Pentagon Leaders Say Sequestration Impact Will Be Immediate and Obvious

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter laid out a rough schedule beginning at midnight Friday and stretching out over the coming weeks at their press briefing Friday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter laid out a rough schedule beginning at midnight Friday and stretching out over the coming weeks at their press briefing Friday. Glenn Fawcett/Defense Department

Contradicting skeptics who accuse the Pentagon of being alarmist about sequestration, newly installed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday said the uncertainties surrounding the impending across-the-board budget cuts “will continue to cause this department to put at risk our ability to be effective and fulfill all of our missions.”

At a joint press conference, Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter laid out a rough schedule beginning at midnight Friday and stretching out over the coming weeks, in which all Pentagon components except those on active duty in Afghanistan will launch a series of cutbacks. The Navy will gradually stand down at least four wings, beginning in April; the Air Force will immediately stop flight training; and the Army will curtail training in 80 percent of its units, the segment that is not in the war zone.

“The impact will be abundantly obvious, starting tomorrow and building this year,” Carter said, “It is not subtle. We’ve been sounding the alarm for 16 months.”

Hagel called sequestration’s cuts “abrupt and arbitrary,” but said he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff could adjust to the realities. “America has the best fighting force in the world, but these budget cuts are making our job harder,” Hagel said. “I have confidence in the president and Congress to make decisions and that a consensus will be reached at some point to avert serious damage to this institution.”

He called for “a balanced deficit reduction plan that leads to ending the sequester and passage of appropriations bills for all agencies.”

Both leaders warned of more damaging effects if no adjustments are made in the continuing resolution that expires on March 27, saying furlough notifications will go out and managers will begin to review and delay contracts.

Carter said sequestration will have an impact on active-duty troops because gaps in their training can degrade their readiness and force them to make up the training later to stay certified. Sequestration and the funding categories in the continuing resolution are concentrated in areas separate from those involved in Afghanistan, which leaves troops less ready for other conflicts, Carter said. Delays in maintenance throw off the advance planning of shipyards, he added.

Sequestration will affect civilian workers—86 percent of whom work outside Washington and 44 percent of whom are veterans—in the form of furloughs, Carter said. And it will affect the contractor workforce, which accounts for all but about $4 billion of the $46 billion that must be cut over the next seven months.

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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