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International Military Markets & Budgets - North & South America
 
U.S. SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SEEKS END TO SEQUESTRATION
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Source: U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON - The leaders of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee are urging their colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee to help eliminate defense sequestration caps. In a February 27 letter to the budget committee, SASC Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) said that the limitations imposed by sequestration "have become a national security crisis on the first order." The budget cuts have resulted in acquisition program cancellations or reductions, reduced training, and end strength reductions. "It is difficult to overstate the destructive impact on our military that has been wrought by the BCA with sequestration," the letter says.

McCain and Reed recommend restoring defense spending to Budget Control Act levels prior to sequestration. The pre-sequestration level would provide $577 billion the Pentagon, defense programs in the Department of Energy, and related defense programs in other agencies. The Pentagon's FY16 request totals $534.3 billion, which exceeds sequestration by about $36 billion. The DoD budget plan is $155 billion above sequestration caps through FY20. Total national defense spending, including DOE and related agencies, exceeds sequestration by $38 billion in FY16 and $182 billion through FY21, according to SASC letter.

McCain and Reed also hope to achieve additional defense savings through acquisition reforms and other policy changes, efficiencies, and modernization initiatives. They also cite a report from the Defense Business Board that estimates the Pentagon could save $125 billion over the next five years by altering contractor services and implementing early retirement for defense civilians and contractors. Much of these savings would not be realized until after FY16, however. "More importantly, we do not believe it is possible to provide for our national defense at this time simply through a more efficient use of the limited defense spending mandated by the post-sequestration BCA caps," the letter says.

The lawmakers note that the FY16 budget includes a number of policy decisions guided by fiscal constraints, such as early retirement or cancellation of existing systems, deferred development or procurement, or reduced funding for proven systems. "With additional resources for defense above the President's request, our Committee could restore many of these urgent and legitimate military needs in the FY16 budget." Members of the House Armed Services Committee have expressed similar sentiments, though drafting an actual plan to end sequestration has thus far eluded lawmakers.

Source:  Forecast International - International Military Markets
Associated URL: http://www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: March 3, 2015
Author: S. McDougall, North America Analyst 
Posted: 03/03/2015

 

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