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

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 
 
Army photograph by David Kamm

Army advances technology at Base Camp Integration Laboratory

Army photograph by David Kamm Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, listens as Bob Graney explains details of the energy-efficient rigid-wall shelter system, Oct. 22, 2014...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Wesley Farnsworth

New application aims to improve analyst’s performance

Air Force photograph by Wesley Farnsworth 1st Lt. Kristin Spencer, 711th Human Performance Wing behavioral scientist, watches a video for suspicious behavior during a demonstration of a new Enhanced Reporting, Narrative Event S...
 

 
navair-triton2

Triton UAS completes second transcontinental flight across the U.S.

  The second of three MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its debut at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 24 after completing its inaugural cross-country flight from Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., facilit...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Taylor Curry

Wolf Pack soars at RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1

Air Force photograph by SrA. Taylor Curry South Korea air force pilots prepare to taxi their KF-16 Fighting Falcons to the runway during Red Flag-Alaska 15-1 Oct. 17, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This field training...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 




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>