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Search Tags: readiness
Air Force leaders intend to surpass their share of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's edict to reduce DoD headquarters spending by 20 percent and complete the task several years ahead of schedule. The personnel cuts are part of the service's plan to shrink its size in order to catch up with decades of deferred spending on readiness and modernization.
The Pentagon says its spending plan acknowledges defense spending is on a downward trajectory, and reduces force structure in order to balance other priorities such as readiness. If sequestration stays in place, the calculus will change, Defense officials say.
Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said while the budget agreement adds money back to DoD's overall spending capacity in 2014 and 2015, the deal still doesn't plug holes in the Pentagon's research funding. Kendall estimated R&D funding will drop by as much as 20 percent compared to the department's initial requests.
Top Air Force officials say lower budgets will force them to propose cuts Congress won't like. But if lawmakers insist on protecting politically-favored programs, money will have to come from somewhere else.
The Air Force's acting top official says even if sequestration is repealed, the service has an imbalance between its personnel costs and the money it must spend to keep its force trained and ready. Unfortunately, the Air Force may not have any trouble getting airmen to leave the service voluntarily.
Retired Adm. John Harvey, former commander of the Fleet Forces Command, joins Francis Rose.
Pentagon leaders have spent the past two years warning Congress that sequestration would severely hamper the ability to deploy military forces to contingencies around the world. With no apparent relief in sight from the cuts, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said it's time to start thinking about making the best of a bad situation.
Roughly 680,000 DoD civilians will be forced to take one day off per week without pay between July 8 and the end of the fiscal year as a result of the automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration. Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, told In Depth with Francis Rose the decision wasn't an easy one.
Among the warnings the military's top uniformed officers delivered to the Senate Tuesday: Half of Marine Corps units will fall below readiness standards by the end of the year, the Army will have to curtail training for 80 percent of its ground forces and shipyards are already becoming short-staffed because of DoD's hiring freeze.
Shortfalls in operating accounts would mean military units would be undertrained, underequipped and unable to deploy by the end of fiscal 2013, senior DoD officials predict.