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SEOUL — Officials with the Installation Management Agency Korea Region Office say a spending plan in place this year has helped with budget challenges the agency faces worldwide.

Brig. Gen. John A. Macdonald, the Army’s IMA director, addressed the problem in a memo last week.

The service is working “through some truly daunting funding challenges” due in a large part to the war on terror, he wrote.

In South Korea, IMA-KORO spokesman John Nowell said the spending plan has been in place the entire fiscal year, which began in October, so there is “no change.”

He did say some temporary duty travel has been affected and “the process of filling civilian positions has been delayed.”

Macdonald sent a message to IMA personnel on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

“There is no more money coming to us so we have to spend less to get through the fiscal year,” he wrote. “Garrison commanders and staffs still have hard decisions to make and we anticipate a level of austerity for the foreseeable future that is unprecedented in memory.”

Macdonald, who took command of the agency six weeks ago, estimates IMA will fall $500 million short this fiscal year, based on earlier budget projections that cover the cost of managing 116 installations worldwide.

Attributed in large part to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the predicament hasn’t gone unnoticed in Congress.

According to Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the Army knows there is a problem and has asked for more money, but the administration’s budget office is looking to save money where it can.

“So now the Army is trying to pinch pennies by closing libraries, reducing trash pick-up, closing dining facilities and reducing support for vital training activities,” Skelton said on the House floor Wednesday. “This is not the way to reward the courage and sacrifice of our soldiers and their families.”

As the Army gets deeper into the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, tougher choices may be necessary, officials said.

In his letter last week, Macdonald said the outlook for fiscal 2007 isn’t much better. Macdonald said it’s imperative the Army take a hard look at installation support while bearing in mind that it must provide “a high standard of living for soldiers and family members.”


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