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.


 
 

 

Headlines March 6, 2015

News: IG: VHA misappropriated $92.5M for claims system - The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) misappropriated more than $90 million intended for medical support and compliance programs in order to build an automated claims processing system, according to an Inspector General report released this week.   Business: Gulf arms race fuels UAE push for defense industry - Soaring...
 
 

News Briefs March 6, 2015

Man charged with theft of military documents seeks release An engineer who worked for a defense contractor who’s been charged with attempting to travel to China with stolen documents on the development of advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft is asking a judge to free him while he awaits trial. A hearing on Yu Long’s...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

AFRL offering prize for turbine engine development

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Discover meetings to be held in Ohio on March 24-25. The Air Force Research Laboratory is leading the first Air Force technology prize, issuing a challenge to develop a small, efficient t...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion wing line restarted

Lockheed Martin photograph From left: Peter Hillier, Karen Eilbmeier, and Michael Spurr from the Canada Department of National Defence were on hand to commemorate the reopening of the P-3 wing line at Marietta, Ga.   Lockh...
 
 
Army photograph

Army Research Laboratory lays out science and technology priorities through 2019

Army photograph Dr. Rick Beyer, propulsion science expert, aligns a sample in a Bruker Wide-angle X-ray scattering camera at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. The laboratory recently released its technical implementa...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman

‘Iron Horse’ sets off for final flight

Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman Aircraft 62-1863 ‘Iron Horse’, a HC-130P Combat King, rests before takeoff Mar. 3, 2015, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Throughout its career, Iron Horse has flown for over 27,000 ho...
 




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>