Avoid Sequestration, Carter Urges Lawmakers

The specter of budget sequestration is generating a climate of fear and uncertainty by threatening to disrupt the defense industry and undermine military capability, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Aug 1. He urged “action now” to prevent sequestration from taking effect in January. “The American people, our allies, partners, friends, and potential foes the world over need to know we have the political will to implement the defense strategy that we’ve put forward,” he told the lawmakers. Sequestration would prevent this, he asserted. It would introduce “senseless chaos” into the management of more than 2,500 defense investment programs and create waste and lasting disruptions, he said. Civilian personnel, who do everything from maintaining weapons to conducting audits, would likely face unpaid furloughs. Military families and retirees would have to endure cuts in base support services and medical services, he warned. Reductions to overseas contingency operations funding and money for training would chip away at troops’ preparation and safety, he said. Carter appeared before the committee with Jeff Zients, the White House’s acting budget director. (Carter’s written statement) (Zients’ prepared testimony)