Westphal: Budget cuts will affect readiness

Joseph Westphal, under secretary of the Army, said on April 18 that upcoming budget cuts are a threat to national readiness and security.

The army has to make large cutbacks because of the fiscal crisis. The army has already frozen hiring civilians in everything save for mission-critical jobs, laid off temporary and term employees, cut back on travel and conferences and cut down on maintenance at bases.

"We don't ever want our president to have to call up to the Army, and that's the message he gets, an Army where Soldiers aren't trained, a force that is not ready to go at a moment's notice, that's not equipped to go," Westphal said. "That's the challenge of readiness."

Westphal is going to have to make significant cuts in military spending, some of which will involve cutting back on training. It will also affect their readiness to deploy should a situation arise.

Readiness is not a commonly understand concept. Westphal said civic leaders need a better understanding of readiness so it can be explained to the nation.

"Readiness is a critical element," Westphal said. "When you hear that word, when you go back to your communities and talk about that, [ask] is your Army ready to take on whatever fight the president and the Congress deem necessary?"

Westphal said the army would still be around even with the budget cuts and reassured the nation that they would continue to provide jobs and defense where needed.

"Regardless of sequestration, partisan divide, politics, ideology or economic downturns, your Army will always be on point for the nation," Westphal said.