Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Army’s announcement on end strength changes:
“The announcement by the Army today is largely a result of cuts mandated through the Budget Control Act of 2011. In 2011, Republicans threatened to seriously damage the economy by refusing to lift the debt ceiling, unless a law was passed to immediately cut $900 billion in federal discretionary spending over ten years. As a result of that $900 billion in cuts, the Department of Defense was forced to reduce its long-term spending plans by roughly $487 billion.
“Since that time, Congress has made it very difficult for the Department to accommodate these cuts. For example, the Department of Defense attempted to save money by retiring a number of ships it does not need; by requesting authority for a BRAC, which would allow the military to save money by consolidating and reorganizing its infrastructure; and by making changes to its health care systems. Congress blocked each and every one of these attempts and has now forced the military to make a difficult choice: maintain a larger force that will hollow out over time or convert to a smaller force. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Army chose the latter.
“Given the drawdown in Afghanistan, the Army can manage this reduction in end strength, but the real hazard to military effectiveness will persist as long as Congress fails to act on sequestration. If sequestration is not removed, then more extensive force structure changes will need to be made to accommodate the severity of the sequester cuts. Earlier this year, I put forward a reasonable solution to sequestration. Unfortunately, Republican leadership in the House has not put my plan to a vote and now Congressional paralysis has placed our military in a very difficult position. It’s time that Congress and the President come together to prevent additional $1.2 trillion in cuts through sequestration.”