MOAA and SecDef Discuss Sequestration, Force Needs

December 2, 2016

On Nov. 30, MOAA President Lt Gen Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret) and a number of other association leaders met with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and a group of senior Defense and Joint Staff leaders.

Lt Gen Atkins took the opportunity to ask what the fiscal impact would be on the defense budget if sequestration were to return in FY18.

Secretary Carter said sequestration would require defense budget cuts totaling about $100 billion over the next five years. This is why MOAA intends to make sequestration relief a top priority in the next Congress.

Defense leaders went on to articulate the conundrum that current forces are too big for the current budget and too small for the missions being assigned to them. They cited recent surveys in which 72 percent of troops said operational stress levels are too high.

Even so, a senior Defense official said there is a better than 50-percent chance the Pentagon will recommend a presidential veto of the FY 2017 Defense Authorization Bill that is coming up for imminent congressional passage. The reason? It includes pay and force increases that are funded by operational contingency funds that are only good for one year.

MOAA believes strongly a veto would not be appropriate and is urging against it.  The reality is nothing is certain beyond the next year, and our Nation faces ongoing threats from ISIS, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and more.

When almost everyone recognizes we need more forces to meet the mission, we don't believe in quibbling about the budget methodology used to bring essential relief.

 

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