Defense

December 19, 2012

‘Fiscal Cliff’ threatens defense strategy, Panetta says

The year-old defense strategy Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta helped put in place last January faces two major risks, he said Dec. 18: stress on the force, and a political system “that is depriving the department of the budget certainty we need … to plan for the future.”

Speaking at the National Press Club here, the secretary noted Defense Department and service leaders have advanced the new strategy significantly over the past year. Panetta reminded the audience it rests on five elements:

 

  • A smaller, leaner but agile and technologically capable force;
  • Maintaining military presence and force-projection capability in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific;
  • Building partnerships and partner capacity around the world through innovative rotational deployments;
  • Remaining capable of confronting and defeating any adversary; and
  • Protecting and prioritizing key investments in technology and new capabilities.

 

“The goal of our new defense strategy is to help shape the force of the 21st century,” the secretary said, “to … adapt our forces and operating concepts so that we are better prepared for an unpredictable and dangerous future, even in an era of constrained resources.”

Panetta said the strategy has taken root over 2012, even as the department ended combat operations in Iraq, supported the NATO-led mission in Libya and transitioned more of Afghanistan to Afghan-led security efforts.

But 2012’s multiple missions offer a clue to the first risk Panetta identified. As he noted, the nation’s military force “is still operating at a very high tempo more than 11 years after September 11th.”

For example, the U.S. military remains “at war in Afghanistan,” the secretary said, adding that U.S. forces “have been on a crisis posture in the Middle East and North Africa for the past year. And we will continue to maintain a strong presence in that region even as we rebalance to the Asia Pacific area.”

DOD’s “outstanding men and women in uniform,” the secretary said, “are the foundation of everything we do. … We need to ensure that service members and their families have the support that they have earned in areas like health and education and employment … so that they can … go back home and re-establish their ties to their communities.”

The second risk, which looms 15 days away, is that the sequestration mechanism built into the Budget Control Act will take effect. If Congress and the president don’t agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit before Jan. 2, 2013, sequestration will trigger across-the-board cuts in federal spending, including an additional $500 billion cut in defense.

“For more than a year, this department has been operating under the shadow of sequestration,” Panetta said. “… Because of political gridlock, this department still faces the possibility of another round of across-the-board cuts … that will inflict lasting damage on our national defense and hurt the very men and women who protect this country.”

The secretary noted that he is asked about sequestration every time he speaks to troops. “It is unacceptable to me that men and women who put their lives on the line every day in distant lands have to worry about whether those here in Washington can effectively support them,” he added.

Panetta said the Defense Department is “down to the wire now,” and that Congress must act to avoid “the fiscal disaster that awaits us.”

Failure to reach a bipartisan consensus on deficit reduction and future defense spending, the secretary warned, “will weaken this nation in the minds of our allies, our partners, and our potential adversaries and undermine the work and the sacrifices that our troops are making every single day.”

 




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


 
 

 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

Ukraine will start pulling back heavy weapons in the east Ukraine’s military says it will start pulling back its heavy weapons from the front line with Russian-backed separatists as required under a cease-fire agreement. The Defense Ministry said in a statement Feb. 26 that it reserved the right to revise its withdrawal plans in the...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 

 
navy-china

USS Fort Worth conducts CUES with Chinese Navy

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) practiced the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Jiangkai II frigate Hengshui (FFG 572) Feb. 23 enhancing the professional ma...
 
 

AEGIS tracks, simulates engagement of three short-range ballistic missiles

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and USS Barry (DDG 52) successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system. At approximately 2:30 a.m., EST, Feb. 26, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops...
 
 

DOD seeks novel ideas to shape its technological future

The Defense Department is seeking novel ideas to shape its future, and officials are looking to industry, small business, academia, start-ups, the public – anyone, really – to boost its ability to prevail against adversaries whose access to technology grows daily. The program, called the Long-Range Research and Development Plan, or LRRDP, began with an...
 




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>