Top Enlisted Soldier Warns of Budget Cut Effects


Brigades across the Army are beginning to cancel trips to top training grounds -- a prospect that could leave the majority of the troops who are not already overseas unprepared to deploy, the Army's top enlisted soldier said Thursday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler discussed the cuts while in town for the Warrior Games. Chandler spent much of Thursday visiting units across Fort Carson, while also hosting a town hall meeting for more than 300 soldiers.

"Right now, between now and September, and possibly into '14 (2014), if we don't get a budget, we're going to have a very low level of readiness," said Chandler after the town hall.

"And by low, I mean individual squad and platoon level is about the highest we're going to be able train for about 80 percent of the Army that's not deployed."

But the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team appears on track to buck the automatic budget cuts that have forced the cancellation of training exercises at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., Army officials said Thursday.

The 2nd Brigade's top leaders completed a weeklong exercise last week at Fort Irwin in anticipation of the unit's upcoming monthlong training exercise the center, which sits deep in the Mojave Desert, said Maj. Chris Maestas, a brigade spokesman.

The entire 3,500-soldier unit is expected to leave for center in June. The Pentagon has not announced where the unit could deploy after that.

The automatic budget cuts, often known as sequestration, have caused cutbacks across the military, including furloughs for civilian employees and reduced in maintenance at installations.

The cuts, which total more than $40 billion, must be implemented by the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30.

To balance the Army's budget, officials have begun to cancel training exercises at Fort Irwin, the Army's top enlisted soldier said Thursday.

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