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Army Chief Of Staff Visits Fort Bliss

The Army’s top official addressed big budget cuts to the Department of Defense during a visit to Fort Bliss Thursday afternoon.

Gen. Raymond Odierno is the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff. He assumed the position in September.

“I’ve had to stay close to Washington because of budget talks, but I’ve tried to get out to certain installations that I had not been to in a while. Fort Bliss was one of those,” said Gen. Odierno.

The budget talks center around the possibility of more than a trillion dollars in cuts to the Department of Defense. The Pentagon will already deal with $465 billion in cuts over the next ten years, but an additional slash in funds could be forthcoming, “that would change how we do business,” said the general.

A bipartisan 12-member panel in Congress dubbed the “supercommittee” has been tasked with finding significant debt savings in the next few days.

“If the supercommittee does not come to an agreement, that will automatically add up to 600 billion dollars worth of reductions to all services,” said Gen. Odierno.

How might Fort Bliss fare in such an event? “We’ve invested so much money into Fort Bliss that there’ll be some minimal changes here but nothing significant under the first cut,” said Gen. Odierno. “If we go to the (additional) cuts, we’d have to do a re-evaluation and decide how much it would impact the Army as a whole.”

The supercommittee has until Nov. 23 to come up with a solid deficit reduction plan. If they fail to do so, the general says the size of our armed forces and their modernization programs are at stake.

During his visit, Gen. Odierno spoke with soldiers on post and checked out Fort Bliss’s Network Integration Evaluation, meant to improve the army’s tactical network.

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