Panetta Fights To The End Against Proposed Cuts
As he prepares to retire to California this month, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is still fighting the battle that has consumed his entire tenure at the Pentagon: an increasingly desperate campaign to persuade Congress not to whack defense spending.
Pentagon Readies Budget Ax
With a growing sense of resignation, Pentagon officials are preparing for billions of dollars in spending reductions, holding out little hope that President Obama and Republican lawmakers will be able to avert deep cuts set to take hold on March 1. As time runs out for a deal, the Navy has made plans to scale back deployments that could affect rapid response to crises, the Air Force is preparing to curb flying hours for pilots, and the Army is planning to curtail training.
Senate Democrats’ Sequester Bill Would Cut Defense $27.5B
U.S. Senate Democratic leaders rolled out their much-anticipated measure to void the first wave of pending cuts to planned defense and domestic spending. The Democrats’ bill covers only the remainder of fiscal 2013, and calls for $55 billion in spending cuts and $54 billion in new tax revenue. It reflects the kind of “balanced approach” long called for by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
Defense Spending Cuts Could Kill 1 Million Jobs
Steep defense cuts in store for America may eliminate 1 million jobs directly and then have ripple effects across the nation’s cities and towns. As Washington debates sequestration, the defense industry and towns that depend on defense contracts fear sequestration is only the tip of the iceberg.
Top Military Leaders: Looming Cuts May Leave Troops Unprepared
Pending automatic spending cuts have put the U.S. armed forces on a path to being so unprepared for combat that it would be “immoral” to use them, the Defense Department’s top leaders told lawmakers in their most dire warning yet of how looming budget reductions could undercut military readiness.
Pentagon Favors Phased Reduction In Afghanistan Pullout
The Pentagon is pushing a plan that would keep about 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan once the NATO military mission there ends in 2014 but significantly shrink the contingent over the following two years. The phased-reduction approach represents an effort to strike a compromise between top military commanders, who had wanted to base about 10,000 U.S. troops in the country after 2014, and several of President Obama’s senior civilian advisers, who have advocated a far smaller long-term U.S. presence.
Army Must Complete Analysis Before Opening Jobs To Women
Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced an end to the Direct Ground Combat Exclusion Rule for female soldiers. But the Army wants commanders in the field to know that it will be some time before they’ll be able to make any changes in their units. Panetta must notify Congress of the intent to open those positions, and Congress has a specific amount of time to consider the issue before anything in the services can change.
US Cuts Persian Gulf Carrier Fleet From 2 To 1
The Pentagon is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, in a move that represents one of the most significant effects of budget cuts on the U.S. military presence overseas. The decision comes as Washington struggles to find a way to avoid sharp automatic spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs next month.
Army Warns Of 5 Month Restart For Cancelled Contracts
In a memo titled “Operating Under Uncertain Budgets,” the Army estimates that it will take as long as 150 days to restart any contract that has been shut down due to budget pressure, and that “this considerable time lag creates a FY14 problem. Workload to renegotiate contracts will over burden an already taxed acquisition workforce and likely increase costs in the short term.”
The Right way To Cut Pentagon Spending
The U.S. must take care to preserve the military capabilities it needs to protect America’s interests now and in the future. The armed forces must retain the ability and agility to respond rapidly and effectively to a broad range of contingencies. Deep cuts to force structure, readiness and modernization should be the last resort, not the default course of action. So where should policy makers reduce spending?
Army Partners With Industry For Vehicle Efficiencies
The Army has partnered with the automotive industry and others in an effort to jump-start the development of more energy-saving and high-performance vehicles. Most of these efforts are still in the research and development stages, but “our initial analyses (for future adaptation) are very promising,” said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
Obama Issues Order To Bolster Cyber Defenses
President Obama issued an executive order that seeks to shore up the nation’s cyber-defenses by improving how classified information is shared between the government and the owners and operators of crucial infrastructure. The long-expected order is a stopgap measure that follows Congress’ failure last year to pass legislation to create comprehensive standards for the private sector to help thwart digital attacks.
Senate Republicans Filibuster Hagel Nomination
The confirmation process stalled Thursday when GOP senators deprived Hagel of the 60 votes needed to move it to its final stages. Republicans said they were seeking a delay so they could look more closely at the nominee.