Panel Asks Congress to Repeal Sequestration

The House Armed Services Committee gathered Tuesday to discuss the 2014 National Defense Panel’s assessment of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. Outgoing HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) has been critical of the QDR itself, but praised the NDP’s assessment as being “an excellent report” during his opening remarks. McKeon has blasted the review as being too political and not solution-oriented enough. In their remarks before the committee Tuesday, former undersecretaries of defense for policy Michele Flournoy and Eric Edelman, both members of the NDP, focused heavily on the detrimental effects of the Budget Control Act of 2011, calling it a ‘“serious strategic mishap’ that has dangerously tied the hands of the Pentagon leadership.” “Sequestration, in our view, is a national security issue,” Flournoy said. “I would call it a threat to national security.” Referencing “Air Force pilots unable to fly sufficient hours to keep up their skills” among a list of things contributing to a “readiness crisis within our armed forces,” the two urged “Congress and the President [to] repeal the Budget Control Act immediately” and return at least to 2012-level defense spending proposals. “Sequestration obviously had a devastating impact on the defense budget, … but if you go back four years and look at what we were planning to spend on defense, we’re not even close,” said Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).