Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has already made it clear that the upcoming sequestration cuts currently set to take place in January, which would shave nearly $500 billion from an already-“leaner” military and defense budget, would be practically “unworkable” and a “disaster.” But, even worse than the damage that the cuts themselves will inflict, is the not knowing whether or how those cuts are going to actually take place ahead of time, and thereby being unable to properly and carefully plan for them. In a press conference today, Panetta attested to his department’s difficulty in responding to whatever the new budget will look like without being afforded any real time to do so. Via the WFB:
I’ll take whatever the hell deal they can make right now to deal with sequestration. The problem — the problem now is that they’ve left town and all this has now been put off until the lame-duck session. So, it’s extremely important that when they return after the election, they take steps to deal not just with this issue, but with the larger fiscal cliff issue that this country is facing. We… cannot maintain a strong defense for this country if sequester is allowed to happen, number one. But, very frankly, just the shadow of sequester being out there continually is something that… it basically creates a problem for us as we try to plan for the future. What exactly, you know, what are we going to be facing? How are we going to deal with it? We need stability. You want a strong national defense for this country? I need to have some stability. And that’s what I’m asking the Congress to do. Give me some stability with regards to the funding of the Defense Department.
Just like all of the uncertainty the Obama administration has created for businesses with their many still-being-written-and-dissected regulations, gumming up the works of the private sector, the lack of stability isn’t doing the Defense Department any favors for planning purposes — and I can’t say that I’m any more comfortable with uncertainty in the area of national security than I am with free enterprise.