Defending Defense: Sequestration’s Shadow on the U.S. Military and the Defense Industrial Base

 Defending Defense

Defending Defense: Sequestration’s Shadow on the U.S. Military and the Defense Industrial Base

Wednesday, July 25

Sequestration is casting a dark shadow over the future of U.S. national security and the industrial base that provides for it.  The Defending Defense Coalition brings together Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to discuss the dangers of deeper defense cuts on America’s military readiness and defense industry should Congress and the President not act to alter the course of sequestration. 

The Defending Defense Coalition is a joint effort of the Foreign Policy Initiative, the American Enterprise Institute, and The Heritage Foundation to promote a sound understanding of the U.S. defense budget and the resource requirements to sustain America’s preeminent military position in the world.

Full Video:

**RUSH** Transcript of remarks: Click Here

Key Quotes:

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH):

  • “Where we are right now certainly does cast a shadow over our national security, and in my view, this is one of the greatest threats to our national security – that Congress created, that we have a duty to address.  Because the consequences of undermining our national security and creating a national security crisis on top of our fiscal crisis would really be a very detrimental thing for our nation.”
  • “If we do not have a robust defense industrial base, we cannot protect our country... And we are putting that industrial base at risk right now.”
  • “It is not just the large employers which are going are to be hit by this … but its many small employers.  One of the issues that we are going to face is that there are many sole suppliers, small businesses that make just one component that goes into a weapons system that is very important in terms of the protection of our country.”
  • “So make no mistake.  This is not only putting our national security at risk, but it's also going to impact our defense industrial base in a way that harms jobs, but also harms our capacity to make sure that our men and women have the very best when we send them to protect our country.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

  • “Politicians were given the task of cutting 1.2 trillion over a decade out of I don't know how many trillion to pick from over the next decade.  We failed.  I blame me as much as anybody.  I'm not picking on the members of the Super Committee, but the solution that we came up with to deal with our failure is to fire the soldiers. Keep the soldiers.  Fire us.  This is just ass-backwards.”
  • “What I'm not willing to do is to set in motion the destruction of our military capability at a time we need it the most.  I'm not willing to sacrifice modernization that means we could not engage an Iran in the future.  The ability of this country to take the Iranian nuclear program down is very robust.  If sequestration became the law of the land, ten years from now it would be lost.  That's what's at stake.”
  •  “So to my colleagues who say that the Congress is war weary, that we're tired of dealing with all of these money issues and we've got to put defense on the table because we're war weary, I would imagine those who have been fighting this war would find it odd that the reason you're going to freeze defense spending or have to cut the defense budget beyond what it can bear is because you're weary.”

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ):

  • “[T]he point is, we've got to come to a resolution of this issue before the lame duck session because if we do not, the pressure to make a deal in the context of raising all of the tax rates to prevent the fiscal cliff on January 1 will be so great that I'm afraid Defense will end up suffering or we're going to have to end up raising taxes to an extent that would be very, very damaging to the economy.”
  • “If you agree with us that Defense is the number one objective of the Federal Government, that peace through strength is what has kept our country safe and that we can't afford to allow these Draconian cuts to Defense, and the other parts of the budget that would have the cross-cuts, join us in an effort to bring public attention to the issue sufficient that pressure will be brought to bear on our colleagues to find a solution and get the solution done before the lame duck session.”

Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee:

  • “This is the most important fight I've been in here in 20 years.  And the consequences are so great that I don't even want to contemplate them.”
  • “I think that if we do not address this as a serious issue, we who have been elected, and that's Democrats, Republicans, House, Senate, and the President down in the White House, if something isn't done in the next couple of weeks before we go home to tell everybody what a great job we're doing, shame on us.”
  • “So this is a very, very serious situation we find ourselves in.  A lot of times we talk about problems.  This one was created by us.  Can be solved by us.  And we've got our heads buried in the sand and we're just ignoring it.”

Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA):

  • “Over and over again I hear people say, well, we haven't done any defense cuts.  The reality is we talk about these $487 billion of defense cuts that have taken place, but really, over the last few years, we've cut about $800 billion out of the Department of Defense.  Those figures alone were dramatic, not just because of the magnitude of the size, but of the way we did it.”
  • “…our major contractors, they'll hold on.  They'll survive through this.  But it's the smaller sub-tier subcontractors that could drop and go away.  They just don't have the reserves to be able to withstand something like this if it hits.”

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More