Tags: War on Terrorism | Ashton Carter | Pentagon | GOP | budget

Defense Chief Carter Blasts GOP Budget Plan

Image: Defense Chief Carter Blasts GOP Budget Plan
(Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 27 Mar 2015 04:52 PM

With the House-passed Republican budget likely headed for Senate passage and a virtually certain presidential veto, newly appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is blasting it for bypassing, rather than lifting, sequestration budget caps.

As the first secretary of defense to address the State Department's Global Chiefs of Missions Conference, Carter said the GOP plan would make long-range planning and defense flexibility more difficult, the Daily Caller reports.

The Republican plan would retain the base level of spending at $523 billion and place $90 billion in a separate war fund, while President Barack Obama's plan would take spending above caps to $561 billion and allocate only $51 billion to the war fund, the Daily Caller notes.

Frequent fluctuations in the war fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund, complicate long-term planning, Carter noted, with funds often allocated to non-war purposes.

"That is why President Obama has said he will not accept a budget that locks in sequester going forward or one that severs the vital links between all the pieces of our national security, from State to USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] to [the Department of] Homeland Security to DOD [Department of Defense]," Carter said, The Hill reported.

"President Obama, Secretary [of State John] Kerry and I will not waver as we resist proposals that undermine critical investments in all the fundamentals of our national security and national power," Carter said.

"I also want to be clear that, as secretary of defense, I cannot and will not be indifferent to cuts threatening Secretary Kerry's budget, your budget, here at State," he told the assembled ambassadors, "or to Secretary [Jack] Lew's budget at Treasury or to Secretary [Jeh] Johnson's budget at Homeland Security.

"I cannot be indifferent to the vital national security responsibilities across our government, just as I cannot be indifferent to my own at DOD," The Hill noted that Carter said.

"Current proposals to shoehorn [the Pentagon's] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning," The Hill reported that Carter said.

Carter, who voiced support for the "whole-of-government" approach to conflict and disasters, which utilizes all branches of government, military, financial and diplomatic, to effect change, said, "We can't just theorize and strategize. We have to invest in the whole-of-government way," Defense.gov reported.

The GOP budgetary approach, Carter said, has caused him, as well as other military heads, to be "vocal and specific about the damage that sequestration-level budgets would inflict on the need to restore readiness, on badly needed technological modernization, and on keeping faith with troops and their families."

Calling on Congress, Carter said, "This is a time for statesmanship — a time for members of both parties to acknowledge the extraordinary turbulence in today's world and to come together behind a long-term budget that stands behind our strength and security as a nation," the Daily Caller reported.

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With the House-passed Republican budget likely headed for Senate passage and a virtually certain presidential veto, newly appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is blasting it for bypassing, rather than lifting, sequestration budget caps.
Ashton Carter, Pentagon, GOP, budget
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2015-52-27
Friday, 27 Mar 2015 04:52 PM
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