Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the 35th Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, visited Fort Bragg Tuesday to observe training and engage with 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers as well as meet with division and Forces Command leaders.
Allyn also discussed several issues surrounding the future of the Army and Fort Bragg.
Sustainment, restoration and modernization funds
Allyn acknowledged the need for sustainment, restoration and modernization funds not only at Fort Bragg, but across the entire Department of Defense. The relief needed would be about $11 billion dollars, he said.
With its 52 million square feet of building space, Fort Bragg makes up about $312 million dollars of that relief.
“We are working through the 2017 supplemental requests that we put forward to get increased dollars to begin to bring that deficit down, but my visibility today on what 2018 is going to look like is that it won’t be a substantial increase.”
He said funding will certainly address the most-pressing SRM projects that directly contribute to health, safety and readiness.
“Those are the metrics that we are using as we prioritize and the voice of the senior commander will always be heard,” he said.
Security Force Assistance Brigades
The Army has announced the formation of Security Force Assistance Brigades, which are designed to focus on security force assistance. A Military Advisor Training Academy will train Soldiers assigned to these specialized units at Fort Benning, Georgia starting in October.
Allyn said the SFABs were created because they address the multiple variations of sourcing solutions that have been applied through the train, advise and assist mission.
“The outcome of our current sourcing solution is that we take a brigade combat team, we strip away its leaders to perform the train, advise, assist mission and the rest of the Soldiers in the unit suffer from an inadequate leader-to-lead ratio and non-deployability for the rest of the formation,” Allyn said.
The desire with the SFABs is to increase available BCTs for surge requirements and take specially trained, selected and experienced leaders to perform the mission, he explained.
“We are going to learn a lot in the stand-up of the first (SFAB) at Fort Benning, Georgia. Forces Command as well as Training and Doctrine Command will be heavily involved in the effort,” he said. “I am sure we will learn from the first employment and continue to mature not only our construct but our methodology and how we recruit train and employ this capability.”
“What we plan for and what actually comes from Congress could be two different outcomes,” Allyn said about whether the Army will continue to operate under a continuing resolution and whether supplemental funding will be received this year.
“We have clearly articulated to Congress the adverse impacts of a year-long continuing resolution. We have put forth a prioritized list of additional funds that we need.”
He said the funds would pay for the readiness of the additional 28,000 Soldier increase authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act and address the readiness gaps that have emerged as a result of increased missions that weren’t foreseen at the beginning of the year.
“It’s going to enable us to address some holes in the yard that we have across our formations in terms of manning our formations and equipping our formations for the missions that we have,” Allyn said.
He added that increasing the Army’s war stock at depots and ammo plants for munitions and critical equipment will be jumpstarted.
Budget Control Act
As a commander that was in the field when sequestration was last implemented, Allyn said he knows first-hand how debilitating it was for the immediate readiness of the force as well as how long it took to fight back out of the hole that it dug.
“Frankly, we are still in a climb back out of that precipice, so it is critical Congress takes action to eliminate the threat of the Budget Control Act to the Department of Defense and then to pass a budget that funds our military to accomplish the important work the nation has for us to do,” Allyn said.
He said BCA is enemy number one for any commander in the Army because it destroys readiness and it is critical that Congress takes action to eliminate the BCA to the DoD.
“We believe that’s the most important work before the Congress today and we hope that action is taken.”
The importance of Army readiness will continue on the same path it’s been on throughout the history of the rapid deployment capability, Allyn said.
“Fort Bragg offers, to not only to the United States Army, but to our national defense, the ability to project trained and ready forces in an expeditionary manner to accomplish vital missions for the nation,” Allyn said.
He said Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps, along with FORSCOM will provide critical mission command and continue to be a global force manager for delivering trained and ready forces in support of all combatant commanders’ requirements.
“We have 185,000 Soldiers deployed in 140 countries today and the vast majority of that capability is delivered thanks to the good work of the United States Army Forces Command.”
Allyn said he is very appreciative of the support Fort Bragg receives from the communities and counties surrounding Fort Bragg.
“They are essential to sustaining the life blood of not only Fort Bragg but the Army,” he said. “It’s our Soldiers and Families that enable us to perform the very hard work that’s required of us for the nation and we couldn’t do it without a team effort.”