Facing pressure to cut costs, Army leaders and their spouses want soldiers and their families need to tell them about the support programs that

matter most to them, as leaders face increasing budget pressures and difficult decisions

Hollyanne Milley and her husband, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, have already been meeting with soldiers and their families and listening to their concerns related to budget cuts, Mrs. Milley said Monday during a family forum at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington. Army officials are working to streamline and consolidate family programs, she said, but vowed the quality of those programs won't change.

Recalling the days when she and her husband headed were heading to their first duty station, Milley said, it’s some of those same programs are still essential today — programs that strive to keep soldiers and families ready.

Hollyanne Milley and Holly Dailey, wife of Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey, stressed that Army officials realize installations are unique, and that some programs are vital at some bases but may not be needed at others. Installation commanders, they said, need the flexibility to be able to tailor their programs to meet the needs of their installations

Both noted that Army Community Services is a good place for families to go for resources, or to find where to get the help they need. Other programs mentioned were Army Family Team Building, resilience training, financial readiness programs, Army OneSource and Military OneSource.

Army Secretary John McHugh said he is "painfully aware" of the cuts installations have had to make in a variety of areas over recent weeks and months, but he said officials have over the last years been able to hold the budget for Army family programs at about $1.2 billion annually. Six years ago, he said, the total budget for these programs was between $600 million and $700 million.

Gen. Milley told the crowd assembled — including those watching at about 72 locations around the world — that he now has the rank and the influence to make a real difference, and vowed that he will "go to the mat for you every day."

He, Dailey and McHugh also stressed several times that soldiers and families need to let them know about their priorities as they have to make decisions in hard budget times.

"We as leaders need feedback so we can make decisions," in order to keep programs that are the most efficient and effective, Milley said.