Defense

April 17, 2012

Panetta, Dempsey say Pentagon feels sequestration’s shadow

by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

The shadow of sequestration is being cast over the Defense Department, and members of Congress must act to dissipate it, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said April 16.

Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke about sequestration and the defense budget during a news conference at the Pentagon.

“Sequestration” refers to a mechanism based into the Budget Control Act that would trigger an additional $500 billion cut across the board for defense spending over the next decade if Congress doesn’t find an alternative by January.

“I think … the shadow of sequestration is there,” Panetta said. While the Defense Department has received no guidance from the Office of Management and Budget to begin planning for sequestration, the threat of it is having an impact on the department and on the industries the department depends on, the secretary said.

“In the end, it’s up to Congress,” Panetta said. “In the coming weeks, they will begin considering the defense authorization and appropriations bills. Our hope is that Congress will carefully consider the new defense strategy and the budget decisions that resulted from that strategy.”

Any changes the Congress contemplates will affect other sections of the budget, because it is a zero-sum game, the secretary noted. Because of the Budget Control Act, he added, any change in any one area of the budget and force structure will inevitably require offsetting changes elsewhere.

“That carries the real risk that … if this is not done right, the result could be a hollow, unbalanced or weaker force,” he said. “Our hope is that our strategy will not be picked apart piece by piece.”

Panetta said he hopes Congress will be reasonable. “There isn’t any member [of Congress] I’ve talked to that doesn’t think that sequester is a disaster,” he said. “There isn’t any member who has said to me, ‘Oh, it’ll be great.'” All of them understand that it’s the wrong way to go.

“And I just have to hope that ultimately, they will find the courage and leadership to be able to address that issue, detrigger sequester, deal with the other challenges that are out there and try to do it as soon as possible,” he continued, “because frankly, the longer this drags on, the more of an impact it has in terms of the planning process and in terms of the budget process.”

Dempsey said the department confronted the new fiscal reality last year and developed the new strategy. The fiscal 2013 budget request came from that new strategy, he said.

“It took us every bit of energy we had to get from there to the budget submission in February,” the general said. “So I mean, I would anticipate that we would have to begin doing some planning in the mid to late summer if we have any chance at all of reacting to it should it trigger.”

This is a critical moment for the United States, Panetta said, and while the nation must cut the military, this does not mean threats have disappeared.

“We need to rise to meet the challenges that are facing us in this dangerous and uncertain world, and we can’t afford to have the Congress resort to bitter partisanship or parochialism at this critical time,” Panetta said. “So the message we wanted to send Congress today is that there is very little margin for error with this package.

“That’s the reality that all of us are living with,” he added. “The strategy we developed will maintain, we believe, the strongest military in the world by every measure, and that’s essential because of the nature of the security challenges that we’re facing.”




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


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




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>