The Pentagon’s budget squeeze would not hold back the implementation of a no fly zone in Syria, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in an Aspen Security Forum session on the future of the Pentagon. But any new military commitment would require more money from Congress, and fast.
“We would need supplemental funding, which is normal for a new contingency,” Carter said. Administration officials have so far been divided on how to approach the ongoing chaos in Syria, with factions in the government proposing additional weapons delivery and action to support the Syrian rebels.
As Carter spoke, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., upbraided Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, in a testy exchange for not joining in McCain’s longstanding fervor for more direct U.S. military intervention in Syria. Dempsey was appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing to continue as chairman for another two years. Dempsey said the administration was considering the use of “kinetic strikes” in Syria, according to the Associated Press.