WASHINGTON, March 22, 2016 — The United States military has not, and will not compromise training or equipping of any troops going into harm’s way, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the House Armed Services Committee today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. was asked if American troops were endangered by a lack of training. The question came in wake of the death of a Marine in Iraq over the weekend.
“Have we compromised training or other critical capabilities because of the force gap? I can tell you we haven’t done that,” the chairman told the congressmen.
He said he routinely engages with Operation Inherent Resolve leaders to ensure that they have everything they need to ensure success. Dunford will be meeting soon with Inherent Resolve commander Army Lt. Gen. Sean McFarland, he said.
“To date, we haven’t had any request that we’ve gone to the president with … for capabilities that have been denied,” the chairman said.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are in the process “of bringing forward increased capability as a result of operations in Mosul, Raqqa and elsewhere so we can maintain momentum and accelerate the campaign,” Dunford said. “But at this time, … I don’t have concerns that we’ve not put forces on the ground that have impacted our forces protection, [casualty evacuation] or any of those things. We build a force from the bottom up with those in mind.”
The chairman said that readiness is an issue, writ large, for the U.S. military. “From my perspective there are really three issues,” he said. “There are the resources that are necessary to address the readiness issue, there’s time and then there is operational tempo.”
Dunford added, “The readiness challenges we are experiencing right now are really the result of several years of unstable fiscal environment as well as extraordinarily high operational tempo.”
Coming out of this will take some years, the general said, but he is satisfied that DoD’s fiscal 2017 budget request is a good start. “We have met the requirements from a fiscal prospective that the services have identified for readiness,” he said. “In other words, we can’t buy our way out of the problem in FY ’17 with more money, because of the aspects of time and operational tempo.”
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps will come out of this readiness “trough” around fiscal 2020, he said. The Air Force will not get out of the trough until fiscal 2028.
By Jim Garamone