The military services’ enlisted leaders highlighted service members’ concerns about the impact of resource constraints — including the deteriorating condition of housing and other facilities — on their readiness, during a hearing of the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday.
All four of the enlisted chiefs said their troops are troubled about having enough resources to get their work done and prepare for their mission, reported Army Times. “We call it quality of work,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens told the panel. He also cited sailors’ concerns about the deteriorating condition of buildings such as single sailors’ housing and work facilities.
“Shore infrastructure is not in the spotlight and doesn’t get a lot of attention, but one of these days we’re going to wake up and realize we’ve got a disaster out there,” he said.
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green echoed Stevens’ comments about the condition of barracks and other buildings. “The budget we’ve been handed doesn’t support everything in the backpack,” he said.
The Marine Corps “shouldn’t have to make decisions between quality of work and quality of life,” Green said.
Beyond readiness, the impact of stringent budget caps on pay and compensation, and the new blended retirement system also are on the minds of military personnel, the witnesses said.
As a result of discussions about budget cuts that have been going on at senior levels, Stevens said, sailors and families “feel it’s a matter of time before it actually occurs. There’s the perceived and the actual. It creates a level of anxiety that’s not healthy for the force.”