WASHINGTON — As the clock ticks toward sweeping U.S. federal budget cuts this Friday, the Pentagon continued to press lawmakers to come up with a plan that spares the Defense Department a $46 billion cut in 2013.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little also fired back at critics who have accused DoD officials of “crying wolf” about the impact of mandatory spending cuts, know as sequestration, and a yearlong continuing resolution (CR).
“We’ve done the detailed analysis. We’ve done the line-item analysis. We know what our budget is. It’s tied to a strategy,” Little said. “I hear people making abstract comments out there about, well, the Pentagon surely can cut more, because it’s got a huge budget.
“Well, I don’t hear a comprehensive proposal from many people out there. So a CR plus sequester equals devastating, equals uncertainty, equals effects on military readiness, and we need to get beyond it. If you sense a little bit of frustration from me and from others in the Pentagon, you’re sensing correctly. This is stupid.”
DoD officials have said the combination sequestration and a yearlong CR, which is $11 billion below planned 2013 spending levels, would significantly harm the military. In order to fund operations, these officials have said the Pentagon would have to ground planes, return ships to port and curtail most training.
“[W]e’ve been very clear that if sequestration takes effect, it will impact our readiness, and we will have to absorb more risk in our security,” Little said. “And we believe that at a certain point — I can’t define precisely when — at a certain point, that becomes intolerable risk for us. I think that’s fairly obvious, and we’ve been clear about the devastating consequences of sequestration.”