Budget Constraints to Trigger Service Cuts to Army’s MWR Programs

Budget Constraints to Trigger Service Cuts to Army’s MWR Programs

Family and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs, such as fitness and community centers and libraries, will be scaled back at Army installations in fiscal 2017 as the service absorbs a 23 percent cut in funding for those activities.

Cuts in service may be implemented through reduced operating hours, higher customer fees or elimination of certain activities. Decisions on where to make cuts will be made at the garrison level after installations determine which programs are most affordable and popular, reported Stars and Stripes.

The Army estimates it will receive a $105 million cut for family and recreation programs in FY 2017. The funding will be shifted to higher priorities that support readiness, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, commander of Installation Management Command, said in a video posted Wednesday.

“This is not earth-shattering; this is not dramatic; this is not going to be very difficult for us, but I want you to know about it upfront because you will go and see when you show up at one of these activities, there may be a change in the service delivery,” Dahl said.

Remote installations won’t experience cuts, he said, “because there are no alternatives” off base. Child development centers also will be fully supported, and officials will try to maintain child and youth services at current levels, according to the story.

Areas likely to experience changes include outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, and auto skills. “Perhaps you’ll go to auto skills and you’ll find out there’s a sign hanging there saying, ‘We’re closed on Wednesdays,’” Dahl said.

A number of U.S. posts already have made announcements about planned reductions. Fort Jackson, S.C., last month announced a series of cutbacks to its family and recreational programs — a fitness center and one of its pools will close, the base library will close on weekends, and recreational trips and delivery services will be scaled back or eliminated.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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