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 September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Headlines September 17, 2014

News: Pentagon open to U.S. ground troops in fight against Islamic State - The Pentagon’s top general opened the door Sept. 16 to the possibility that U.S. combat troops would be needed in Iraq, as he publicly laid out President Obama’s still-developing plans to combat Islamic State insurgents through U.S. air power and relying on an...
 

 

News Briefs September 17, 2014

U.S. to assign 3,000 troops to fight Ebola The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations. The troops will supply medical and logistical support and boost...
 
 
nasa-launch-spacex

NASA chooses American companies to transport U.S. astronauts to ISS

U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Sept. 16. The agency unveiled its selection of Boein...
 
 

Headlines September 15, 2014

News: Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in crash - A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two fighter jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified.   Business: Boeing eyes 737-700 solution for new JSTARS - Boeing is officially planning a variant of its 737-700 commercial jetliner as a competitor for the Air Force’s...
 




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>