Funding Holdup Threatens Army Training, Civilian Hires
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
NEW ORLEANS, June 6, 2000 If Congress fails to pass the emergency supplemental bill for Kosovo, Army officials say they will have to start curtailing military training, canceling construction projects and deferring maintenance.
Army officials will also be forced to freeze civilian hiring and civilian moves. All services have been affected by the failure to pass the emergency supplemental; DoD transferred $200 million from the Navy and Air Force to Army accounts already.
Brig. Gen. Hugh Tant, director of operations and support in the Army's financial management office, sent a memo to all Army major commands "taxing" them 8 percent of their annual operations and maintenance accounts.
Tant's memo said a supplemental must pass quickly or the Army would have to curtail operations on July 1 to stay within current appropriations levels. If the bill is not passed quickly the Army would have to absorb $1.5 billion in unbudgeted costs.
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said the United States will continue to field and fund forces in Kosovo, Bosnia, Southwest Asia and Korea, but "the Army has to suck $1.9 billion out of somewhere if the supplemental does not pass on time." He warned the Army might start canceling training exercises, which would impact Army readiness.
The supplemental is attached to the fiscal 2001 military construction bill, under consideration this week by a House and Senate conference committee.
Complicating the situation, officials said, is that it takes about 30 days to receive the emergency money in accounts. Gen. Montgomery Meigs, commander of U.S. Army, Europe, told members of Congress that he must have the money by July 2 or he would be compelled to cut training exercises in Europe in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000, July 1 to Sept. 30.