DoD

July 6, 2012

DOD Leaders: Sequestration Threatens Military’s Successes

by Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D. C. — The nation’s military has logged historic achievements in the past 12 months, but faces a future clouded by financial threat, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.

The secretary and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both spoke about the topic of sequestration during a briefing with Pentagon reporters.

Panetta summed up the department’s main activities since he became Defense Secretary last summer, noting that the Iraq War has ended, a “responsible drawdown” of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has begun, and the NATO mission in Libya concluded alongside the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

The department has also “maintained a relentless focus on al-Qaida,” and put in place a new defense strategy and a budget request focused on the future force and rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, the secretary said.

DOD has also maintained faith with troops by protecting pay and benefits, and has increased employment opportunities for veterans and spouses, he noted.

“We implemented the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Panetta said. “We’ve also opened up 14,000 military positions to women, and we’ve put in place enhanced measures to prevent sexual assault.”

The biggest threat to all of those accomplishments and initiatives is sequestration, he said.

Sequestration is a mechanism built into the Budget Control Act that will trigger an additional half-trillion-dollar cut to defense spending over the next 10 years if Congress doesn’t otherwise identify spending reductions the act requires.

Panetta said the uniformed men and women he’s met in war zones, and the wounded warriors he’s visited in military hospitals and rehabilitation centers, “deserve better than the threat of sequestration.”

“Too often today, the nation’s problems are held hostage to the unwillingness to find consensus and compromise,” the secretary said.
Next week on the Fourth of July Americans will celebrate their nation’s birth, he noted.

“It is a time for our leaders and for every American to recognize that the blessings of freedom are not free,” Panetta said. “They come from a legacy of sacrifice, of courage and of leadership. That legacy is now our responsibility to fulfill, so that hopefully our children can enjoy a better life in the future.”

Panetta said the defense industry leaders he has consulted with also face an uncertain future which could include widespread layoffs and lasting damage to the nation’s military modernization programs.

“We are very much a team,” he said. “ … [Defense] companies, as well as the Defense Department, are making very clear to Capitol Hill that this is a matter that ought not to be postponed.”

The department and the nation’s defense industries seek assurance from Congress that sequestration won’t happen and that “we can proceed with the budget as we’ve outlined [it], as opposed to facing … the possibility of another drastic defense cut,” the secretary said.
Dempsey said his travels in recent weeks, as well as over the past year, have brought him into contact with a wide range of service members.

“At every stop … I was struck by their tremendous sense of pride and commitment,” the chairman said. He praised service members’ courage, selflessness, intelligence, and dedication to the mission.

“They’ll do anything to take care of this country,” he said.

Dempsey said, he was also struck by troops’ concern over the budget.

“I find it encouraging, on the one hand, that our military family is informed and interested,” he said. “But it’s unfortunate that it weighs so heavily on their minds. Frankly, they have enough to worry about.”

The chairman noted, “We have to remember, too, that the force of the future — that is, America’s sons and daughters who may be out there contemplating a military career — are also watching.”

Dempsey said as Panetta has made clear, “We simply have to come together to prevent this across-the-board, unbalanced cut that could jeopardize our ability to deal with the very real and serious threats that we face.”

The chairman said he and the service chiefs have no issue with military budgets facing scrutiny in the current challenging budget climate, or with the need to make tough program decisions.

“That’s why our strategy and the budget that supports it constitute a carefully balanced set of choices,” Dempsey said. “These choices make sure we have the right talent and the right tools to keep our country immune from coercion.”

Dempsey said he, the secretary and the joint chiefs seek a balanced approach.

“A sensible way forward is what we expect,” the chairman said. “That’s the only way we can honor our commitment to our military family and to the American people.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
square

‘Retired Air Force Reservist finds inspiration through loss’ addendum

Angela Alexander was a member of the 56th Aerial Port Squadron, March Air Reserve Base and on annual tour in Japan when she was notified that her family had been in a severe car crash. She was told her husband, Suri and two dau...
 
 

Alcohol: how much is too much?

Alcohol is a part of the American culture — civilian and military. Many of us drink with others to socialize and celebrate important events. Or we sometimes drink alone to relax and unwind from a hard day at work. But along with the good times and good feelings associated with alcohol, there are well-known health...
 
 
BC3---women-in-combatswuare

AF begins testing phase for women in combat roles

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Marionne T. Mangrum Cpl. Daisy Romero (left) and Sgt. Jessica Dmoningo, assigned to a female engagement team (FET), speak with an Afghan man in his compound during a patrol in Marjah, Helmand pro...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley J. Thum

Ten ways to help kids conquer military life challenges

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley J. Thum Capt. Adam Luber, a 334th Fighter Squadron pilot, and Jeremiah Seaberry, the 334th FS pilot for a day, watch F-15E Strike Eagles on the flightline during a 4th Fighter Wing Pilo...
 
 
BC4---wildfire

922nd Civil Engineer Flight, small unit, worldwide impact

U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Jason Saberin Members of the Army’s Northwest Division Field Engineer Support Team join the 922nd Civil Engineer Flight’s Staff Augmentation Team (S-Team) at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Feb. 2...
 
 

AF sexual assault prevention: moving in the right direction

“I was raised in a household where you take responsibility for your own actions and don’t blame others for your downfalls,” said Tech. Sgt. Kathleen Thorburn. “Instead of seeing a crime that had occurred, all I could see were my mistakes. Why did I go to that party? Why did I accept the drink? Why...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin