TMCNet:  Lamborn Questions Secretary of Defense on Defense Cuts

[October 14, 2011]

Lamborn Questions Secretary of Defense on Defense Cuts

Oct 14, 2011 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) questioned Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, about threatened cuts to the defense budget.

Both testified that the military would be "a hollow force" if threatened cuts to defense spending take effect. The defense budget would automatically be cut by nearly one trillion dollars over the next ten years, if the Super Committee charged with cutting overall government spending cannot reach an agreement. This process is known as sequestration.

Currently, defense comprises less than 20 percent of the federal budget but, under this scenario, bears the brunt of almost half of all cuts.

Congressman Doug Lamborn Questions Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta To view video, go to .

Congressman Lamborn If there is sequestration, how would that impact the ability of our military troops to address the kinds of threats that you both talked about earlier in your testimony? Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta All bets are off because sequestration would demand such drastic across-the-board cuts that it's pretty clear the force structure would be reduced drastically. We would be looking at having to increase the number of R.I.Fs (reduction in forces) and in addition to that there is no question that we would hollow out the force, because it would require drastic, deep across-the-board cuts that would affect training, equipment, and everything else. It would really be devastating in terms of our national defense.

Congressman Lamborn General, is there anything you would care to add to that? Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey As a former service chief, the way a service chief maintains the balance of his forces, he has three rheostats. One is manpower, end strength. That is one. One rheostat is modernization and equipment. The other is training and maintenance.

The impact of sequestration is not only in its magnitude, but in what it directs the service chiefs to do in each one of those rheostats. We lose control. And as we lose control, we will become out of balance and we will not have the military this nation needs.

This hearing was the fifth and final in a series of hearings to evaluate lessons learned since 9/11 and to apply those lessons to budget decisions Congress will soon be making about the future of the military force.

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