After witnessing the tortured path of the MEADS project, it is not hard to understand why Congress is gridlocked over agreeing to specific cuts that would avoid and replace sequestration. They could at least start by targeting low-hanging fruit like MEADS, keeping it out of the next continuing resolution and not considering any funding at all for FY 2014.
In addition to the no-defense-cut stand taken by many members of Congress, another problem in finding savings in the Pentagon budget is that the agency's finances are in complete disarray. Panetta acknowledged this in May 2012, saying that the department "is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today" and will not be ready for an audit for another five years. In August 2012, Sens. Tom Coburn, a Republican of Oklahoma, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, introduced legislation that would force the Pentagon to undertake an audit.
On September 22, 2011, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen made it clear that America's greatest menace is neither a terrorist nor another country; instead, it is self-imposed. He said "the single-biggest threat to our national security is our debt." By paring down its bloated budget, the Pentagon can help reduce the national debt and thereby increase U.S. security.
Sometimes sacred cows make the best hamburgers.
- Read the U.S. News Debate: Should Congress Repeal the Scheduled Cuts to Defense Spending?
- Read Christopher Preble: How the Fiscal Cliff Will Affect Foreign Policy Initiatives
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