Hagel ‘Not Pleased’ About Budget Direction in Congress
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is not pleased about the House Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of the fiscal year 2015 Defense Department budget request, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.
The committee, he said, disregarded many of DOD’s recommendations, including proposing to continue funding for the A-10 Warthog and rejecting a department request to limit military pay and conduct a new round of base realignments and closures.
“Even before the threat of sequestration,” Kirby told reporters, “this department had to -- and was -- making some pretty difficult choices, as we knew we would have to when you come out of over a decade of war.”
The secretary led a budget process this year and used the Quadrennial Defense Review and codification of the new defense strategy to craft the department’s request, Kirby said. This made for tough, difficult and strategic choices that took into consideration the world today and possible future threats.
The budget as submitted calls for finding efficiencies and savings and preserving readiness, the admiral said.
“Without speaking specifically to pending legislation, [Hagel’s] hope is that the Congress will see the wisdom in the strategic choices, the hard decisions that he has made,” Kirby said. “And his expectation is that they’ll be willing to make the same ones.
“I can tell you that the secretary was certainly not pleased by the House Armed Services Committee mark-up of the budget,” Kirby continued. “He … resolutely stands by the budget that we submitted because it was strategic in tone and because it was tied to a defense strategy that made sense.”
Kirby noted the budget process is still in its early phases. A final bill will not emerge from both houses of Congress for months and could change significantly.
“The secretary certainly hopes that when it gets to the Senate and into conference, that the Congress will prove capable of seeing the wisdom, again, in the decisions that we’ve made and being willing to make those same tough choices and putting national security first over parochial interests,” he said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneAFPS)