Today’s announcement from Secretary Panetta should be considered with one overarching question in mind – how do we protect our country’s national and economic security if an additional $500 billion in defense budget cuts are forthcoming? The discussion today on how DOD will cut $487 billion over ten years beginning in fiscal year 2013 was only the trailer for a motion picture with an unscripted climax.
The failure of the Super Committee to address entitlement program and tax reform as the only viable solutions to the budget crisis leaves voters and the defense industry asking whether Congress is prepared to script a new ending to a flawed first draft. An ending that will properly arm our warfighters and protect our country from adversaries around the world. A conclusion that does not decimate the defense industrial base and put a million American workers out on the street.
We commend Secretary Panetta for the caution and measured approach taken to identify the first set of “priorities and choices” necessary to achieving a fiscal year 2013 plan under the Budget Control Act’s $487 billion defense budget cut. At the same time, we can’t ignore that these cuts will have real consequences on our military and industrial base.
On behalf of the over one million American aerospace and defense workers and 300 million Americans counting on Washington to protect our country, it is our hope that Congress will give equally focused attention to priorities, choices and potentially disastrous outcomes related to sequestration, or anything resembling it.