March 23, 2016 —
WASHINGTON (March 22, 2016) — The United States military has not,
and will not compromise training or equipping of any troops going into
harm’s way, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the House
Armed Services Committee today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. was asked if American
troops were endangered by a lack of training. The question came in wake
of the death of a Marine in Iraq over the weekend.
“Have we compromised training or other critical capabilities
because of the force gap? I can tell you we haven’t done that,” the
chairman told the congressmen.
He said he routinely engages with Operation Inherent Resolve
leaders to ensure that they have everything they need to ensure success.
Dunford will be meeting soon with Inherent Resolve commander Army Lt.
Gen. Sean McFarland, he said.
“To date, we haven’t had any request that we’ve gone to the
president with … for capabilities that have been denied,” the chairman
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are in the process “of bringing
forward increased capability as a result of operations in Mosul, Raqqa
and elsewhere so we can maintain momentum and accelerate the campaign,”
Dunford said. “But at this time, … I don’t have concerns that we’ve not
put forces on the ground that have impacted our forces protection,
[casualty evacuation] or any of those things. We build a force from the
bottom up with those in mind.”
The chairman said that readiness is an issue, writ large, for
the U.S. military. “From my perspective there are really three issues,”
he said. “There are the resources that are necessary to address the
readiness issue, there’s time and then there is operational tempo.”
Dunford added, “The readiness challenges we are experiencing
right now are really the result of several years of unstable fiscal
environment as well as extraordinarily high operational tempo.”
Coming out of this will take some years, the general said, but
he is satisfied that DoD’s fiscal 2017 budget request is a good start.
“We have met the requirements from a fiscal prospective that the
services have identified for readiness,” he said. “In other words, we
can’t buy our way out of the problem in FY ’17 with more money, because
of the aspects of time and operational tempo.”
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps will come out of this readiness
“trough” around fiscal 2020, he said. The Air Force will not get out of
the trough until fiscal 2028.