Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army Joe Fitzgerald discusses new Army programs, possible budget constraints

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Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army Joe Fitzgerald is this week’s guest on Leadership Perspectives. He stopped by the studio to talk about new Army programs, the budget situation in Congress, and Redstone’s role in the Army.

“The things that are most important to the secretary, and there are many, are obviously the budget situation that we're engaged in as an Army. He's very concerned that we find a solution, that a solution be found to sequestration.

“This is the poison pill that we never thought would take place, but if sequestration is allowed to take place, and kicks in in full in 2016…we will have to go down to a force, and active duty component force of 420,000, and that is not a sufficient size army force to carry out our defense strategy,” Fitzgerald said.

“The secretary, and the army chief of staff, the leadership recognize that we must be no lower than an active duty component force of 450,000 to carry out our defense strategy,” Fitzgerald said. He added, “Our defense strategy is that we will defeat, we will fight and defeat one major theater of operation…while preventing a second major theater of operation from carrying out their intent,” Fitzgerald said.

Another top priority for the Secretary of the Army is preventing sexual abuse in the Army.

“If we don't prevent sexual harassment-- sexual abuse--in our armed forces we can't have an Army. That's why the secretary is so adamant about that. That's why it's number one,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the SHARP program has been put in place in every post, camp, and station to be an advocacy organization for sexual abuse victims.

Another priority for the Secretary of the Army is helping soldiers transition from active duty to civilian life.

“And as you are well aware, the suicide rates of our soldiers and armed forces--both active and after they've gotten out of the service--is far too high. It is far too high, and the secretary has established a program and there is extraordinary effort of behavioral medicine of looking at the problem, understanding and solving it. And it's called the Resiliency Program of our Army,” Fitzgerald said.

Many thousands of jobs in the Huntsville area dependent on what the military does. News of budget constraints is hardly welcome here.

"I feel good about Redstone Arsenal, absolutely, and it's critical…The organizations that are here on Redstone are vitally important to our Army. They will survive. They will survive and be healthy. There will be some curtailment around the edges if--particularly if sequestration is allowed to be implemented in full force,” Fitzgerald said.

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