Home » Budget Industry » SECDEF Ash Carter: Republican Congressional Budget Proposal is ‘A Road to Nowhere’


SECDEF Ash Carter: Republican Congressional Budget Proposal is ‘A Road to Nowhere’

Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on defense posture before the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2015. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also testified during the hearing. DoD screen shot

Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on defense posture before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2015. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also testified during the hearing.
DoD screen shot

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter asked Congress to relieve the Pentagon of the “double whammy” of sequestration budget restrictions and the Republican proposed single year defense plan.

Testifying Wednesday before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Carter termed the recently approved congressional budget plan of increasing Pentagon spending by putting more money in its overseas contingency fund as “a road to nowhere” because it is a single year fix for a multi-year problem.

“Quality ships are not one-year projects,” he said.

The single year approach “does nothing to reduce the deficit” and doesn’t provide a stable multi-year approach” that DoD needs to execute programs such as the Navy’s shipbuilding schedule.

The testimony was the start of the Pentagon’s push back against the Republican proposed budget, a senior defense official told USNI News on Wednesday.

“In his testimony today, Secretary Carter is sowing the seeds for a new multi-year bipartisan deal that would provide critical defense and non-defense funding as outlined in the President’s budget request,” the official said.

Carter agreed with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) that a “nickel and dime approach is not a way to run a proud department.” Carter also seconded her statement that national security was broader than the Defense Department and the nation needed “to think large about national security” to include education, research and development and other areas not usually identified with it.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added, “Our global aspirations are exceeding our resources” and the military is on “the bottom edge” of being able to execute the national security strategy as written.
He said even without further rounds of cuts the United States “will have less influence” around the world and its forces “will be further away and less ready than we need to be” to respond to crises.

Questioned about flashpoints from the Middle to Europe to the Pacific and Arctic, Carter said to provide a “humanitarian safe zone” in Syria “we would need to fight” to secure the space from the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the so-called Islamic State and “we would need to fight to hold” it against both.

Dempsey said it was militarily practical but required “a significant political decision” to undertake. Carter said ISIS, another name for the Islamic State, remains a continuing threat and it is a movement that can inspire others far removed from Iraq and Syria to commit acts of violence.

Carter called “Iran’s behavior … concerning” from the Persian Gulf to Yemen and of great issue with American partners and allies, such as Israel, in the region. Later, he added in answer to a question that partners and allies needed to step up burden sharing to help provide security in the Middle East.

In Afghanistan, he told the panel its security forces are performing well. “Our strategy has paid off” and the United States, its allies and the Afghan government are close to achieving their strategic goals. Although the administration has said it intends to remove almost all American forces from the country by the end of 2016, Carter said the Defense Department and White House are “constantly assessing progress” and has adjusted timetable in the past as conditions warranted.

“North Korean behavior continues to be provocative,” he said.
“We need to be ready every day” and the United States “cannot trim our presence” on the peninsula.

“China’s behavior [such as building runways on disputed islands and reefs] in the South China Sea is something we oppose.” Militarizing the situation “is not the way to settle long-term territorial disputes” over the Spratly islands, claimed by China, the Philippines and other nations.

But because of China’s actions there, “the Philippines [and other nations] want to do more with us” and “demonstrate the need for the re-balance” to the Pacific.

On the Russian-backed separatists operations in eastern Ukraine, Carter said they appear “prepared for another round of military action” in violation of a February agreement establishing a cease-fire. He did not say the United States would send lethal military aid to the Ukrainian government to block a new offensive.

The “combination of sanctions and falling oil prices” were having an effect on Russia. “It is the weight if the European sanctions” that Russia is feeling because of the volume of trade between the European Union and Moscow, he said.

Carter admitted that the United States is “late in recognizing” the economic and strategic importance of the Arctic and Russia’s intentions there.

“We really just got started on this two years ago,” Dempsey said in what was likely his last appearance before the subcommittee. Dempsey’s term as chairman expires in October.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford has been nominated to succeed him.

  • Curtis Conway

    “China’s behavior [such as building runways on disputed islands and reefs] in the South China Sea is something we oppose.” Militarizing the situation “is not the way to settle long-term territorial disputes” over the Spratly islands, claimed by China, the Philippines and other nations.

    OK . . . The Chinese are militarizing the region and their solution to their problem is to introduced overwhelming force, and they are acting upon that plan, and achieving it.
    So, you can say ‘militarizing the situation’ is not the answer all you want to, but guess what . . . the Chinese are! So are their neighbors. Look at their respective defense budgets. So, this region is going to heat up, or we will help to control the temperature a bit.

    We must increase presence. The International Maritime Operations Center (IMOC) is an excellent idea to bring all parties together. The “Standing Maritime Force ASEAN” is another idea whose time has come. US Navy Expeditionary Command patrols with Mk VI or PCs is another good idea ported out of Palawan Island, P.I. The Expeditionary Command patrols could happen rather quickly. The P.I. can help foot the cost. SEABEES and/or REDHORSE units can perform/supervise the construction activity on Palawan, and some of the other Islands. The Chinese are standing up two 10,000 ton Coast Guard Cutters. Can you imagine this behemoth (as large as an Aegis Cruiser) steaming up to you and asking you why you are fishing in THEIR waters, when you are in your own Economic Exclusion Zone?

    However, just saying “we cannot militarize the region” while everyone stands up forces in the region is being “On a River in Egypt”. Open your eyes, plan SOMETHING, and execute! The PACOM office ought to be all over this.

  • sferrin

    Carter admitted that the United States is “late in recognizing” the
    economic and strategic importance of the Arctic and Russia’s intentions
    there.

    “We really just got started on this two years ago,”

    That amount of incompetence is deplorable.

  • OleSalt1

    Time to listen carefully to the Secretary of Defense Carter’s forewarnings before it is too late. Curtis Conway made some very striking observations. Time to GET REAL USA before your adversaries become serious threats and overtake you. Watch out for China & Russia’s ambitions in territorial expansions in East Asia and Eastern Europe respectively. These 2 autocratic countries are becoming the “Dominating Axis of Greed”, whilst the USA and NATO still hoping against hope that we will live in a peaceful world. A repeat of WW II Hitler’s power & greed?

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hal-donahue/ Hal Donahue

    Republicans remain unable or unfit to govern. While blanket cuts protect politicians, they damage the nation badly cutting FAR more bone than fat

  • Ed

    So how is this the Republicans fault. The Commander in Chief stuffed the poison pill of Sequestration down their throats. At any time he could have gone to congress and asked for funding to be restored. He wouldn’t because his base wants free cell phones and free health care.

  • Pingback: SECDEF Ash Carter: Republican Congressional Budget Proposal is ‘A Road to Nowhere’ | Peace and Freedom()

  • Secundius

    Union Brigadier General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, Sr., the Original Bean-Counter. Would be proud of this Republican Congress…

  • Pingback: U.S. Counterterrorism at Risk()