Ahoy Navy Leaguers, More ammunition for your personal letters to editors concerning the military s future. Council presidents anticipate another message directMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 18View SourceAhoy Navy Leaguers,More ammunition for your personal letters to editors concerning the military's future. Council presidents anticipate another message direct from NLUS HQ early next week.For Navy related shortcomings see http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/01/16/navy-to-see-shrinking-budgets-but-no-shortage-of-crises and http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/01/16/navy-struggles-to-meet-demands.For council new year resolutions, how about getting more engaged in legislative affairs and community service organization presentations? Resource materials beyond that below and attached may be found at http://www.navyleague.org. For training, William Waylett, has telephone sessions scheduled through me.Please keep me promptly informed if something you or someone in your council gets published, visits with a member of Congress, or makes a presentation to a organized group.On your council NLUS annual report, http://navyleague.org/councils/annual_report.html, be sure to indicate who has responsibility for legislative affairs and community service organization presentations this year.Standing by to assist as needed.PhelpsPhelps Hobart
Senior Vice President
Vice President Communications & Information Technology
Vice President Community Service Organization Presentations & Legislative Affairs
Vice President Membership & Marketing
Vice President Veteran Affairs
Pacific Central Region
Navy League of the United States
----- Original Message -----From: Fuentes, SaraTo: Fuentes, Sara; 'Jim Bras'; 'Pamela Ammerman'; 'Bill Evanzia'; 'Jack Ritter'; 'Mike Slein'; Waylett Jr, William J.; 'Dave Sullivan'; 'Nora Ruebrook'; 'James Offutt'; 'William R Keller'; 'Don Giles'; 'Jim Bras'; 'Ward Cook'; 'Sheila McNeill'; 'Bill Lockwood'; 'Paula Bozdech-Veater'; Lumme, Dale; 'Doug Crawford'; 'Walter Reese'; 'J.J. Mathews'; 'Tomi Olson'; 'Tim Hunsberger'; Daniels, John; 'Dennis Dickerson'; 'Michael Werlowelski'; 'Johnny F Charles'; 'Roger Bing'; 'Maria-Isabelle Dickey'; 'Joan Mitchell'; 'Bob Wilson'; 'Phelps Hobart'; Bennett, Chris; 'Philip L Dunmire'Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:59 AMSubject: RE: January, 2013 Agenda
An op-ed by Dale Lumme ran in todays UT San Diego:
Abdicating our national and economic security
6 p.m.Jan. 16, 2013
Many Americans breathed a sigh of relief when the outgoing House compromised and agreed to the Senates bill that averted the so-called fiscal cliff. Members of Congress demonstrated they can work together and do what is best for America. But, by only postponing the devastating impact to our national security that will be caused by sequestration, our nations national and economic security is now at risk.
In their pre-election rhetoric, leadership in both the executive and the legislative branches promised that sequestration indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts to discretionary accounts would never happen. They knew the effects would be so damaging, and so unacceptable to the American people that, somehow, an agreement would be met. On the last day possible, the old Congress punted to the new Congress, giving them two months to figure it out. What happened to our executive and congressional leaders who guaranteed they would never let this senseless action happen?
The Department of Defense has been mum on sequestration cuts for the past several months. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did acknowledge the cuts would gut the military, making it incapable of conducting maintenance, training our troops, developing and acquiring new equipment and, most importantly, executing the national security strategy.
Recently, the service departments have finally begun planning on how to implement these cuts. The DOD issued a memorandum to the services telling them to be prepared to take a number of steps to execute sequestration. These measures include furloughing thousands of civilian employees, freezing all civilian hiring, laying off temporary hires and not renewing contracts with term employees. All travel and training will be significantly curtailed. Administrative overhead and facilities programs will also be cut. Because of the long lead time requirement, DOD has approved the cancellation of all third- and fourth-quarter ship and aircraft maintenance activities effective Feb. 16.
