On November 6, 2013 Senator Mazi Hirono of Hawaii asked for permission to address the United States Senate regarding the impact of sequestration on national security.
“Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the impact of sequestration on our national security and the economy. As a Nation, our military strength is directly supported by our economic strength, and sequestration has done substantial harm to both. This senseless policy has put our military in a very bad position and undermines or national security strategies.”
“In fiscal year 2013, the Defense Department’s budget was reduced by approximately $43 billion due to sequestration, or a roughly 8 percent cut to each defense account. These cuts have undermined our military’s readiness and reduced necessary maintenance. They have also undermined long-term investments in modernizing our force. Our military leadership has been clear about the impact of sequestration at numerous hearings before Congress. All of the services have raised concerns about the Budget Control Act’s sequestration and the post-sequester budget caps. In particular, we have heard how these cuts undermine their ability to carry out the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance or DSG”, she said.
“The DSG outlines the strategic priorities of the Department of Defense. The DSG reflects the input of a wide range of military stakeholders. The DSG describes the security challenges we are likely to face as well as the resources needed to meet key mission requirements. The 2012 DSG sets as a central goal the transition of a U.S. defense enterprise from an emphasis on today’s wars to preparing for future challenges. The cuts due to the Budget Control Act undermine that goal. As a result, the services will have to reduce personnel levels, delay or scrap necessary equipment modernization and acquisition, and reduce training and readiness activities”, she continued.
“In recent testimony before the House of Representatives, Army GEN Ray Odierno noted the Army’s personnel will shrink by 18 percent in the next 7 years. This includes a 26 percent reduction in Active Army personnel, 12 percent reduction in Army National Guard, and a 9 percent reduction in the Army Reserve. In discussing these reductions, General Odierno said:
“In my view, these reductions will put at substantial risk our ability to conduct even one sustained major combat operation. While I hope we will not have to engage in such an operation in the near future, this reduction in our capacity to do so is very troubling”, said Senator Hirono (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).
See related video: Military braces for sequestration cuts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHtaAt7QjAA