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Experts: Incoming GOP Congress Could Benefit US Army

By    |   Monday, 10 Nov 2014 07:54 PM

A week after Republicans seized control of the Senate to gain the upper hand in both chambers on Capitol Hill, some experts are predicting the incoming GOP-led Congress could benefit the Army.

In lieu of passing a defense budget, lawmakers have been using continuing resolutions to keep the military funded, but The Military Times reports that under the GOP-controlled Congress, things could change.

Ariz. Sen. John McCain is expected to take over leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which could boost the Army as it works through budget cuts mixed with overseas deployments.

"I think the one service that is most likely to benefit from this is the Army," retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales said. "Everybody knows the short straw in this whole deal is the Army. The fact that the Republicans are now in charge, I think, bodes well for them."

Scales added that McCain is "very cynical about big-ticket buys." McCain also favors using ground troops in the ongoing military operation to stop the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

"The Army doesn't buy big systems," Scales said. "The Army buys people."

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA), on the other hand, would not draw any conclusions as to what will happen in January when the new Congress takes office.

"We just don't know what the change in Senate leadership will bring in terms of budget relief for the Army or the broader [Defense Department]," retired Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, the AUSA's vice president of education, said in the Military Times story.

"A more significant factor will be external forces such as the progress of the draw-down in Afghanistan, Russian behavior in eastern Europe, Ebola, and [the Islamic State], and Syria. I think that will shape what Congress wants to spend as much as the pickup of seats."

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, meanwhile, told the Military Times that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the Republican-controlled House and Senate, and he's worried about the current state of the Army.

"We need to think forward. Maybe a change-up in Senate leadership, if it doesn't turn into partisan warfare again, maybe we'll get a more informed, thoughtful debate on national security," McCaffrey said.

"The Army defines success, unlike the other services, based on end strength. That's not the proper metric. It's up to the Army to get its act together, it's up to the Army to make its case. My concern is that the Army leadership takes hold of this opportunity and exploits it fully."

President Barack Obama recently said he would deploy an additional 1,500 non-combat troops to Iraq to help Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS. U.S. soldiers are also in West Africa to assist in containing the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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A week after Republicans seized control of the Senate to gain the upper hand in both chambers on Capitol Hill, some experts are predicting the incoming GOP-led Congress could benefit the Army.
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2014-54-10
Monday, 10 Nov 2014 07:54 PM
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