Sequestration Already Having a Major Impact, Panetta and Dempsey Say

Chad J. McNeeley/Defense Department

Budget uncertainty is already having an impact on military operations, and possible cuts will have real national security consequences, the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders said Thursday.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said across-the-board cuts from sequestration will affect the military’s readiness and urged congressional leaders to come to a consensus on the budget. Sequestration is due to take effect on March 1 if lawmakers fail to agree on an alternative, and the Pentagon has previously sounded alarms about the grim prospect of the cuts.

“This is not something that should be done as a way to blame the other party for what happens,” Panetta said in a meeting with reporters. “This is going to hurt the United States and hurt our defense.”

On Wednesday, the military announced it would not deploy several vessels, citing budget uncertainty from sequestration as the primary reason. Dempsey said the military is stretching out its readiness “so if something happens elsewhere in the world, we can respond to it.” Panetta also said that the moves being made at the Pentagon were reversible if the Defense Department “gets a full appropriation.”

The Air Force recently released guidance explaining how the branch was looking to implement sequestration. The plan includes an immediate hiring freeze, reducing “non-mission critical temporary and term employees,” curtailing flying hours and cutting long-term investments. Additionally, Army leaders believe that furloughing employees may not give them enough leeway to make their payroll. Other defense agencies have recently released documentation explaining how they plan to undertake rapid budget cuts.

Dempsey emphasized that the “military [needed] budget certainty,” and additional time to spread possible cuts.

“Given 10 years to spread reductions, we can manage it,” Dempsey said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.