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Pentagon ‘Has Nothing More to Give:’ HASC Chair; Bill Coming to Stop Cuts

Posted by Colin Clark on

CAPITOL HILL: “I will be introducing legislation in the coming days to prevent cuts that will do catastrophic damage to our men and women in uniform and our national security. Our military has already contributed nearly half a trillion to deficit reduction. Those who have given us so much, have nothing more to give.”

With those words spoken by Rep. Buck McKeon begins the legislative counterattack on what are supposed to be mandatory and automatic cuts to the defense budget of more than $650 billion triggered by the abject failure of his congressional colleagues on the Super Committee.

Sen. Jon Kyl, the Super Committee member who earlier threatened for resign should mandatory defense cuts go through, said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that he “couldn’t imagine” that Republicans and Democrats couldn’t find a way to ensure that “all” the cuts didn’t come from defense.

With exquisite timing, the Office of Management and Budget announced Friday that the Department of Defense remains the only federal department that cannot be described as “watching every dollar that goes out the door and making sure that we have the proper controls, practices, and safeguards in place on those dollars.”
“It is more than ironic that the secretary of the Defense Department is the only major department head who has called for additional reductions in any other agency, especially entitlement agencies, but his own,” said Winslow Wheeler, a member of the AOL Board of Contributors and a respected defense budget analyst at the Center for Defense Information.
Wheeler noted that if the Super Committee cuts come to pass Pentagon “spending would be returned to the same approximate level of spending as in 2007. In its time, 2007 was a post-World War II high for DoD spending, not a valley, using inflation adjusted dollars. It was also $38 billion dollars above average annual DOD spending during the Cold War, an era when we faced over 200 Warsaw Pact and Soviet Divisions in Europe, an existential nuclear threat and a hostile and dogmatically communist China. To call such a level of spending a “catastrophe” (or “Doomsday”) is a failure of management and intellect every bit as complete as the political failure of the hapless Democrats and Republicans on the so-called Super Committee,” Wheeler argued.
Let’s let McKeon have the final word, since he is the one proposing legislation: “Secretary Panetta has said he doesn’t want to be the secretary who hollows out defense. Likewise, I will not be the armed services chairman who presides over crippling our military. I will not let these sequestration cuts stand.” We’ve got one year to find out.

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