Washington , DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Solomon P. Ortiz (D-TX) have asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of continued U.S. troop deployments and the current condition of military equipment on military readiness.

            “Readiness is an issue our committee has been closely monitoring for some time, and with growing concern.  We must have a military that is prepared to protect and defend the American people and our national interests.  But when readiness levels fall, our level of strategic risk goes up.  Improving the state of our military’s readiness, particularly that of the United States Army, is essential to ensuring they are prepared to respond when necessary.  Our adversaries are unlikely to warn us in advance,” said Skelton.

            “Many of us have said for the past year that the readiness shortfall is on slow burn, and that is where it remains. We have to move carefully, but with great speed and focus, to try to fix the damage to readiness caused by the Iraq war.  This crisis is evolving, and will not be solved by only throwing more money at the services.  We have to fix it at all levels,” said Ortiz.

            The letter to CBO asks that the analysis include considerations for: sustained operations in Iraq and elsewhere; the number of troops needed for current operations, as well as variations above and below current operations; options for addressing identified readiness issues and the budgetary implications of implementing those recommendations; and a determination of the time frame required to completely address any recognized readiness shortfalls, both for the current rate of operations and the rate assumed under CBO scenarios.

            The letter to GAO deals more specifically with concerns over prepositioned military stocks which ensure that the military has materiel and equipment for rapid deployment.  GAO previously spoke to concerns and management challenges with regard to prepositioned Army stocks. The request asks GAO to study: DoD’s reasoning to off-load Army afloat stocks and its plan to mitigate the risks of not having those stocks if a new conflict emerges; the specific plan to re-supply prepositioned stocks around the world and how that fits with broader Army and DoD strategies; how these changes are reflected in DoD budget and supplemental requests; and an estimated cost to restore the prepositioned stocks that fits current DoD strategy.

            Copies of the letters to CBO and GAO are attached.