All research and development contracts greater than $500 million are slated to be slashed, a severe blow to the future of our war-fighting capabilities. For now, care for our wounded warriors and military pay is safe, as is funding for current wartime operations. However, no guarantees are being made to protect family programs, maintain combat readiness training or to develop the capabilities and requirements for the highly touted pivot to the Pacific revised national security strategy. Naval officials have testified before Congress that the barely adequate force of todays 287 ships would decrease to 230 combatants meaning maintaining freedom of the seas would be problematic. Aviation assets would be cut approximately 20 percent. With such uncertainty, the only thing for sure that we know is that we will be left with a hollow force. The nations combat readiness and homeland security threat level preparations would be reminiscent of but worse than the hollow forces of the 1970s and 90s.
Not only is our nations security faced with sequestration, we still do not have an operating budget for fiscal 2013. Congress instead opted to issue yet another continuing resolution (CR), which keeps the lights on for the federal government until March 27, at which time either a 2013 budget is approved, another CR is passed or we face another government shutdown. The second and third of those options severely affect the economic security of our nation. The services know they will have less funding in 2013 they just dont know how much money will be available three or six or nine months from now. To quote our commander-In-chief: Its absurd. Yes, it is absurd, and irresponsible that our nations security is held captive to partisan politics.
The very first responsibility of Congress mentioned in the United States Constitution is to provide for the common defense. The first defined responsibility of the president is that of commander-in-chief. Clearly, the governing instrument of our nation places great emphasis on our nations defense and solidly places this responsibility with the legislative and executive branches. For most of our nations issues, healthy debate is an effective means for government to carry out its role in our society. However, the structure of government such as ours is that we are able to democratically elect leaders that, once in office, are bound to a constitutional construct. The respective sides, executive and legislative or Democrat and Republican must execute their responsibilities they swore to defend, as defined in the Constitution.
Without a budget, not only can the services not execute to the requirements today, they cannot properly plan for tomorrow. The security of our nation, and providing the resources the men and women of our armed forces need to do their job, should never be a partisan issue. But our elected officials have decided that our nations security has been and will be part of the partisan debate. For either side, there is nothing to gain, but America has much to lose including both national and economic security.
Lumme, a retired Navy captain and naval aviator, is national executive director of the Navy League of the United States.
Navy League of the United States
Register now to attend the 2013 Sea-Air-Space Exposition - the premiere exposition for the U.S. Sea Services - from April 8 - 10 at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in the National Harbor. Now in its 48th year, this edition promises to be better than ever!
From: Fuentes, Sara
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 1:57 PM
To: Fuentes, Sara; 'Jim Bras'; 'Pamela Ammerman'; 'Bill Evanzia'; 'Jack Ritter'; 'Mike Slein'; Waylett Jr, William J.; 'Dave Sullivan'; 'Nora Ruebrook'; 'James Offutt'; 'William R Keller'; 'Don Giles'; 'Jim Bras'; 'Ward Cook'; 'Sheila McNeill'; 'Bill Lockwood'; 'Paula Bozdech-Veater'; Lumme, Dale; 'Doug Crawford'; 'Walter Reese'; 'J.J. Mathews'; 'Tomi Olson'; 'Tim Hunsberger'; Daniels, John; 'Dennis Dickerson'; 'Michael Werlowelski'; 'Johnny F Charles'; 'Roger Bing'; 'Maria-Isabelle Dickey'; 'Joan Mitchell'; 'Bob Wilson'; 'Phelps Hobart'; Bennett, Chris; 'Philip L Dunmire'
Subject: RE: January, 2013 Agenda
Wanted to share a couple of news articles below. Everyones really getting into panic mode over sequestration now, as it looks like Republicans now are willing to let sequestration happen, or are assuming that Democrats want it less than they do, especially since this new class of Republicans seems to care more about spending reductions than national security. This is very bad, especially since, as directed by OMB, the Department of Defense did not start planning until December, and may have lost the momentum to pressure Congress for caps, allowing them to prioritize their cuts. This may be how we alter our Call to Action message and op-eds---at least allow the Department to prioritize, dont do the uniform cuts with no regard to national security. Here is some interesting reading for you below; the third article has quotes from various Republicans willing to let sequestration happenif theyre on your target list, please reach out to them again.
In other newswe will be sending the blast out to Council Presidents (and you, RPs, and APs) on Monday, in case you receive questions about it.
Republicans Were Right: The Pentagon Should Have Sketched Out Budget Cuts
By telling defense officials not to specify sequestration cuts, the White House put them in a terrible position.
