Defense

October 26, 2012

Panetta: Congress ‘on the clock’ to avert sequestration

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief the media at the Pentagon, Oct. 25, 2012.

Congress “is on the clock” and has critical work to accomplish when the House and Senate come back into session after the Nov. 6 election, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in Washington, D.C., Oct. 25.

During a Pentagon news conference today, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed the need for lawmakers to act.

First on the list is averting sequestration before it takes effect Jan. 2, Panetta said. Unless Congress decides on an alternative by that date, a sequestration provision in budget law requires an additional $500 billion in defense spending cuts over the next decade, on top of a $487 billion spending reduction already in effect for that period.

“There are only 70 days until that happens, and Congress is certainly on the clock when it comes to that potential sequestration occurring,” the secretary said.

The secretary said he also wants Congress to pass the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. “I’d like them to pass a … defense appropriations bill, too, but in the very least, we really do need a defense authorization bill so that we can continue to implement our new defense strategy,” he said.

The secretary also stressed the need for Congress to act on a cybersecurity bill. “We really do need strong cybersecurity legislation to ensure that we can help defend the nation against a cyberattack,” he said. This was the second time in two weeks that Panetta has stressed the need for this legislation, again warning of the growing threat of a cyberattack on the nation’s infastructure.

Finally, Panetta called on the Senate to act quickly on the nominations of Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen to be the next commander of U.S. European Command and to become NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe and for Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to replace Allen as commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

“This is a full agenda,” the secretary said. “It’s one that requires Democrats and Republicans to work together. And after a tough national election, the American people, I think, will expect both parties to roll up their sleeves, work together to solve the problems facing the nation, and to protect our national security.”

Congress’s failure to approve a fiscal 2013 budget is causing problems way down the line for the Defense Department, Panetta said. “We’re developing a [fiscal] 2014 budget that to some extent … is not based on what Congress has done, because they haven’t done it,” the secretary said. “We don’t know what the 2013 budget is going to be.” The department is operating on a continuing resolution through March 2013 in lieu of a budget for the whole fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

Panetta said Pentagon officials don’t know what they can spend for fiscal 2013, let alone fiscal 2014. “This is a strategic issue: it’s ‘What kind of stability am I going to have in terms of defense spending for the future?’” he said.

Noting that the department still is cutting almost $500 billion from the defense budget over the next decade, Panetta said that to do so smartly requires some certainty.

“For us to be able to make the kind of strategic choices we need to make, I have to have some stability with regards to where are we going from here,” he said. “And I don’t have that right now, and frankly, that’s a major concern.”

 




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


 
 

 

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 bomberĂ­...
 
 

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload. The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

Smarter spending for Air Force acquisitions

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello briefs attendees April 16, 2014, on how today’s budget environment is driving change for both government and industry as part of the Air Force Associati...
 
 
DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

U.S., Poland defense leaders find new areas for cooperation

DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosts a press briefing with Poland’s Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak at the Pentagon, April 17, 2014. Amid deep concerns about...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Richard Eldridge

Air Force researchers test Google Glass for battlefield use

Air Force photograph by Richard Eldridge Dr. Gregory Burnett, middle, and Andres Calvo, right, analyze a graphic representation of movement trackers, as 2nd Lt. Krystin Shanklin tests Google Glass at Wright-Patterson Air Force ...
 




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>