March 6, 2015
this week, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey (USA), testified before Congress
over the merits of the FY 2016 budget proposal.
the budget, saying it would allow the military to defend the country
and fight wars. Dempsey provided a different view, saying the proposed
defense budget provides “no slack, no margin left for error or strategic
The administration’s proposed budget is $38 billion
over the self-imposed restraints of the 2011 Budget Control Act. Failure
to change the BCA will trigger automatic and arbitrary cuts, known as
Carter stressed to the committee that, “We cannot
meet sequester with further half measures.” Instead of savings, Carter
says that sequestration “frequently leads to waste – as, for example,
when it forces a reduction in contract production rates, driving up unit
Both men urged Congress to fund the defense department above sequestration levels.
provided some relief to defense planners in a controversial 2013 budget
deal, but without additional action, the full brunt of sequestration is
set to return to the defense department in October.
In a Feb. 27
letter to the Senate Budget Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee
Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) called
sequestration “a national security crisis of the first order.”
similar letter to House Budget Committee counterparts, House Armed
Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said, “reducing our
military spending in the hopes of improving our financial situation may
well bring about more instability in the world.”
According to the letter, at sequestration levels, the military will not have enough money to pay for its current requirements.
members seem poised to balk at sequestration funding levels. In remarks
on Mar. 4, Representative Rob Wittman (R-Va.) warned House Budget
Committee members that any budget resolution coming under the
president’s budget request will not pass the House.
reduction is a national priority, Congress cannot ignore the serious
threats to national security that sequestration imposes.