DOD nominee promises to find budget cut ideas fast

Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama’s nominee as deputy secretary of defense, promised to develop ideas for budget cuts in time to help avoid the "devastating" effects of forced cuts that will come if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction fails in its mandate.

Carter, currently undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Senate Armed Services Committee members that if he is confirmed, he would work closely with Congress to identify cuts and savings that realistically could be implemented – and help avoid the automatic sequestration that will kick in if the super committee fails to pass a plan.  The budget committee, informally called the "super committee" was created as part of the debt ceiling deal with a mandate to agree on $1.5 trillion in federal budget cuts by November. If they fail, automatic cuts will take effect.


Related coverage:

Panetta strongly endorses Carter for deputy secretary post


The recommendations "won’t be final recommendations, but the options that we’re considering,” Carter said.

He warned, more than once, that if the $500-billion-plus, across-the-board automatic cuts to security spending were put in place under the sequestration process, it would be devastating to the military.

“Just the scale of it alone would lead us to have to consider truly Draconian things – abandoning major weapons systems, furloughing civilian employees and abruptly curtailing training because we couldn’t pay for fuel, and so forth,” Carter said. “When we say ‘disastrous,’ that’s the kind of disaster we mean.”

The recommendations Carter said he would propose were originally planned to come from a comprehensive internal review that is currently under way. However, after Carter testified that the review is behind schedule, ranking SASC member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) demanded that recommendations be provided sooner, in time for consideration by the super committee charged with identifying budget cuts.

Carter said that the comprehensive capabilities and mission review, slated to conclude by the end of the summer, may not be finished until the end of the year or later.

“If true, this review would not be available to inform the deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction or Congress generally on how the currently proposed defense spending cuts will affect national security,” McCain said. “This is unacceptable.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.