By Jennifer Rizzo
A House Armed Services Committee member is taking the obscure concept of "sequestration" to the streets, kicking off a nationwide tour Monday to discuss the potential $1 trillion in automatic cuts threatening the defense budget.
"The impact of looming defense cuts would be catastrophic to our military, communities and veterans. If no action is taken by January 1st," Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Virginia, said in a press release. "I look forward to seeing firsthand how sequestration will impact Virginia installations and hear how these cuts will affect local communities."
The Department of Defense already is required to cut $400 billion from its budget as part of an agreement that allowed President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling. The same deal created a congressional "super committee" tasked to find more than a trillion in government savings over the next decade, although no solution was reached. If Obama and Congress cannot come to agreement on where the cuts should come from, another $600 billion would automatically be axed from the defense budget. The automatic cuts are referred to as sequestration.
The "Defending our Defenders" tour, which begins in Chesapeake, Virginia is being billed as a "listening session" where attendants can share their stories, ask questions, and voice their opinions on how massive cuts to the defense budget would impact their communities.
But some see an ulterior motive in the tour - using it as a platform to argue against the cuts.
By Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes
A senior military leader warned Congress Thursday that further budget cuts will mean lost lives in future conflicts.
"There is just a tendency to believe at the end of a war that we will never need ground forces again. I'll tell you that we've never got that right," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army. "We have always required them. We just don't have the imagination to predict when that will be."
Chiarelli was testifying before the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee along with high-level officers from the other services.
"And quite frankly, let's be honest, it has cost us lives," Chiarelli said of cuts in the aftermath of previous wars. "Cost us lives at Kasserine Pass" in Tunisia in World War II," it cost us lives at Task Force Smith in Korea. It cost us lives every single time."
Chiarelli's blunt talk of deadly flesh-and-blood consequences broke free of the usual budget debate on the risk of a "hollowed-out force," and the cost of "modernization." FULL POST