WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials in the coming weeks will examine how to modify the US Defense Department’s 2014 budget proposal if sequestration spending caps remain in place.
DoD will submit its findings to the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 1, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
“You know the Department of Defense, we can adapt to a wide range of budget contingencies, but to do so responsibly, we need stability, we need time [and] we need flexibility, none of which we have under sequester,” Carter said Wednesday at a conference sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the International Security Studies Program of The Fletcher School of Tufts University.
DoD’s 2014 budget request does not factor in sequestration and is $52 billion above federal spending caps.
“In the coming weeks we will be examining how we will manage through FY14 if we are limited to budget levels other than the president’s budget and taking into consideration the disruptions in fiscal year ’13,” Carter said. Sequestration cuts about $37 billion from DoD’s budget in 2013.
Last week, a team led by Carter finished the Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR), an exercise that looked at cutting DoD’s budget at three levels — $100 billion, $300 billion and $500 billion — over the next decade. It also looked at where the Pentagon would need to modify its military strategy under these budget constraints.
The results of the SCMR will inform the 2015 budget and be the foundation for the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. Defense officials have said the inputs will give them options for areas to cut under a range of budget scenarios.
“We scrutinized 38 categories of department spending, every nickle in the whole damn place, ranging from bombers to cyber, from pay and healthcare to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other headquarters, every dollar,” Carter said of the SCMR. “We looked at every aspect of the establishment, roles and missions among the services, business and acquisition practices, contingency plans, force structure, compensation, modernizations, the whole deal. We also re-examined how the military operates, evaluates risk, measures readiness and determines requirements.
“As a result, we will be ready in the months ahead to confront the wide range of budgetary circumstances we might face,” he said.
Carter last week told DoD officials to prepare for three different budget scenarios in 2015.