The following is a statement from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (Source) from my Tumblr.
The failure of the Congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on deficit reduction is a setback for the country’s efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility while protecting our national security. If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation’s defense.
Despite the danger posed by sequestration, I join the President in his call for Congress to avoid an easy way out of this crisis. Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism, but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.
In my four decades involved with public service, I have never been more concerned about the ability of Congress to forge common-sense solutions to the nation’s pressing problems. Since becoming Secretary of Defense, I have made it clear that the Department has a responsibility to help the country get its fiscal house in order — and we are doing that. I have been leading a strategy-driven effort to achieve the more than $450 billion in cuts over 10 years required by the Budget Control Act. We will move ahead with that plan.
But as Secretary of Defense, my primary responsibility is to protect the security of the nation. The half-trillion in additional cuts demanded by sequester would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned. If implemented, sequester would also jeopardize our ability to provide our troops and their families with the benefits and the support they have been promised. Our troops deserve better, and our nation demands better.
The emphasis in bold, is from my friend Andrea, who added…
Emphasis mine. I know a lot of people would applaud further cuts to the defense budget, but what a lot of people don’t understand is that the first things to be cut are not materiel or training. The cuts will first come from benefits and family programs. I know that even though I don’t qualify for MyCAA (educational training for spouses), I regularly use FMWR(Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation) and ACS (Army Community Services) programs to help me just get through the day some days.
This is the part most people don’t realize when they scream for cuts to defense spending. I don’t care what your opinion on the wars is. That is not, I repeat NOT where spending cuts get made. It’s the FAMILIES that pay. Please, please PLEASE, hear and understand this. The cuts could/would include health care, dental, prescriptions (adding copays, or increasing them) child care, vital when BOTH parents must work, because believe me, we are certainly NOT that well paid. I’ve been very lucky these last years to not need work. My kids are older, out of the expensive phase of diapers, bottles, formula, etc. Even MORE vital when husbands are sent to train, to war, or to schools. Even I am looking to start building a resume and work experience.
Educational programs provided through ACS (Army Community Services, which provide job hunting, resume, adjustment to military life, resource gathering, educating new spouses, and many other vital services), Educational programs for dependents, such as the ability to take proctored exams at our Ed Centers, a benefit we already lost at our last post, not to mention sports and activities that help these kids feel like NORMAL kids with all the moving around, family counseling and outreach programs. They may not sound like much to you, but we depend on their availability. Especially when our husbands are away, be it for field time or deployments, or schools.
Think about who these cuts are really going to hurt before you demand them.