DOD Will Need to Address New Cuts Quickly, McKeon Says
Pentagon officials will need to make “deep and irrevocable” cuts in its budget next year to generate the savings required by the automatic spending cuts even though they don’t kick in until January 2013, according to Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
In the last days of the congressional debt supercommittee’s deliberations, McKeon sent a letter to the panel’s co-chairs warning of the dire consequences that would result if they failed to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan. In addition to highlighting the dramatic changes that would be forced on the nation’s military under that outcome, he argued that the Defense Department would not be able to wait until fiscal year 2013 to prepare for the first wedge of the $500 billion in spending reductions.
“As the FY 13 budget is due early next year, a failed agreement would force the Defense Department to begin deep and irrevocable cuts to our Armed Forces next year in order to reap the savings in 2013. Once this process is set in motion, it will be difficult — if not impossible — to stop,” he stated.
That process would include freezing defense assembly lines and shipyards, and issuing pink slips to hundreds of thousands of active duty military, DOD civilian and industry workers, McKeon said.
“[Defense leaders] are obligated to plan for the worst-case scenario. They will not wait until December 2012 in hopes that things get better. Unless we act today, the dismantling of the greatest Armed Forces in history could begin tomorrow,” he concluded.
For more information about the impact of sequestration, visit the committee’s website. Read the “Impact Assessment” for the committee’s detailed projection of the consequences of the automatic spending cuts on defense programs.