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  • Pentagon Official: Sequestration a Step Toward 'Hollow' Military Force

    A senior Defense Department official testifying before the House Armed Services Committee last week said implementing sequestration, across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect in January, “would represent a major step toward creation of an unready, ‘hollow’ military force.”

    Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s second-in-command, told House members that sequestration “introduces senseless chaos into the management of more than 2,500 defense investment programs” and “would be devastating to DoD, just as it would to every other affected federal agency.”

    The cuts would take almost $55 billion out of the national security budget next year. Among the consequences Carter listed, it would:

    • Result in fewer people to fix weapons, including weapons damaged in war.
    • Force cuts in base support services, facility maintenance and maintenance of government-owned family housing.
    • Delay payments to service providers through the Defense Health Program, which provides health care for retirees and military dependents.
    • Indiscriminately reduce more than 2,500 procurement programs, research projects and military construction projects.
    • Force military managers to buy fewer weapons, including four fewer F-35 aircraft, one less P-8 aircraft, 12 fewer Stryker vehicles, and 300 fewer Army medium and heavy tactical vehicles compared with the President Obama’s budget for 2013.
    • Delay the new CVN-78 carrier, the Littoral Combat Ship program, and the DDG-51 destroyer procurement.

    Outside of the armed forces, Carter said the cuts “would have devastating effects on the intelligence community.”

    Several members of the House Armed Services Committee issued similarly dire warnings about sequestration last week at a YG Network Summit on Capitol Hill, moderated by The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano.

    “Imagine if there is a day though where we’re involved somewhere, something kicks off, we need a carrier in the region, and there’s just literally no option,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said at the event. “That’s a potential. That’s nothing we’ve ever imagined but it could happen.”

    Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) said that while the cuts would be painful for the military, they wouldn’t make a significant difference in the federal budget deficit.

    “If we eliminated the whole discretionary budget, everything, take all the spending out of education, research and development, law enforcement, infrastructure, and defense — eliminate it all — we would still be running a deficit of a half a trillion dollars a year,” McKeon said.

    The defense sequester would total $492 bill over the coming decade and come on top of $487 billion in cuts the Pentagon will already be forced to absorb under last year’s Budget Control Act. The defense cuts equal half of total spending cuts under the sequester, even though defense spending only makes up 11 percent of total federal outlays.

    The cuts would come even as the military faces continued threats abroad and aging military equipment. On average, B-52 bombers are nearly 50 years old, long-range bombers are nearly 35 years old, midair refueling tankers are 49 years old, and fighter aircraft are 22 years old.

    Carter said he could not even outline a plan that would mitigate the consequences of sequestration.

    “The reason for this is that sequester was designed to be an inflexible and mindless policy,” he said. “It was never designed to be implemented.  Instead, it was enacted as a prod to Congress to devise a comprehensive package to reduce the federal deficit.”

    Tray Smith is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Pentagon Official: Sequestration a Step Toward 'Hollow' Military Force

    1. electedface says:

      The F 22 has not been used in a combat despite the initial introduction of this jet in 2005. The last of the 188 planes rolled off the assembly line in April of 2012.

      It has cost The United States more than $64 billion, more than double the initial expected cost.

      Now they have given another contract to Lockheed Martin to fix the mistakes of the 188 planes that have issues.

      The US spends more on its military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

      This is where our nation needs to cut its spending.

    2. W. Sid Vogel says:

      I am sorry guys, but I have a hard time agreeing to the mission of "everything possible everywhere". We need to leave Afghanistan now. We do not need US Military in 149 countries around the world. We do not need to spend more that the next 20 nations in the world, COMBINED. What exactly did all our effort buy us in Iraq? Vietnam? We need to limit our military engagements to those that are essential, not everyone that we can find. When we fight, we need to fight with all effort to destroy the enemy and go home. Alexis De Tocqueville stated in "Democracy in Ameica" in 1835 that "Democratic nations are naturally desirous of peace, but democratic armies are desirous of war", and it turns out he was right. We need to follow G. Washington's recommendation and stay out of the internal affairs of other nations, stay strong, and strike where we are threatened, defeat the threat, and leave.


      you people are idiots. cuts DO NOT need to be made in the military. without our military america WILL NOT STAND! AND TO THE IDIOTS WHO THINK WE NEED TO GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN….you must have a death wish! Our prescense is keeping their anger at bay. If we pull out…and make even more cuts in our military…we WILL BE BOMBARDED BY TERRORIST…simple as that…our military wont be here to stop it or protect us because of idiots like you guys causing the military to collapse.

      • I find it hilarious how you accuse others of being an idiot, yet you spelled "prescense" and "wont" wrong. Good job!

      • Liberty4me says:

        You can honestly say "Our prescense is keeping their anger at bay."???? If Russians were occupying the USA, would that keep your anger at bay or would you rise up and strike back? It is our presence in Afghanistan that creates their anger. It is our occupation of their sovereign nation that makes them want to bombard us.

    4. I personally would like to see America model it's defense similar to that of Switzerland. Here is a country that has remained non-interventionist for the past decade and thus has become a very secure country. I would go on to argue that America's founders included the Second Amendment in the Constitution as a primary means to ward off tyranny, not by placing that burdon on the monolithic and unbelievably expensive defense structure we have today. The Swiss make it almost mandatory for all households to own a weapon, and require their young-adult aged males to train and support decentralized militia forces. America could still have an established Army, Navy and Air Force, but only activated from National Guard forces when absolutely needed to defend against an immediate threat.

    5. jmay72 says:

      Wow, I'm really surprised how many people are willing to make cuts to exactly what is keeping us safe. On paper pulling out of all of these countries you are talking about might seem like the way to go, but the US is begged for too much help from the rest of the world to just yank it all away. Second of all, maybe you should actually talk to a soldier or marine that is deployed or has been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan before you shoot your mouth off, because if you did, you'd probably realize that what went on over there and is still going on is a whole lot different first hand than what the media spews. My husband is a 4 time combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and his point of view is much different than everyone who has never actually set foot overseas. To add to that, he has also been unemployed 13 months of the last two years due to defense spending cuts, which makes me sick considering the military should never come home from putting their asses on the line to such a bleak outlook at home. Obama and the media could care less about our military and the way this country is headed is sickening.

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