects of it. When a Brigade Combat Team or BCT—which is the essential building block of the Army’s combat power— isn’t ready and the Army isn’t ready to fight but they go to fight. General Odierno, could you describe to us doesn’t this mean that more people will get injured or killed? It isn’t just an issue of readiness, risk, capability, or mission? It’s that more people will get injured or killed? Is that correct?

GENERAL ODIERNO: That’s absolutely right Congressman. It means it will take us longer to do our mission, it will cost us in lives and it will cost us in injuries and it could potentially cost us in achieving the goals we are attempting to achieve as well.

REP. MIKE TURNER: So the translation we need is: we can lose, people will die, and people will be injured.

GENERAL ODIERNO: That is correct sir. 

REP. MIKE TURNER: Now General, if we go to full sequestration for FY2016 and that’s an issue that’s beyond just what the budget is, your goal of taking our brigades to 70% of readiness, how do you accomplish that? 

GENERAL ODIERNO: We will not. What we will do –as you mentioned with 33% ready now, that will go down with sequestration, probably to somewhere around 25%. We will have to focus all our resources on a small part of the force just to meet every day requirements that we have in the Army.  The rest of the force will go untrained and that means that if they are needed, they will not be able to do the job we expect them to do. And our sons and daughters will be asked to do things without the proper training or proper readiness of their equipment

REP. MIKE TURNER: Which again means that more people will be injured or killed?

GENERAL ODIERNO: That is correct sir.