Declining Resources, Increased Threats

If the law is not changed and sequester continues as planned, the Air Force may not be able to meet all of the North American Aerospace Command requirements, Army Gen. Charles Jacoby told members of the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. “The ability of NORAD to execute our primary mission is placed at significant risk, given the degradation of US combat Air Force readiness, which hovers at 50 percent,” said Jacoby, who leads NORAD and US Northern Command. Such constrained resources make it challenging to defend the homeland against threats posed by adversaries. Jacoby noted the long-range missile threat posed by North Korea, adding that Iran also is developing advanced missile capabilities faster than expected. In addition, US Southern Command boss Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly said during the same hearing that Hezbollah and Islamic extremist groups continue to operate in Latin America. Iran also has sought “closer ties to the region,” according to a Feb. 26 Pentagon release. Declining budgets also are making it difficult to protect America’s borders against the influx of illegal drugs, said Kelly. “Our operational effectiveness is directly proportional to the number of assets we can put against detection, monitoring, and interdiction operations,” he said. (Jacoby written testimony) (Kelly written testimony)