Defense

November 5, 2012

Official describes sequestration’s ‘devastating’ impact

SFC Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

A senior Pentagon official Nov. 5 reflected on his past service in a hollow military as a precautionary tale to lawmakers to prevent sequestration from devastating the Defense Department’s budget.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, shared his perspective as a former Army officer while speaking to an audience during the 31st Annual Government Contract Management Conference here.

“In the 70’s, I was an Army captain deployed in Europe, and I saw what it was like to live within a hollow force,” he said. “I saw what it was like to have no parts for our systems, not be able to do any training and have very poor readiness. We don’t want to go back there.”

“We could make cuts in that way, but we don’t, definitely, want to do that,” Kendall said. “It’s one of the tenets [Defense] Secretary [Leon E.] Panetta put forth when he asked us to redesign both the strategy and the budget. We need to have a modern force.”

Sequestration refers to a mechanism in the 2011 Budget Control Act 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.

“We have to collectively do everything we can do to see to it that [sequestration] doesn’t happen,” Kendall said. “It would be a devastating result, not just for the department, but for the country if cuts of that magnitude were applied so indiscriminately.”

Kendall said the defense secretary, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior Pentagon leaders have been “very articulate about this” with strong comments on the topic.

“Nobody in Congress likes the idea of sequestration – that I’ve been able to find anyway,” he said. “Everybody wants to avoid it. The question is how do we do it? It’s in the law, and unless Congress acts it’s going to stay in the law and be implemented.”

Kendall explained the nuances of the law: “We essentially have to go into every budget account and maybe every budget line, and take the same percentage out of essentially every line.”

“[Sequestration is] really a singularly stupid way to take money out of the Defense Department,” he said. “It is a ridiculous way to do it. It doesn’t allow us to prioritize; it doesn’t allow us to align our spending with the strategy.”

Kendall pointed to the Defense Department’s efforts last year to adhere to the Budget Control Act by taking “$50 billion a year out,” and said Pentagon leaders decided against a “traditional budget cutting, damage limitation exercise.”

Kendall said instead there was a concerted effort to build a budget and develop a strategy supporting the type of military, capabilities and force structure needed for Joint Force 2020.

“It was a painful process because taking $50 billion a year out over 10 years is not an easy thing for us to do,” he said. “But we came back with a strategy we think is sound. It was well received in general.”

“The budget we sent up has not been attacked particularly,” Kendall noted. “There’ve been some [additions], actually, to the budget that we sent up. So we’re sitting here under a continuing resolution waiting to see what’s going to happen with sequestration.”

Sequestration would require leaders to make very hard choices, Kendall said, to ensure the department maintains technological superiority, maintains faith with its workforce and achieves the necessary cuts.

“There aren’t a whole lot of things left in the budget that we can cut,” he said. “But if we’re going to have a superior force – a force that’s agile, that’s ready to go – … then the additional cuts are really very hard for us to absorb.”

“I think that’s becoming pretty well understood,” Kendall said, noting he believes a “lame duck” session of Congress will postpone sequestration.

“I do expect there’ll be a delay for a few months, and then after the new Congress comes in, in January, we’ll sort it all out,” he said.




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


 
 

 

Headlines July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing¬†– The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system¬†– Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

News Briefs July 29, 2015

U.S. Navy examines health concerns near Guantanamo court A complaint lodged with the Pentagon has prompted the U.S. Navy to look into the possible presence of anything that may cause cancer in a section of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokeswoman said July 28. The Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier An E-3 Sentry AWACS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepares to land May 16, 2015. AWACS have the capability to detect enemy as well as friendly aircraft at great distances usi...
 

 

Remains of Pearl Harbor victims raised for identification

The military July 27 exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Oklahoma City expansion grows facilities, business presence

Boeing photograph July 29, Boeing broke ground on a new laboratory facility in Oklahoma City. Mayor Mick Cornett, Commissioner Brian Maughan, President of Boeing Global Services and Support Leanne Caret, Oklahoma Governor Mary ...
 
 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>