Pentagon concerns halt planned Army MWR cuts

by Jennifer H. Svan
Stripes Korea

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Steep reductions to Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs that were to begin next week are on hold, pending a top-level review prompted by a Pentagon official’s concern that the funding cuts may be too deep.

“The Army has decided not to reduce appropriated fund support to Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities until it has completed a thorough and comprehensive analysis,” Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon said in a statement this week to Stars and Stripes.

The Army announced in late August that military personnel and families would see changes in services provided by MWR programs starting in October because of budget cuts. Those cuts were a result of an Army decision to reduce appropriated funding — taxpayer dollars earmarked by Congress — to MWR activities by $105 million, or about 23 percent.

But those plans were abruptly, and quietly, put on hold after Todd A. Weiler, the assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, questioned the extent of the MWR cutbacks in a memorandum that Stars and Stripes has obtained.

“Given the level of Administration interest in programs impacting military family quality of life, I strongly suggest that the Army delay any reductions until you brief me on their necessity and on your actions to mitigate the adverse impact on the military community,” Weiler wrote on Sept. 9 to the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs.

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