Tags: Joint Chiefs | defense | cuts | sequestration | compromise | military readiness | equipment

Joint Chiefs: Budget Cuts Weaken Military, Endanger American Lives

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 10:02 PM

U.S. military capabilities have declined during the Obama Administration and major defense cuts are placing soldiers' lives at risk, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in testimony this week.

Military and service leaders warned Tuesday that the combination of growing threats from states like Russia and North Korea and terrorist groups — along with years of budget cuts made by the Obama Administration — have increased the threat to U.S. national security, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Naval modernization has been delayed and weapons purchases have been slashed, a key Army weapons system has been cancelled and Air Force combat forces are not prepared for a major conflict, the military chiefs said.

The automatic cuts known as sequestration have taken a devastating toll on the military, they testified.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James said sequestration "is going to place American lives at greater risks both at home and abroad."

Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh said that even if Congress provides relief from sequestration during the coming fiscal year, the services will require time to recover from the effects of reduced modernization and training.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said his service canceled a new infantry fighting vehicle that was needed to modernize forces. He said that a lack of preparedness as well as "the inability to react to the unknown, contingencies and stress on the force would be increased significantly" if the current budget is not fully funded.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford said that: "Fundamentally, we really are building capabilities that are more applicable to yesterday than tomorrow right now as a result of the budgetary constraints."

Some of the most stark testimony at Tuesday's Armed Services Committee hearing came from a prepared statement by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who said that past spending cuts had made full funding of the current budget request a critical priority.

Greenert, who did not attend the hearing due to a death in his family, said that budget cuts have "forced the Navy to accept significant risk in key mission areas, notably if the military is confronted with a technologically advanced adversary or forced to deny the objective of an opportunistic aggressor in a second region while engaged in a major contingency."

In his statement, Greenert argued that Navy weapons will arrive late to battle zones and that the service will wage war with less capable weapons and limited supplies of munitions.

He warned that this would result in "longer timelines to achieve victory, more military and civilian lives lost, and potentially less credibility to deter adversaries and assure allies in the future."

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U.S. military capabilities have declined during the Obama Administration and major defense cuts are placing soldiers' lives at risk, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in testimony this week. Military and service leaders warned Tuesday that the combination of growing threats...
Joint Chiefs, defense, cuts, sequestration, compromise, military readiness, equipment, lives, threats
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2015-02-18
Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 10:02 PM
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