By Sara Sorcher
Updated: January 17, 2013 | 5:21 p.m.
January 17, 2013 | 3:21 p.m.
Over the past year, even as fiscal-cliff anxiety mounted, the White House had a message for every federal agency: Dont plan for the sequester. The administration didnt want a debate over how it should trim spending to distract from the debate about whether lawmakers would force it to do so. Budget offices across the government set the question aside.
At the time, Republicans said this was ludicrous. They were especially incensed about the failure to plot out defense cuts, which, done poorly, could compromise national security. In August, for instance, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon grumbled that a concrete plan would give the Pentagon time to make safer reductions and build political will for compromise, because people would see how $500 billion in cuts would affect their jobs and districts. At the witness table, Jeff Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, refused to bite. Congress should reduce the deficit and end the sequester, he insisted, not spend time moving around rocks at the bottom of the cliff to make for a less painful landing.
Republicans were right. Here we are with less than two months before sequestration, which more and more members of Congress now say they might support. The Pentagon should have planned for this. By failing to do so, it missed a chance to bargain with members for flexibility to make reductions, and it lost a major political bargaining chip.
Now the Defense Department appears to be scrambling. Last week, it imposed a civilian hiring freeze, curtailed training, and canceled maintenance for ships. It ordered each armed service to provide detailed plans for sequestration within weeks. They went from the guidance that said, Dont even think about planning to a new realization: Why are we so far behind? says David Berteau, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Had officials broadcast the details earlierincluding a possible furlough of virtually all 800,000 Defense Department civiliansthey could have induced a little more urgency in lawmakers, he says.
Not that the Pentagon has been silent. Under White House orders not to plan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spent a year calling the cut a doomsday that would result in a brigade without bullets. On top of the $450 billion the department already agreed to trim, Panetta has said, sequestration would be like shooting ourselves in the head. But that alarmism wasnt helpful, says William Hartung, a defense analyst at the Center for International Policy. Panetta seemed like he was trying to head off any additional defense cutsan increasingly unrealistic prospect. Instead, officials should have done a better job explaining how sequestration would force them to cut uniformly, without regard to how important a particular program was, Hartung says.
Currently, the Pentagon is forced to take 9 percent from nearly every line item in its budgetfrom F-35 jets to Army recruiting. But Congress could have given the Pentagon a budget cap instead: In this scenario, the department would have some flexibility to choose whether it wanted to spend more on training, weapons, or commissaries, as long as the cuts added up. Instead of screaming from the rooftops about how damaging it was going to be, maybe they could have gotten better tools to manage their cutbacks, Hartung says.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. The White House did not want agencies to waste time planning unlikely cutsor to panic workers during an election season. But if hundreds of thousands of workers had received notices that they could be laid off, they would have constituted a formidable pressure group on Capitol Hill. Now, even Panetta worries that lawmakers wont care enough about this fiscal years $45 billion in defense cuts to lift the automatic reductions in domestic spending, too. They may have made their peace with austerity. I thought last year that sequestration was so nuts that there wasnt a chance that it would happen, Panetta told reporters last week. This issue may now be in a very difficult place, in terms of [members] willingness to confront what needs to be done to de-trigger sequester.
The Pentagon quietly began limited internal planning for sequestration, under direction from OMB, in December. At this point, Panetta said last week, we simply cannot sit back now and not be prepared for the worst.
The Pentagon would do well to take Republicans advice: Determine, quickly, how many civilians would need to be furloughed and alert them. Inform industry about specific cutbacks so that they too can issue warnings about layoffs. Allowing the workers and contractors to panic is the last ammunition the Pentagon has to get Congress to compromise or change the law. Specificity now may be too little, too late, but, as Berteau says, it would certainly make it hard to ignore that its going to happen.
Officials: Navy Prepping For Both Year-Long CR, Sequestration
Posted on InsideDefense.com: January 17, 2013
The Navy is in the midst of planning how the service would deal with both a year-long continuing resolution and sequestration, a looming threat that would irrevocably harm the service should it happen, top service officials said today at the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium in Arlington, VA.
