Defense

August 2, 2012

Carter describes possible unintended effects of sequestration law

by SFC Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

While the Defense Department can foresee the harmful effects of sequestration, the nature of the legislative mechanism makes it impossible to devise a plan that eliminates or substantially mitigates those effects, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Aug. 1.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Carter explained the law’s effect on the defense budget and overall strategy.

Sequestration refers to a mechanism built into the Budget Control Act that would trigger an additional $500 billion across-the-board cut in defense spending over the next decade if Congress doesn’t identify alternative spending cuts by January.

“We’re working with [the Office of Management and Budget] to understand this complex legislation, and we are, as I described, assessing impacts,” Carter said. “But we’re still five months from January. I’m hoping, to quote [Defense] Secretary [Leon E.] Panetta, that Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – will exercise the necessary leadership to make sure that sequestration is de-triggered. In the unfortunate event that sequestration is actually triggered, we will work with OMB, and like all the federal agencies affected by this law, we will be ready to implement it.”

Carter also discussed the unintentional effects of the mechanism if it isn’t “de-triggered” in a reasonable amount of time.

“While we’ll not fail to prepare for sequestration, we’re equally worried about a different type of error,” he said. “This would occur if sequestration does not happen, but we end up triggering some of its bad effects anyway.

“For example, we do not want to unnecessarily alarm employees by announcing adverse personnel actions or by suggesting that such actions are likely,” he continued. “For efficiency reasons, we do not want to hold back on the obligation of funds, either for weapons projects or operating programs, that would have been obligated in the absence of a possible sequestration.”

The deputy defense secretary also noted the department doesn’t want to cut back on training, which would harm military readiness as the nation faces a complex array of national security challenges. Also, Carter said, private companies that serve DOD and constitute “important members of our national security team” also need to make decisions on issues related to sequestration.

Carter said a number of these private companies have expressed alarm at “such a wasteful and disruptive way” of managing taxpayers’ money and their employees’ talent.

“We will continue to consult closely with them, along with the OMB, and other government departments,” Carter said. “The best thing that can happen to our industry partners, as well as the department, is for the Congress to enact a balanced deficit reduction plan that halts implementation of this inflexible law.”

After outlining his thoughts on sequestration’s potentially “devastating” impacts, Carter re-emphasized the Defense Department’s position.

“Secretary Panetta and I strongly believe that we need to deal with the debt and deficit problems in a balanced way and avoid sequestration,” he said. “This will require legislation that both houses of Congress can approve and that the president can sign.”

Carter said Americans, the nation’s allies, and even its enemies, need to know the U.S. government has the political will to implement the defense strategy that has been put forth.

“The men and women of our department, and their families, need to know with certainty that we’ll meet our commitments to them,” he said. “Our partners in defense industry, and their employees, need to know that we’re going to have the resources to procure the world-class capabilities they can provide, and that we can do so efficiently.”




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


 
 

 

Spy plane outlasts Cold War, but not defense cuts

The U-2 spy plane outlasted the Cold War, outlived its successor and proved crucial a half-century ago when two superpowers were on the brink of nuclear war. But defense cuts now threaten to knock the high-flying reconnaissance aircraft out of the sky. The Air Force wants to gradually retire the fleet of 32 “Dragon Lady”...
 
 

Altus, McConnell AFBs selected to receive KC-46A Pegasus aircraft

Air Force officials announced April 23, that Altus Air Force Base, Okla., is the Air Forces KC-46A Pegasus formal training unit and McConnell AFB, Kansas, is the first active duty-led Pegasus main operating base. The KC-46A Pegasus aerial tanker remains one of our top three acquisition priorities, said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee...
 
 
Navy photograph

It is easy being green Green Hornet team strikes, wins environmental excellence award

Navy photograph The Green Hornet flies over Naval Air Station Patuxent River April 22, 2010. On Earth Day 2010, the Super Hornet became the first Navy aircraft to demonstrate alternative fuel capability using a 50/50 blend of c...
 

 
Army photograph

Fifth generation Army tank cartridge reports loudly for duty

Army photograph A new tank cartridge was recently tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Pictured here are: (from left) Kent Evans, TRADOC Capability Manager – Armored Brigade Combat Team; Kevin Mulligan, Armament Researc...
 
 

Acquisition community works to improve tradecraft

Everything the defense acquisition community is doing now is being done to improve its tradecraft, Katrina G. McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said April 16. McFarland made the comments at the National Defense Industrial Associations National Logistics Forum. Improving tradecraft is something DOD would want to do in the best of times,...
 
 
B1a

B-1B software upgrade to ensure future warfighting capabilities

Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner An Edwards B-1B Lancer takes off on April 1, 2014, to begin testing its new Sustainment Block 16A software upgrades. The SB 16A software will work in conjunction with the long-range bomberí...
 




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>