Uncertain Times Necessitate Fiscal Certainty, Dempsey Says
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2013 The Defense Department and the nation face extraordinary fiscal and national security uncertainty, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
At such a time, predictable funding streams are vital to ensure readiness is sustained, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said.
Dempsey testified alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the defense portion of the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal.
While the proposed budget doesn’t address the loss of readiness imposed by fiscal year 2013 funding shortfalls, the chairman said, it does protect defense priorities.
“It keeps the force in balance,” he said. “It supports our forward-deployed operations. It upholds funding for emerging capabilities, notably cyber. It funds those conventional and nuclear capabilities that have proven so essential to our defense. It also lowers manpower costs, reduces excess infrastructure, and makes health care more sustainable.”
It also gives the department more time to adapt to budget cuts, he said.
The joint force is looking to the department and Congress to lead it through “this period of historic fiscal correction,” the nation’s top military officer told the senators.
“This is a defining moment for our military. Our warriors' will to win is undaunted, but the means to prepare to win are becoming uncertain,” the chairman said. “We therefore have an opportunity and an obligation with this and any future budget to restore confidence.”