Defense

February 8, 2013

Panetta warns sequestration threatens national readiness

SFC Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

In some of his strongest language to date, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Feb. 6 that looming, massive cuts in the Defense Department budget set to be triggered by sequestration next month would pose the “most serious readiness crisis” to the country in over a decade.

Panetta made the comments during a speech to students at Georgetown University, where he addressed the sequestration issue and other topics and took questions from the audience.

He warned sequestration is approaching on March 1, and that he, the service chiefs, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, believe if billions of dollars in cuts occur, they will trigger ìthe most serious readiness crisisî the country will face in over a decade.

President Obama, [and] obviously many leaders in Congress, share our concerns, Panetta said. There isn’t anybody I’ve talked to on Capitol Hill that doesn’t think this is crazy. No one that I’ve talked to doesn’t think that this a dangerous tool to impact the country.

Sequestration is a maneuver contained in the Budget Control Act of August 2011 under which across the board spending cuts would be triggered if Congress and the White House cannot agree on more targeted cuts aimed at reducing the budget deficit.

ìFor more than a year and a half, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I have been extremely vocal about our deep concerns about taking another half-trillion dollars out of the defense budget in an across-the-board fashion that fits every area,î Panetta said.

ì[Sequestration] guarantees that we hollow out the military,î he added. Across-the-board cuts, he said, would deeply damage U.S. national security, adding that there would be a serious disruption in defense programs and a sharp decline in military readiness.

Panetta described sequestration as ìlegislative madnessî designed to be so bad that no one in their right mind would let it happen.

The secretary compared sequestration to a scene from the movie ìBlazing Saddles.

ìFor those of you that have ever seen ëBlazing Saddles,í it is the scene of the sheriff putting the gun to his head in order to try to establish law and order, he said.

Sequestration would do ìserious damage to the non-defense side of the budget as well, he said. It’s not just defense; it’s education, loss of teachers, it’s child care.

I think the estimate is that some 100,000 children will be kicked out of Head Start, he added. ìIt’s about health care – 700,000 women and children will no longer receive nutritional assistance.

Panetta said sequestration would also impact food safety, law enforcement, and airport safety, among other issues.

It’s about a number of other programs that support our quality of life in this country,î he said. ìAnd our quality of life is important to our national security.

All of this,î Panetta continued, would be the consequence of an arbitrary legislative mechanism so onerous Ö that it was designed not to take effect, but to force the right kind of action.

He noted that a day earlier, President Obama issued a ìstark warningî about the consequences of deep and indiscriminate budget cuts if sequestration occurs.

We cannot allow this to happen, and it is difficult to believe Congress would simply stand aside, and fail to make the decisions necessary to resolve this crisis, allowing the defense, economy, and quality of life of America to be irreparably damaged, Panetta said.

Even so, he said We have already begun an all-out effort to plan for how to operate under such a scenario, but it’s all also very clear that there are no good options, he added
[The] department and each military service are moving ahead with near-term actions, Panetta said. ìWe have got to reduce the spend rate that we’re in now.
The defense secretary said it is imperative to protect ìthe warfighters in Afghanistan and our force projection in the Middle Eastî From the effects of sequestration.
There’s only one place that comes out of, and it’s readiness, Panetta said. ìAnd that’s what will happen.

The defense secretary implored Congress to stop passing continuing resolutions and come to an agreement to de-trigger sequestration or the ultimate result is to lose the trust of the American people.

We will make whatever sacrifice is necessary to give our children a better life, a quality education and a more secure future, he said. There’s one thing I’ve learned in life — it’s that this future is not guaranteed.

You’ve got to work for it, he added, ìand you have to fight for it.”




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


 
 

 
VG01

Space tourism rocket explodes in desert

MOJAVE, Calif. – A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded Oct. 31 during a test flight, killing a pilot aboard and seriously injuring another while scattering wreckage in Southern California’s Mojave Desert, ...
 
 

Headlines October 29, 2014

News: Unmanned rocket explodes just six seconds after taking off - A NASA rocket due to be visible across the East Coast on its way to the International Space Station has blown up on the Launchpad. IG: Former chief of wounded warrior office broke law, DOD regs - The Defense Department inspector general has recommended “corrective action”...
 
 

News Briefs October 29, 2014

F-35C makes first landing at Virginia Beach Navy base The Navy says an operational F-35C joint strike fighter has landed at Naval Air Station Oceana for the first time. Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s master jet base on the East Coast. The Navy says the plane came to the Virginia Beach base Oct....
 

 

Time to turn to American technology for space launch

For the first time since the Cold War, the United States has deployed armored reinforcements to Europe. To counter Russia’s aggression, several hundred troops and 20 tanks are now in the Baltic. Yet the U.S. military is still injecting millions into the Russian military industrial complex. In late August, the United Launch Alliance – the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 




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>