Defense

August 2, 2013

Carter: Review reveals sequestration’s flaws

Tags:
Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

sequester-review
The Strategic Choices and Management Review has shown that a strategic approach to cutting the department’s budget canít meet the schedule set by full sequestration, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress Aug. 1.

The review, ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, was partly an examination of the Defense Departmentís strategic options under sequestration, Carter told the House Armed Services Committee.
It also was an evaluation of the departmentís management, he added.

That’s about IT efficiencies, overhead reduction [and] compensation reform, Carter said. ìAnd none of that is strategic, but if we don’t address those issues, which we did in the SCMR, then we would have to take all of any budget cuts out of investment, modernization and force structure, which we don’t want to do.

Under sequestration, the department is required to make $470 billion in cuts over 10 years in addition to an equivalent cut already planned. The cuts this fiscal year amounted to $37 billion – implemented only in the last half of the year. Next year, they are estimated to be $52 billion.

Long before sequestration came into effect, senior defense leaders were warning that it would have devastating effects on the department and its personnel, Carter said.

As predicted, sequestration’s impacts on the department’s operations have been very unfortunate and far-reaching, he said.

The study revealed a grim outlook for the department and for national security under sequestration, Carter told the committee.

Its findings are sobering, Carter said. ìThe things we have to do under sequestration are not strategic — theyíre dumb.
Three potential budget scenarios were examined in the review: full sequestration, implementation of the presidentís proposed 2014 budget, and a middle ground between the two.

The SCMR did not make final choices among these possibilities because we hope never to have to face them, but it did map out various options to reach each budget scenario, Carter said.
There were three key findings, he said.

First, it is crucial that savings be realized through efficiencies – reductions in overhead, administrative costs and operating expenses – as well as through serious reforms to compensation for civilian and military employees, the deputy defense secretary said.

Compensation alone makes up more than half of the defense budget, Carter said.

Carter said if compensation continues to grow as the overall budget shrinks, further budget cuts will lead to reduced combat power and increased national security risk.

Even the most aggressive and ambitious compensation reform and efficiency packages were insufficient to meet the budget reductions called for in any of the scenarios, Carter said.

The SCMR showed that cuts in combat power, force structure, readiness and investment will be necessary in all three of the budget scenarios, he said.

Second, the review found that, ìa combination of carefully chosen efficiencies and compensation reforms combined with various carefully and strategically chosen alternative approaches to cuts in force structure, investment and readiness could achieve sequestration-level cuts over time,î Carter said.

Crucially, though, ìthere’s no strategically and managerially sound approach to budget cuts that can close the gap within the next few years,î he said. The effects already have been felt this year, he said, though readiness stand-downs and furloughs of civilian employees.

It takes time to downsize forces, to cut employees, to close bases, to reap savings from reforms,î the deputy secretary said. ìThese strategic adjustments take time.

The third finding is that the presidentís proposed fiscal year 2014 budget would allow the department to implement the main tenets of the defense strategic guidance, Carter said. However, if full sequestration remains in effect, he said, the department would be forced to make ìsignificantî changes to force structure and the nationís defense strategy.

Force reductions would be necessary under the presidentís budget scenario, but they would be in areas that are essentially excess to the nationís strategic needs and incur only minimal risk, Carter said.

In particular, for example, reducing the size of our ground and tactical air forces as we draw down from more than a decade of stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

Sequestration is showing the nation in an unflattering light, Carter said.

Friends and potential enemies around the world are watching our behavior to be sure America will remain the world’s strongest military power,î he said. ìBut we’re accepting unnecessary risk. It’s embarrassing and unsafe to be in the situation we are in Ö scrambling in this way.




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


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, takes flight July 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-3...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

Navy photograph The Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18 after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman’s California facility.   The M...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano

F-16 collision-avoidance system could save lives

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano The Air Force Research Laboratory Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System will automatically take over an aircraft’s flight controls if a crash is imminent. The technolo...
 




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>