In the news...

January 28, 2013

Carter: Sequestration planning requires balance

Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

Planning for sequestration is the practical thing to do and doesnít indicate a lack of confidence in Congress, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Jan. 27 in an interview on ìThis Week in Defense News with Vago Muradian.

Though Congress voted earlier this month to delay until March 2 the implementation of about $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts over 10 years, Carter explained, the threat still looms and the Pentagon must be ready.

Complicating matters, is that the Defense Department – as is all of the federal government – is still operating under a continuing resolution, ìwhich means we are stuck with the budget of last year, category by category,î he added. The continuing resolution is set to expire March 27, unless Congress approves a new appropriations act for fiscal 2013.

Preparing for this confluence of events requires a delicate balance between acting too early and planning too late, Carter said.

The reason not to make adjustments too early is these are not desirable things to do,î he said. ìThey’re not good for defense, so you don’t want to do them until you have to.

For example, Carter said, the Defense Department normally hires about 1,000 people each week to maintain a stable number of personnel. However, he continued, ìif I worry that I’m going to run short of money later in the fiscal year, Iíd better stop hiring.

On Jan. 10, Carter issued a memo authorizing defense components to implement measures that will mitigate the effects of fiscal uncertainty, including hiring freezes, termination of temporary employees and cancelling certain equipment maintenance contracts.

Now that’s not a good thing,î Carter said. ìThat’s jobs – 44 percent of the people we hire are veterans. And we care about hiring veterans. And of course, most importantly, we care about getting the work done.

When he talks about DOD civilians, Carter said, he’s not talking about bureaucrats in Washington. ìThese are shipyard workers – these are people who are doing important things, he added.

The memo requires defense components to submit their plans to Carterís office, he said, to ensure their efforts are balanced and to provide components with an opportunity to learn from each otherís approaches. Meanwhile, he said, the department is taking prudent steps now in case the continuing resolution is extended for the whole year or the sequestration cuts take effect.

ìWhat we’re trying to do is take steps that are reversible,î he explained. ìThey’re harmful if they last the whole year. But if I take them now, I’ll be better off later in the year.

For now, he said, these are steps that can be quickly undone.

ìLater in the year, I’m going to have to do things that are irreversible – that do irreversible harm,î Carter said, including furloughing federal employees and reducing military training.

Obviously, I don’t want to do that. If it goes on long enough, we will do damage to readiness that will be difficult and take years to reverse,î he said.
Preparations have been ongoing for some time, Carter said.

We’ve been doing that quietly,î he said, ìbecause we haven’t wanted to act as though sequestration or any of these things was either inevitable or, certainly, something that we could manage with ease. These are damaging, destructive things to do.




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


 
 

 

Headlines December 15, 2014

News: Defense authorization bill heads to White House - Senate lawmakers finalized work on the $584.2 billion annual defense authorization bill Dec .12, putting in place a 1 percent pay raise for troops starting in January and limiting growth in housing allowance rates. Senators make final push for vets suicide-prevention bill - An effort to get a...
 
 

News Briefs December 15, 2014

Official: Afghan insurgents kill two U.S. troops An international military official has told The Associated Press that an insurgent attack on a convoy in eastern Afghanistan has killed two U.S. troops. The official says the attack happened by the Bagram air base in Parwan province near the capital, Kabul, late Dec. 12. The official spoke...
 
 

Headlines December 12, 2014

News: After dramatic day, House approves $554 billion for Pentagon - The U.S. House of Representatives Dec. 11 narrowly approved a $1 trillion government-wide spending bill, but only after shouting on the floor, the changing of votes and arm-twisting behind closed doors.   Business: Musk’s SpaceX closer to certification for launches, U.S. says - Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 

 

News Briefs December 12, 2014

Polish leader hails purchase of U.S. missiles Poland’s defense minister says long-range missiles the country is purchasing from the U.S. are the most modern military equipment the country has ever purchased and that they are especially needed at this time of tension in the region. Tomasz Siemoniak spoke Dec. 11 at the signing ceremony for...
 
 

Headlines December 10, 2014

News: Chinese national accused of transporting U.S. Air Force program information - A Chinese national has been arrested while carrying sensitive proprietary information on titanium used in a U.S. Air Force program, most likely the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut.   Business: Boeing KC-46 tanker on track...
 
 

News Briefs December 10, 2014

Food service firms admit cheating U.S. military Several international companies have pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy for overcharging the U.S. military in connection with a contract to provide food and water to troops in Afghanistan. Court documents say the privately held firms fraudulently inflated the price of fresh fruits and vegetables and bottled water,...
 




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>