A panel discussion with Representative Martha Roby and Fort Rucker officials was held today. The main topic of concern was the future of army aviation in the midst of sequestration.
Ohio representative, Michael Turner is the chairman of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee. As chairman of the committee that oversees important Army and Air Force programs, he wanted to learn more about army aviation. Representative Martha Roby saw the request as an opportunity for Fort Rucker officials to explain issues they're facing to the key policy maker.
"It's extremely important for him to have a front row seat as to what our commanders are doing here at Rucker and how important that is for the future and army aviation," said Roby.
She says meetings like today are vital to understanding and later lobbying for army program funding during budget cuts.
"Whenever we go to someone to try to advocate, another member of congress or a committee chairman or we're trying to make changes of bills, our ability to cite specifics really enhances success," said Turner.
Many specific examples were given today; officials say the hardest hit area is training. Just in flight training this upcoming year at Fort Rucker almost 30 percent less trainees were able to be accepted. Not only are the amount of students cut, the complexity of situations given to the trainees are being limited.
"The issue of training is the most important topic because it goes to how do we keep out service members ready for the challenges that they absolutely are going to face and here at this facility you have both hands on training and simulated training and they had a great discussion to make sure our service members get both,” said Turner.
Officials say that without proper training, when the nation calls on them they'll be assuming some risk.A budget deal that passed in the House is likely to pass in the senate in a final vote sometime this week. If it does pass through the Senate and later the president, it would ease some of those spending cuts.