Cuts Create ‘Difficult, Challenging’ Picture, Eucom Commander Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 19, 2013 The effects of spending cuts on personnel, force structure and programs reduce morale, efficiency and the ability to support the mission, the commander of U.S. European Command told Congress today.
Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, the top U.S. commander in Europe and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, told the Senate Armed Services Committee of the “significant and negative” effect of sequestration spending cuts on his command’s mission.
“I want to begin by saying the particular area that I'm concerned about in morale and retention is in our civilian workforce,” he said. “We have these marvelous civilians who do extraordinary work, stand with us every single day, and yet they are facing the possibility of furloughs, 20 percent pay cuts and so forth.”
As a result of the spending cuts, the Defense Department is notifying its civilian employees that they will be furloughed without pay for one day a week through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Stavridis said his own headquarters has suffered losses in production and support to its priorities.
“My own headquarters is reduced by about 25 percent in terms of our efficiency and our ability to support our missions,” he said. “Our actual operations in the Balkans, in the Levant, our ISR -- intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance -- are all reduced at about that level. I'm canceling about 140 security assistance programs that help us build this base of support … in Afghanistan.”
The admiral also described effects on his troops and their families due to the across-the-board cuts. Eucom has more than 78,000 troops in theater, and nearly 30 main operating bases.
“Indeed, even on the family side, the impact on our children who are going to be facing school day cuts and furloughs of their teachers is significant,” Stavridis said. “[It] is [also] part of this whole challenge for us. Then, as we look forward and we look at the cuts in force structure and platforms that are coming, overall, it’s a very difficult and challenging picture.”