Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Senate legislators Wednesday that the Defense Department would not be able to fulfill its defense strategy if Congress refuses to fund the department above sequester levels. Hagel said the $495.6 billion budget, released Tuesday, allows DOD to meet the strategy, defend the nation, compensate US troops, and provide the proper training for service members. “These commitments will be seriously jeopardized by a return to sequestration-level spending,” Hagel told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “That is not the military the President and I want for America’s future. I don’t think that’s the military this committee wants for America’s future, but it’s the path we’re on.” He said the President’s Budget seeks $115 billion above the sequester cap in Fiscal 2016 and beyond, but said that’s necessary to meet the strategy outlined in the Quadrennial Defense Review. “The strategic priorities articulated in the QDR represent America’s highest security interests—defending the homeland, building security globally, deterring aggression, and being ready and capable to win decisively against the adversary,” said Hagel.
Two Airmen endured -45 degree temperatures during an Arctic survival course in the far north, where national security experts worry the U.S. is underprepared to counter Russia or China.