Our National Security Depends On Our Military Being Fully Funded

Former Secretary Of Defense James Mattis On Sequestration: ‘In The Long Term, It Is The Budget Caps … That Impose The Greater Threat To The Department And To National Security’


Former Secretaries Of Defense: ‘Without Relief From The BCA Caps, Our Air, Land, And Sea Fleets Will Continue To Erode’, A ‘Real Danger That It Would Hollow Out The Force,’ ‘Irresponsible’ And ‘Outrageous’

JAMES MATTIS, Former Secretary of Defense: “In the long term, it is the budget caps mandated in the Budget Control Act (BCA) that impose the greater threat to the Department and to national security. BCA-level funding reverses the gains we have made in readiness and undermines our efforts to increase lethality and grow the force. Without relief from the BCA caps, our air, land, and sea fleets will continue to erode. BCA caps obstruct our path to modernization, and continue to narrow the technical competitive advantage we presently maintain over our adversaries.” (Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Letter to Sens. McCain and Reed, 9/08/2017)

  • FORMER SEC. MATTIS: “Our military remains capable, but our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare: air, land, sea, cyber, and space. Under frequent continuing resolutions and sequesters, budget caps, our advantages continue to shrink. The combination of rapidly changing technology, the negative impact on military readiness resulting from the longest continuous stretch of combat in our Nation’s history, and insufficient funding have created an overstretched and underresourced military.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/06/2018)

LEON PANETTA, Former Obama Secretary of Defense: “In my last days as defense secretary earlier this year [2013], I made one final effort on Capitol Hill to persuade the leadership of Congress not to let sequestration happen. I described the serious impact on defense readiness and the real danger that it would hollow out the force.” (Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Op-Ed, The Washington Post, 9/02/2013)

  • FORMER SEC. PANETTA: “These and other effects of sequestration are weakening the United States’ ability to respond effectively to a major crisis in the world beyond the war zone in Afghanistan. To have this happen under any circumstance is irresponsible. To have it happen as the result of a self-inflicted wound is outrageous.” (Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Op-Ed, The Washington Post, 9/02/2013)

MARK ESPER, Secretary of the Army and Nominee for Secretary of Defense: “I think anybody who’s served in business will tell you that steady predictable funding is a key to success because you can manage your workforce, you can organize how you work in ways that are far more efficient than looking at inconsistent and unpredictable funding coming your way.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/16/2019)

  • SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): “On a scale of one to ten, how important is it that we get this budget number?”

SEC. ESPER: “Eleven.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/16/2019)


Former Secretaries Of Defense On Long-Term Continuing Resolutions: ‘Debilitating,’ ‘A Straight-Jacket For The Department Of Defense,’ ‘Long Term CRs Impact The Readiness Of Our Forces And Their Equipment’

ASH CARTER, Former Secretary of Defense: “As I have said before, a continuing resolution is a straight-jacket for the Department of Defense. It prevents us from fielding a modern, ready force in a balanced way, while embracing reform to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is well spent.  It harms our ability to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIL and to confront the many complex national security challenges around the world. Failure to act sends the wrong message to our troops, our allies and our enemies.” (U.S. Department of Defense, Press Release, 12/08/2015)

JAMES MATTIS, Former Secretary of Defense: “Our military have been operating under debilitating continuing resolutions for more than 1,000 days during the past decade. These men and women hold the line for America while lacking this most fundamental congressional support: a predictable budget. Congress mandated—rightfully mandated this National Defense Strategy, the first one in a decade, and then shut down the government the day of its release. Today, we are again operating under a disruptive continuing resolution. It is not lost on me that as I testify before you this morning, we are again on the verge of a government shutdown, or at best, another damaging continuing resolution. I regret that without sustained predictable appropriations, my presence here today wastes your time, because no strategy can survive, as you pointed out, Chairman, without the funding necessary to resource it. Yet we all know that America can afford survival.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/06/2018)

  • FORMER SEC. MATTIS: “Additionally, should we stumble into a yearlong continuing resolution, your military will not be able to provide pay for our troops by the end of the fiscal year. We will not recruit the 15,000 Army soldiers and 4,000 Air Force airmen required to fill critical manning shortfalls. We will not maintain our ships at sea with the proper balance between operations and time in port for maintenance. We will ground aircraft due to a lack of maintenance and spare parts. We will deplete the ammunition, training, and manpower required to deter war, and delay contracts for vital acquisition programs necessary to modernize the force. Further, I cannot overstate the impact to our troops’ morale from all this uncertainty.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/6/2018)

