If there is no deal on the deficit by
the new year, the Pentagon will be
dealing with how best to implement
the sizeable cuts for fiscal 2013,
which don’t take effect until a quarter of the way into the year, while
also revising plans for fiscal 2014 to
reflect the additional cuts. The lack
of an actual appropriations bill likely will be little more than background noise for the department’s
While the Pentagon spending bill
could be shelved for the remainder
of this Congress, House and Senate
Armed Services Committee members are holding out hope that the
annual defense authorization bill
will make its way to the White
House by the end of the year.
The House passed its version of
the measure in May, just as the Senate
Armed Services Committee was
marking up its bill. But the Senate
has yet to take up the committee-approved measure, which typically
consumes several days of floor
Lawmakers in both chambers
will spend the weeks leading up to
Election Day in their states and
districts, with Congress adjourned
and legislative matters put on ice
until the lame duck.
Congress has approved — and
the president has signed — a defense
authorization bill every year for the
last half-century, making it a must-pass measure each year. Lawmakers
have in the past overcome scheduling hurdles, partisan divides over the
war, veto threats and even a few
vetoes to get the measure through.
The near certainty that the bill,
which sets Pentagon policy and prescribes defense spending levels, will
be enacted every year gives the armed
services panels more power and credibility than many of the oversight
committees on Capitol Hill.
But this year may prove more
challenging than most. It is unclear
whether lawmakers, returning to
Capitol Hill after an intense elec-
“My sense is that I’m not going to be allowed to go below
182,000 [Marines], so that means my procurement accounts are
going to be hit disproportionately and my ability to reset all that
equipment coming out of Afghanistan. The units that go will be
the most trained and the most ready, but eventually I’ll run out of
capacity. The force that’s left behind will be challenged.”
Gen. James F. Amos
Commandant of the Marine Corps
On the potential impact of sequestration on Marine Corps procurement.
Reuters, Sept. 10
“The army still does the army thing, the police still does its
thing. What it becomes if you don’t coordinate it is 6-year-old
soccer. Everybody just follows the ball. It moves in a blob. We
don’t want that. We want people to play positions and be
ready to respond to each other if they have trouble.”
Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus
Commanding General for I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward
On ensuring coordination between Afghan national security forces as the U.S.
forces drawdown and leave more responsibility in their hands.
San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 4
tion season, will have any desire to
engage in a long debate over
national security issues on the
Senate floor. And, even if it made
its way to the Senate floor, the
House and Senate would then have
to negotiate differences in their
two versions of the bill, and pass a
final conference report.
The question of whether the
defense authorization will fall by
the wayside this year probably
won’t be answered until December.
But it’s clear that Armed Services
Committee leaders in both chambers will fight to get the bill to the
Industry Execs Respond
To Sequestration Queries
Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top
Republican on the Armed Services
Committee, has solicited input from
the country’s largest defense contrac-
tors on the effects of sequestration.
Letters also were sent by Sens. Joe
Lieberman, I-Conn.; Jim Inhofe, R-
Okla.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Kelly
Ayotte, R-N.H.; Lindsey Graham, R-
S.C.; and John Cornyn, R-Texas, all
members of the committee.