Navy Under Secretary Robert Work said on Jan. 17 at the conference that "anybody who tells you that he thinks he knows what's going to happen is crazy," but nevertheless added that he anticipates that the Navy will reach a deal on sequestration but will get a year-long CR, which caps spending at fiscal year 2012 levels and bans new starts.
The Navy is preparing for both, Work said.
"We are planning as if sequestration occurs and year-long CR occurs, and if that happens, ladies and gentlemen, the world as we know it will end," he said. "There's no way to keep the Navy and Marine Corps whole if that happens. No way."
Speaking earlier in the day, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the service is gearing up for the worst and drawing up plans in the event that both sequestration and the CR hit with full force.
"We've taken some actions and got a lot of attention about trying to slow the burn rate, to slow the rate we're spending money, so that should either or both of these occur, we won't have to make all the reductions in the very pressing period of time that we would have to," Mabus said. "We're trying to make those as reversible as possible, trying to make sure that whatever we do today, if the issues are solved and if the budget is passed, if sequestration is not triggered, that we have not done something irreparable to a program or to the entire department." -- Dan Taylor
The $1.2 trillion spending sequester was once hailed as a political win for Democrats and as a point of leverage for the White House in the fiscal-cliff negotiations. Republicans, however, now see the automatic spending cuts as a possible trump card as they prepare for a series of budget showdowns.
Congressional Republicans who are committed to reining in federal spending appear willing to let the sequester cuts begin to take effect this year. Of all the things Im pretty sure of in life, the sequester will happen, says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Our team wants to see spending cuts.
Cuts are scheduled to begin on March 1, following a two-month delay agreed to as part of the fiscal-cliff legislation orchestrated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). If implemented as planned, the sequester would cut about $100 billion from the federal budget in 2013.
Republican sentiment toward sequestration has shifted since the idea was included in the 2011 debt-ceiling agreement. Many GOP lawmakers still harbor deep concerns over the composition of the cuts, which would disproportionately fall on the defense budget. However, having acknowledged that the GOP alternatives to the sequester are unlikely to be approved by the Democratic Senate or signed into law by President Obama, Republicans seem prepared to accept enforceable spending cuts wherever they can get them.
Its also an eleventh-hour strategy. House Republicans have already voted twice to replace the defense cuts with cuts to other portions of the federal budget. Clearly, we dont think the way the sequester is set up will be helpful to national security or the defense industry, a House leadership aide says. But we are committed to cutting spending in the federal government. So were not turning back on that.
That view is widely shared by House conservatives. Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, would rather see the defense cuts replaced with domestic discretionary cuts but strongly opposes doing away with the sequester altogether. At the end of the day, we need to make cuts, he says. And they have to be real cuts.
Representative Paul Broun (R., Ga.), a former Marine Corps reservist and Navy officer, agrees, adding that his opposition to further defense cuts would not prevent him from supporting sequestration absent a better alternative. Im very unhappy, especially as a member of the military, that wed be having any more defense cuts, he says. But if the sequestration does occur, then Ill support those cuts. I think its necessary to make those real kinds of cuts, and then hopefully we can restore military spending and offset it with other spending cuts elsewhere.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), for his part, recently told the Wall Street Journal that Republicans willingness to accept the sequester would reinforce their position in the upcoming budget debate, which will include the debt ceiling and sequestration as well as the continuing resolution that expires at the end of March. It is as much leverage as were going to get, he said.
Boehner explained that it was the White House, not Republicans, who were eager to discuss the prospect of replacing the sequester. They were always counting on us to bring it to the table, he said.
Indeed, Republicans may be better positioned to prevail in a fight over keeping the sequester than in a fight over the debt limit, which carries considerable risk to the economy. While severe, the consequences of sequestration would be far more manageable than a default on the national debt. A senior GOP aide notes that sequestration doesnt have the cliff-like finality of default and could be more easily dealt with retroactively through legislation to restore defense spending.
The White House, meanwhile, has said it opposes the sequester but would consider replacing it only with a balance of spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans scoff at the idea. The president could start by helping us find ways to responsibly deal with the problem, but thats not happening, says the House leadership aide. Were certainly not replacing [the sequester] with tax hikes. Thats a nonstarter. That debate is over.
