Defense

September 21, 2012

Carter: Sequestration would have effect of ‘hidden tax’

Because it would lead to inefficiencies, the sequestration mechanism built into the Budget Control Act would amount to a hidden tax, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Sept. 20.

“If sequestration happens, it is not only disruptive in many ways I’d love to describe, but it’s a hidden tax all by itself,” Carter said during an interview at the Newseum with Politico Pro Defense’s Phil Ewing. “It forces us to be uneconomical, and our industry partners to be uneconomical, in the conduct of our affairs. That’s not good.”

Sequestration refers to a mechanism in last year’s law that raised the debt ceiling that would trigger an additional $500 billion across-the-board defense spending cut over the next decade, in addition to $487 billion in cuts already programmed, unless Congress identifies equivalent savings by January.

Along with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Carter said, he is urging Congress to find a solution.

“We fervently hope that something can be done to avert sequestration,” Carter said. “I don’t know how many months Secretary Panetta and I have been railing about what sequestration will do to national defense,” he said. “I think people didn’t know what the word meant, but he did, and we did, and the word he used is ‘devastating.’”

The deputy defense secretary said he cannot say anything good about sequestration, and he called its size and the manner in which it was applied “senseless.”

“And makes the jobs of people like us who are trying to manage your security to a reasonable result … impossible,” he added.

As Defense Department managers work to “get our programs just so,” including all the things they must do for service members and their families, Carter said, the impending cuts are prohibitive. “In comes something like this that makes orderly disposition of the public’s business impossible,” he added. “So I very much hope some way can be found over the next few months to stop it.”

Carter said he’d be open to Congress enacting a delay in the January deadline to allow more time for a solution. “A delay’s better than having it,” he said, “and if a delay leads to ultimately dispelling this cloud, that’s all the better.”

The potential for government shutdowns and the prospect of the government operating on a series of continuing resolutions in place of a budget also affect defense industry partners trying to do their jobs, Carter said.

“You’re working on contingencies at the same time you’re trying to do the bedrock business that we’re supposed to do, which is to support the warfighter and deliver value for the taxpayer,” he said. “So it’s annoying, it’s frustrating and it’s counterproductive.”

Carter said people may be aware of the “extremely disruptive, uneconomical and wasteful” effects on defense programs such as aircraft and vehicle acquisition, but they may not appreciate potential effects on operating accounts.

Under sequestration, he explained, warfighting costs could require tapping into Army operations and maintenance funding, which in turn would affect training, which then would affect readiness.

“The force will not be as ready to do things elsewhere in the world. … It really has an effect on security,” he said.

Sequestration also affects people, Carter said – not only service members, civilian employees and their families, but also industry partners.

“They are the ones who build the things that make our military the greatest in the world,” Carter said. “It affects them, [and] it affects their employees. So across the board, it deserves the word ‘devastating.’”

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




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>