Washington, DC - The top military officers from the four service branches told members of the House Armed Services Committee today that further defense cuts will dramatically weaken U.S. national security. Highlighting potentially devastating fiscal consequences of defense reductions, the Chiefs echoed unanimous sentiment that further defense control efforts out of the military budget would compromise our national and economic security.
A Severe and Irreversible Impact on the Navy’s Future
Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, warned that “some of the actions we would need to take under sequestration could have a severe and irreversible impact on the Navy’s future. For instance, We may need to end procurement programs and begin laying off civilian personnel in fiscal year 2012 to ensure we are within control levels for January of 2012.
“As a capital-intensive force, we depend on consistent and reliable production from the shipbuilding and aviation industries to sustain our fleet capacity. If we end programs abruptly and some of these companies shutdown, will be hard pressed to reconstitute them. And each ship we don’t build impacts the fleet for 20-50 years,” said Greenert.
A Crippled Marine Corps
"One effect of sequestration might be to put a Marine Corps below the end strength level that’s necessary to support even one major contingency,” said Marine Commandant James Amos.
“At the potential end strength level resulting from the sequestration, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions and assume significantly more risk We will not be able to do the things the Nation needs us to do to mitigate risk, or to meet the requirements of the Combatant Commanders.
“We won’t be there to reassure our potential friends, or to assure our allies. And we certainly won’t be there to contain small crises before they become major conflagrations.
Catastrophic to our Army and All Volunteer Force
General Raymond Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, cautioned that further defense cuts under sequestration would be “catastrophic to the military and –in the case of the Army- would significantly reduce our capability and capacity to assure our partners abroad, respond to crises, and deter our potential adversaries, while threatening the readiness of our all volunteer force.”
“Dire Consequences” for the Air Force
Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz echoed his colleagues, nothing that “even the most thoroughly deliberated strategy may not be able to overcome dire consequences if cuts go far beyond the $450 billion-plus in anticipated national security budget reductions over the next 10 years.
“From the ongoing budget review, the Department is confident that further spending reductions beyond the more than $450 billion that are needed to comply with the Budget Control Act’s first round of cuts cannot be done without damaging our core military capabilities and therefore our national s security.”