Norquist argues that letting the sequester or a package of alternative spending cuts of equal value take effect as planned would be a significant win for Republicans. Its a real spending cut, and it draws blood on the other side, he says. And if Democrats dont like it, say, Fine, then write down how you do it and get the goddamn Senate to pass it, but dont whine and tell me not to do anything.
That outcome would put Democrats in an awkward position, forcing them to oppose a policy that originated with the White House and that was once widely believed to have strengthened its hand for future budget talks. Following passage of the debt-ceiling bill in August 2011, leading Democrats such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) hailed the sequesters defense cuts, which they predicted would help them exact GOP concessions on taxes. But in 2013, the sequester remains, and Republicans are willing for it to take effect and now see it as helping them exact concessions from Democrats on spending.
Republicans are fortunate to be in the position they are in, Norquist adds. They could have easily squandered the opportunity by trying to replace, rather than delay, the sequester during the fiscal-cliff negotiations. Mitch McConnell saved our bacon, he says. Nothing good would have come from addressing [sequestration and the fiscal cliff] at the same time. They could have slipped in a tax increase to cover for pieces of it, hidden some awful things inside a big deal.
Still, not all Republicans are on board with the idea of letting sequestration take effect. I think there are some members of our conference who are ready to accept sequestration, says Representative Steve Womack (R., Ark.). Im not ready to accept it at this point. I think it would be devastating to our capacity to project power from a defense perspective.
Representative Tim Huelskamp (R., Kans.) says he supports the sequester as written but doubts that GOP leadership will let it take effect. Well, they couldnt accept it two weeks ago, he says, in reference to the fiscal-cliff agreement. The folks that voted for that deal in August 2011, you cant find many of them who agree with what they passed. Id like to see if theyd support any cuts.
Sequestration will be widely discussed this week at the House Republican retreat in Williamsburg, Va. Although many Republicans once vocally opposed the defense cuts, there is a sense among GOP lawmakers that they will fare better in future fights if they stick together on the sequester. I dont know how it will all be dealt with, a GOP insider says. What unites all these issues is our commitment to cutting spending in Washington.
Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review.
House GOP seeing sequester, not debt ceiling, as fight to pick
By Billy House and Chris Frates
10:37 AM ET
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Republicans at a closed-door retreat in Williamsburg were weighing a short-term increase in the countrys borrowing limit, giving all sides time to work on a broader fiscal plan in March that would include substantial spending cuts.
Sometimes youve got to lay down a sacrifice bunt, said Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida about the debt ceiling increase. He said there was a realization among his House GOP colleagues that they had to be ready to deal when negotiations began.
That strategy would represent an about-face for a Republican conference that has now repeatedly denied Speaker John Boehner the support he needed to strike compromises with Democrats.
But a debt-limit fight is one many leading Republicans including former Speaker Newt Gingrich were loudly warning against. Gingrich and others have argued that Republicans should reserve what capital they have for negotiations they stand a greater chance of winning, including on legislation that funds the government, reduces spending, and unwinds the coming across-the-board cut known as sequestration.
And it appears clear that even some of the more conservative House Republicans are starting to agree.
We have no interest in shutting down government. We dont have to, said Republican Rep. John Fleming. The sequestration goes into effect by law and I dont think the president is going to want the kind of cuts any more than we do. So were on equal footing now.
Ryan, offering reporters a general rundown on the private talks on spending and budget issues that Speaker John Boehner and rank-and-file House Republicans were holding in a nearby building here, provided no details about the debt-limit offer they were considering. He said it was one of a number of options for proceeding on the various fiscal issues ahead that were being discussed.
The country hit the legal limit on its borrowing on Dec. 31, and Treasury is using extraordinary measures to manage the governments payments. But the United States is expected to exhaust its ability to use those accounting steps as early as Feb. 15 or as late as March 1. A default could lead to a downgrade of the countrys credit rating and throw financial markets worldwide into chaos.
While some Republicans have wanted to use the debt-limit fight to force spending cuts, Obama is taking a tough line, accusing the GOP of putting the full faith and credit of the United States on the line and saying he will not negotiate over the issue.
Congress also must deal with the sequestration cuts in March and another measure to keep government funded when the current stopgap spending bill expires March 27.
Our goal is to make sure our members understand all the deadlines that are coming, all the consequences of those deadlines that are coming, in order so that we can make a better informed decision on how to move and how to proceed, Ryan said.
