DoD Asks Congress for $30.8 Billion in Fiscal '03 to Fund Guard and Reserve
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 30, 2002 The reserve components' fiscal 2003 budget request for $30.8 billion for personnel, operations, equipment procurement and facilities is 12 percent more than last year's funding, according to Jennifer Buck, the reserve components' top resource manager.
DoD is asking for $30.8 billion on behalf of the reserve components in the fiscal 2003 defense budget request -- a 12 percent increase over fiscal 2002, said Jennifer Buck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs resources. Photo by Rudi Williams.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"Most of this increase is going toward the defense health program's anticipated expenses, across-the-board and targeted pay raises, bonuses, operations tempo increases and recruiting," said Buck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs resources.
Some $2.3 billion is earmarked for procurement and modernization, including UH-60 helicopters, the Javelin anti-armor missile system, Multiple Launch Rocket System, tactical vehicles, trucks, aircraft modernization and support equipment and towed howitzers, she said.
A $297 million chunk of the reserve component budget is for new construction as well as planning and design work at various reserve component sites.
"We're particularly interested in supporting joint projects," Buck said.
Some big projects are:
- $6.7 million for a bachelor enlisted quarters at Naval Air Station Atlanta for use by Naval Reserve members and Air Force personnel at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
- $14.6 million for a runway-taxiway extension and $2.7 million for a hazardous material storage facility for use by Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps reservists and the Air National Guard at the joint Reserve base in New Orleans.
- $4.8 million for a Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Norfolk, Va.
- $14.6 million for an Army National Guard and Reserve Center that will also support Marine Corps Reserve units in the Topeka, Kan., area.
The $30.8 billion fiscal 2003 request doesn't reflect any supplemental appropriation for unbudgeted expenses related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The fiscal 2002 defense supplemental appropriation addressed those concerns, Buck said.
"The fiscal 2003 request for $30.8 billion is for the normal operating expenses of the National Guard and Reserve," she continued. "The 2003 budget does, however, increase reserve component support in training and exercising with traditional first responders across America. About $33 million goes toward weapons of mass destruction medical training and about $30 million going toward pre-positioned Army Reserve combat hospitals.
"We also added $5.5 million for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve," she added.
"There are also additional funds being used for Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom and force protection," Buck pointed out. Operation Noble Eagle is the official name for homeland defense and civil support services. Operation Enduring Freedom is the name for the military campaign against terrorism.
The number of reserve component personnel will dip a little, from 864,658 in fiscal 2002 to 864,558 in fiscal 2003, she noted.
Buck manages the $96.7 million budgeted out of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs for Challenge, STARBASE and Innovative Readiness Training, three DoD civil-military outreach programs that rely on the services of Guard and Reserve personnel.
Lt. Col. Bob Stone, former manager of the outreach programs, said, Challenge is a 22-week resident program for high school dropouts. The young people live in a quasi military environment, learn life-coping skills and study for a GED high-school equivalency certificate.
"They have about a 72 percent rate of finishing the course and getting a GED," Stone said. "When they do that, they're eligible to enlist in the armed forces."
Stone said STARBASE "takes fourth- to sixth-grade kids onto a military installation one day a week for five weeks and introduces them to real-world applications of math and science. They do team-building exercises, build a rocket, meet our pilots, see our aircraft and get excited about math and science."
The Innovative Readiness Training program involves military units doing things like building roads in underserved areas of America. "It's good training for the unit and benefits communities," Stone noted.
"Our goal with these programs is to give the American public an opportunity to see the human face of the U.S. military to help them better understand what the role of the military is in the 21st century," Buck said. "At the same time, the programs help recruit and retain our most valued resource -- our people."