MARK ESPER, Secretary of the Army and Nominee for Secretary of Defense: “Every day that a CR continues is one less day that we can invest in future capabilities and future technologies. At the same time because a CR of course, prohibits new starts. And we are stuck funding, if you will, legacy technologies or legacy equipment and that's just in terms of modernization, Senator. If you look at readiness, manning, equipping, same problems it just gets worse and worse over time. And in many cases you can never make it up.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/16/2019)


Service Leaders: ‘Sequestration And A Continuing Resolution Would Be Devastating To The United States Army,’ ‘CRs Cost The United States Navy’ ‘Sequester Did More Damage To The United States Air Force And Our Ability To Defend The Nation’

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Appropriations in fiscal years 2017-2019 allowed us to restore readiness and invest in new capabilities while meeting our ongoing commitments across the globe…. A full restoration of our readiness will require sustained, sufficient, and predictable funding into the future.” (Gen. Dunford, Statement to the Subcommittee on Defense, U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, 5/08/2019)

GEN. MARK MILLEY, Nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “CRs in general I think are a very ineffective and inefficient use of the taxpayers' dollars and we're all supposed to be stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. We're keenly aware of that. But, with CRs, what ends up happening, as at least my experience has been as the Chief Staff of the Army, is the price points of products and services go up because you can't guarantee your cash flow to the industrial partner that you're working with--commercial partner that you're working with. So, I think CR in general, a one year or one month, is a poor way to do business. Having said that, I think that the CR would have negative impact, in terms of training, manning, and equipping procurement modernization, spare parts, maintenance, and strength, paying benefits, et cetera. I think those are the real tangible pieces but there is an intangible as well which is the message it sends to adversaries, allies and most importantly in my view the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines of the joint force. I think it sends a terrible message to them.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/11/2019)

GEN. JAMES McCONVILLE, Army Chief of Staff: “I think sequestration and a continuing resolution would be devastating to the United States Army. I say this because … we have made great gains in readiness. Those gains in readiness would be reversed. We must modernize the Army right now for great power of competition. We’ve received the funds to do that, that modernization would halt, would have to reduce our end strength, lay off soldiers because we wouldn’t be able to maintain the current end strength we have. And the quality of life for our soldiers would be seriously--and their families, would be seriously impacted if we went back to sequestration and we have a continuing resolution.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/02/2019)

  • MARK ESPER, Secretary of the Army: “Let me just say briefly with regard to modernization, what we call future readiness, as you know, there are restrictions under a CR that limit us from doing two things, new starts and increasing the quantities of munitions among other things. So those are two immediate impacts we face right now with regard to materiel and, again, preparing for conflict. More broadly, because of the fact that we are operating under the CR and we have been now for nearly 6 months, it limits our ability to fund training exercises, to fill seats at our training base, and has an overall impact on the training and readiness of the force.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 3/20/2018)

RICHARD SPENCER, Secretary of the Navy: “Mr. Chairman, I can only echo what Secretary Esper just said and add something on as far as the Navy is concerned. You have heard me speak before what CRs cost the United States Navy since they began: about $4 billion burned in a trash can. But more importantly, we desperately need this new appropriations bill to be set forward. The capital assets and our cycling of maintenance for aviation, surface warfare, undersurface warfare, it is critical, absolutely critical that we get a continuous form of funding in order to manage the industrial base to put us back on a footing to be out there on the seas protecting that that we should do.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 3/20/2018)

HEATHER WILSON, Former Secretary of the Air Force: “Mr. Chairman, first, with respect to sequester, the sequester in the Budget Control Act is still the law of the land. And I would say that sequester did more damage to the United States Air Force and our ability to defend the Nation than anything our adversaries have done in the last 10 years. We did it to ourselves. We cut 30,000 people out of the Air Force, reduced by 10 fighter squadrons, and weapon system sustainment and the problems that we are having with pilot retention can really be tied directly back to sequester several years ago. With respect to the continuing resolution, we are limited in we cannot have any new starts of programs. So a lot of the programs that are going to take us into the future are just still pending, and we will have to execute those in the last 6 months of the year.” (U.S. House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 3/20/2018)



Related Issues: National Security, Appropriations, America's Military