And as part of that, he said, We also have to recognize the realities of the divided government we have the divided government moment we have.
For House Republicans, the spending and budget issue is the most important fight to have, Ryan said. We think that the worst thing for the economy is for this Congress and this administration to do nothing to get debt and deficits under control.
CQ NEWS POLICY
Jan. 4, 2013 6:31 p.m.
Fiscal Cliff Law Gives Defense a $15 Billion Break on Sequester
By John M. Donnelly, CQ Roll Call
The blow of sequestration to the defense budget would be softened considerably under the new fiscal cliff law, according to House and Senate aides and a leading budget expert.
If sequestration occurs, it could cost the Defense Department less than $50 billion in fiscal 2013, experts said. Thats not an insignificant hit, even in the context of a nearly $650 billion budget for war and other defense programs. But its some $15 billion less than the $65.6 billion subtraction that the military budget would have faced if the 2011 debt ceiling law had not been changed this week.
The Pentagon is absolutely better off, said Richard Kogan, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who previously served in senior positions at the Office of Management and Budget and the House Budget Committee. Aides in the House and Senate with expertise on appropriations matters said they concur with his conclusions.
Of course, with the onset of sequester delayed by two months under the new law, the Pentagon would have seven, instead of nine, months left in fiscal 2013 to apply the cuts.
Even among budget experts, there is some disagreement over how exactly the new law would affect the size of the sequester. In practice, only one source will determine how it will work: the White House Office of Management and Budget. An official there did not reply to a request for feedback.
But there is an emerging consensus that even if the worst comes to pass for the Pentagons budget, it wont be as bad as it was going to be before lawmakers and the White House struck their fiscal deal on New Years Eve.
The spending reductions occur along two tracks.
The first is the sequestration required by the 2011 debt ceiling law (PL 112-25). That is set to occur because Congress did not secure $1.2 trillion in savings, as stipulated in the law.
Until this week, this sequestration mechanism was poised to slash the defense budget by $54.7 billion, starting on Jan. 2, with the same amount coming out of non-defense programs.
Now, as a result of the new fiscal cliff law, the effective date of a potential sequestration has moved to March 1 and the total to be subtracted has gone down to $42.7 billion for defense, as well as the same amount for other programs.
The defense programs affected by the $42.7 billion cut would encompass the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies, nuclear weapons, war spending and other programs in the so-called 050 budget category.
The subtraction would affect these programs, plus unobligated balances from prior years, in equal percentage cuts across all programs, although the president has exempted military personnel spending.
The second set of cuts is separate and independent from sequestration, according to Kogan and the Capitol Hill aides. These additional cuts are required to enforce budget caps that were first set in law in 2011 and then changed under the fiscal cliff deal.
The amount appropriated for defense in the current stopgap spending law is $556.9 billion, which is $10.9 billion more than the $546 billion cap set in the 2011 law for the base defense budget. War funding under the Overseas Contingency Account was excluded from the caps.
To get under that cap, administration officials had been anticipating a cut of $10.9 billion to their base budget for defense.
Instead, the new law rewrites the rules. Rather than capping strictly defense budgets, it set new caps on a larger set of programs known as security initiatives, a category that includes the Defense Department, Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the State Department, to name the biggest budgets affected.
The new law places the cap for security programs at $684 billion. By contrast, the comparable figure in the stopgap spending law is $690.8 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
So the new law requires a subtraction of $6.8 billion from this larger security category. The defense share of that $6.8 billion will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion, Kogan said without having done the exact calculations.
An additional cut of about $5 billion amounts to less than half the $10.9 billion cut to defense that would have been required under the old law.
So now the [defense share of the] cut to hit the caps is notably smaller maybe half as much, maybe $5 billion, Kogan said. And theyre also better off because the supercommittee sequester is $12 billion smaller under the new law, he added.
As with the other sequestration, the cap enforcement cuts would have to come in equal measure across all programs. But military personnel are exempt, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is also a part of the security category, is also exempt.
The cap enforcement mechanism kicks in March 27, nearly a month after sequestration would have taken effect assuming Congress does not find enough savings to delay sequestration again for some period of time. And if Congress enacts a different level of appropriations before then, the cap enforcement cuts would be different.
