Planning for Sequester Needs to Start before Summer’s End, Top Leaders Concede
If Congress has made no headway on reversing the budget sequester over the next several months, officials would need to begin planning how the defense budget could absorb up to $500 billion in additional spending cuts over the next decade, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday.
“I would anticipate that we would have to begin doing some planning in the mid to late summer if we have any chance at all of reacting to it should it trigger,” Dempsey said during a Pentagon news briefing. Panetta seconded the assessment.
Panetta continued to press lawmakers to undo sequestration, which is slated to go into effect starting in January unless Congress replaces the spending cuts with other ways to reduce the federal deficit.
“I just have to hope that ultimately, they will find the courage and leadership to be able to address that issue, de-trigger sequester, deal with the other challenges that are out there and try to do it as soon as possible because frankly, the longer this drags on, the more of an impact it has in terms of the planning process and in terms of the budget process,” he said.
“And frankly, even though we’re not planning for sequester to take place because it is such a disastrous step if it occurs, it still has an impact within the department and outside the department for planning purposes,” he added.
Read the American Forces Press Service story.