- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Pentagon welcomes budget deal but wants more money
Question of the Day
Military chiefs welcomed a bipartisan budget deal that would provide the Pentagon with some fiscal certainty and lessen the damage of deep spending cuts over the next two years, but they say it doesn’t go far enough for future years.
“This deal will help a little bit in the near term, but it still doesn’t address the broader problem with sequestration,” Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, said Wednesday on Fox News. “Sequestration is a nine-year problem now, so it’s another seven years that we still have to be concerned with.”
The compromise negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, and Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, would prevent a government shutdown Jan. 15, and add about $22.4 billion to the fiscal 2014 defense budget and $9 billion into the 2015 military budget.
The Pentagon faces budget cuts of $52 billion in 2014 and $500 billion over the next decade due to sequestration, the automatic spending reduction plan that was implemented when lawmakers failed to reach a long-term budget deal in 2012. The Defense Department already had cut its 10-year budget by more than $480 billion.
In order to meet sequestration goals this year, the military services have curtailed training, halted ship deployments, grounded air squadrons and furloughed civilian workers.
“Because of how fast we’ve had to do it, it really has affected our readiness,” Gen. Odierno said. “If we had some unknown contingency, I’m concerned we wouldn’t have our soldiers trained to do what they need to do.”
There has been no shortages of contingencies: A day before the budget deal was reached, the Pentagon accepted a request from France to assist with a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic by transporting equipment and troops from Burundi.
Budget analysts say more drastic spending reductions will have to be taken under the new budget deal.
The deal would reduce the military’s annual pay increase for nondisabled, working-age retirees by 1 percent less than the rise in consumer prices. The change would be phased in over three years, taking full effect in December 2016.
The Pentagon “will still have to reduce end strength, particularly in the Army, eliminate some force structure, curtail modernization programs, and even keep training and readiness below ideal levels in order to achieve the required savings,” said Nora Bensahel, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, agreed.
“It will not eliminate the impact of sequestration; it may mitigate it a bit for the first few years,” Gen. Welsh said at the American Enterprise Institute.
If the deal is approved, the total defense budget for fiscal 2014 would be $520 billion — about $32 billion less than the pending 2014 defense bill would authorize.
Loren B. Thompson, a former consultant for Lockheed Martin Corp., said the budget deal is a welcome development for the defense industry.
“The federal government is the defense industry’s main customer, so any relief from the budget caps required by sequestration is good news for industry,” said Mr. Thompson, now the chief operations officer for the Lexington Institute. “This is a good deal in the sense that it averts another government shutdown, it removes the government from the fiscal straitjacket of a continuing resolution and it prevents a crisis in military readiness.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Iraq Christians get meeting with top Obama aide
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world