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Bridget Johnson


May 3, 2013 - 10:54 am

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee are seeking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s leadership on where to cut to meet the $52 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 mandated by sequestration.

“Virtually every DOD witness who has come before the Armed Services Committee this year has testified that an additional round of sequestration in fiscal year 2014 would be devastating for the Department,” Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote to Hagel yesterday.

“Despite this testimony, many members of Congress and the public still seem to have the view that sequestration is an effective way to cut government spending and can be made workable simply by providing the Department with additional flexibility or making minor adjustments. As a result, there is an increasing risk that DOD and other federal agencies may face sequestration again in 2014.”

Levin and Inhofe asked Hagel to provide a package of reductions to the committee by July 1.

“We recognize that it will not be easy to put together such a package.  In our view, however, a concrete demonstration of the painful choices the Department would have to make to cut $52 billion from its budget may be our last, best hope of avoiding sequestration altogether,” they added.

Levin said in a statement that he believes other agencies should put their cuts in writing, too.

“I hope other committees make similar requests of the departments in their jurisdiction, so that we can demonstrate to our colleagues and the American people how urgent it is that we end sequestration and substitute a balanced approach to budgeting and deficits,” the senator said.

Inhofe noted “the men and women of our military have already endured almost $600 billion in cuts and stand to lose another $52 billion next year because of a failure to address sequestration.”

“Our military was told last year not to worry about sequestration, that it would not happen, but the failed promise has led to an enormous amount of uncertainty that has prevented our military leaders from properly planning to ensure the capabilities and readiness of our force,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “It is vital for DoD and Sec. Hagel to provide Congress with a detailed plan for the implementation of the FY’14 defense cuts so that my colleagues and the American public will have a clear understanding of what the future holds for our military capabilities and overall national security.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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It will never happen. The Military, and most all other government entities, have worked under the use it or lose it mentality for way too many years. By this I mean they always ask for way more than they need, get a big chunk of what they ask for, then get stuck near the end of the year trying to create ways to use all they were given so they can ask for even more the next budget year. To try to figure out how to cut their requests is totally foreign to their way of thinking.

Every branch of service does this. They figure it is better to have too much during the year just in case something happens that they need the extra. Then, at the end of the year, they have to spend all the extra so that the bean counters can't point to any left over money and say well, you didn't use it last year so you don't need that much this year.
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