Paul Krawzak, Chuck Conlon and Megan Scully contributed to this report.
- Executive Branch
- Hagel Would Bring Outsiders Perspective to Tighter Defense Budget
- Fiscal Cliff Law Gives Defense a $15 Billion Break on Sequester
- Inhofe to Panetta: Show us Impact of Cuts (PDF)
- Planning Documents: Defense Department | Air Force | Army | Navy (PDFs)
CQ NEWS POLICY
Jan. 18, 2013 11:44 a.m.
Pentagon Comptroller Forced to Take 'Educated Guesses' on Fiscal 2014 Budget
By Megan Scully, CQ Roll Call
With no official topline budget figure for either this year or next, and uncertainty about whether the militarys coffers will be hit by sequestration or other deep cuts, Pentagon officials are taking educated guesses as they assemble their fiscal 2014 budget proposal, according to the departments top number-cruncher.
At this point in the budget process, the Pentagons budget office would ordinarily be in the last throes of the yearlong budget drill, verifying numbers and analyses and making any last-minute changes in anticipation of the White Houses governmentwide budget release in early February. This year, however, the Obama administration is expected to send its spending proposal to the Hill later than usual, thanks to a confluence of events that have thrown the budget-planning process into a tailspin.
I guess you just have to smile and say, We have to get through this somehow, but it is an extraordinary period, Pentagon comptroller Robert F. Hale said in an interview.
The delaying events include the March 1 sequestration deadline and the March 27 expiration of the continuing resolution (PL 112-175), which currently is funding the federal government at fiscal 2012 levels. In the coming weeks, President Obama also will decide on troop levels in Afghanistan a decision that will dictate the size and details of the militarys war budget, or overseas contingency operations accounts.
Hale, who considers himself an optimist, is hopeful there will be a deal to avert across-the-board sequester cuts and some sort of an agreement on fiscal 2013 spending that better meets the departments priorities than the current CR.
Top defense and military leaders, however, arent taking any chances and are publicly pushing for Congress to both resolve fiscal 2013 spending and de-trigger sequestration, which would carve about $500 billion from the militarys accounts over the next nine years.
The lack of congressional action leads to uncertainty that is preventing good management and causing enormous concerns in our civilian workforce, not to mention making it very difficult to complete a FY14 Presidents budget request, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said in a written response to a query from CQ Roll Call.
While much of the uncertainty can be blamed on partisan squabbling on Capitol Hill, at least one question mark affecting planning for next year is almost entirely up to the White House: plans for the drawdown of the 66,000 troops remaining in Afghanistan.
The size of the force, as well as the types of units that will remain in the country throughout the fiscal year, will ultimately determine the size and scope of the overseas contingency operation request, which is an addendum to the Pentagons base budget.
Weve tried to get as ready as we can, but theres only so much you can do until you know the troop level assumptions, Hale said. We have done, I would call them, straw man budgets.
Indeed, as the Pentagon tries to plan its sprawling fiscal 2014 budget, the release date for which has not yet been set, there are more variables than certainties.
For one, the fact that there are not yet any set spending levels for the current spending year will affect decisions made for fiscal 2014. The enactment earlier this month of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill (PL 112-239)helps guide Pentagon decision-making, Hale said. But the absence of an actual spending bill makes planning tough.
Were trying to say, Hey, heres where Congress was, to the extent we know that, and how would we react on everything from ship retirements to Tricare fees and a whole lot of things in between, Hale said.
Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff deal (PL 112-240) reached earlier this month changed budget caps, which will ultimately affect the Pentagons topline for next year. But the Defense Department has not yet received a final number from the White House.
And then theres the possibility of much deeper cuts next year, whether through sequestration or as part of a deficit reduction deal a scenario that the Pentagon is not officially planning for, but isnt entirely ignoring either.
When asked whether the Pentagon was wargaming out different possibilities, including weapons systems that could be killed, Hale said department officials havent gone through any formal process.
I wont say that, privately, we havent thought about it, he added.
Hale did signal that any significant cuts to the Pentagons budget would not only affect planning for next year but could also force the department to rewrite its new strategy, which it sent to Capitol Hill last year along with its fiscal 2013 budget request. That
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