Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, told a Senate Committee yesterday that deep budget cuts in the Defense Department are damaging our ability to respond to threats around the world, according to Reuters;
Dempsey told lawmakers that if the across-the-board cuts, which are known as sequestration, continue as required by law at a pace of $52 billion a year for the next decade, it would continue to erode military preparedness.
“We will not be able to find the money we need to achieve the level of sequestration cuts without a dramatic impact in our readiness,” Dempsey told lawmakers.
He said reductions in the size of the military force eventually would help lower costs and enable the services to improve their readiness. But at that point “you’re dealing with a smaller force … I think too small.”
Well, I have a couple of things to say about that; first, well, duh! Secondly, the President during the debates before the election assured the American people that sequestration wasn’t going to happen – those were his exact words. Yet, here we are, staring down the maw of massive cuts.
In fact, as late as March, Leon Panetta, then-Secretary of Defense, was telling the media that he wasn’t making any preparations for sequestration because he was certain that it wasn’t going to happen. I guess if the Defense Department had started planning for this instead of just taking big last minutes whacks at personnel cuts, they might have been able to save some essential spending – but at the Defense Department, their first knee-jerk reaction to budget cuts is to cut personnel costs. It’s always been that way, it’s not a recent occurrence, Personnel is the easiest thing to cut without putting much thought into it.
During the Clinton Administration, they started paying people to get out of the military. After a year or so, they realized that they’d let too many people go, and started sending out letters asking us to come back. Yeah, fat chance.
So where was Dempsey when all of this coming around the corner? Smiling and nodding his head along with the civilians. And he’s still doing it. He can go to his beach house on Nag’s Head and smile and nod at the seagulls for all the good he’s doing the Defense Department now.