Contingencies and the Strategy

Proposed Pentagon reforms on matters such as pay and benefits, equipment retirements, and other priorities are critical to sustaining the existing defense strategy, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Oversea?s contingency operations dollars are funding operations and maintenance for missions ranging from Africa to the counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria, Carter noted. “It’s committed to the here and now,” he said, and sustaining these operations becomes problematic over the next five years if funding returns to Budget Control Act levels. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said he has submitted his “chairman’s risk assessment” along with the 2016 budget proposal to Congress, which shows “significant risk” to the 2012 defense strategic guidance. If DOD does not get its requested 2016 funding profile, which includes some $4.2 billion in reforms and savings (adding up to $40 billion over the next five years), the current military strategy becomes “unmanageable,” Dempsey warned.