Sequestration Cuts Would Require Strategy Change

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Unless Congress changes the Budget Control Act, which now requires a return to sequestration-level spending cuts in 2016, the military will need to change its strategy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview broadcast today.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said the Army is drawing down from 570,000 soldiers to 450,000, but he noted that a Pentagon analysis shows sequestration would drive that number to 420,000, and even lower under some circumstances.

Sequestration would leave the military “far less able to do the things that we think the country needs us to do,” Dempsey said.

Meanwhile, he United States continues to face threats from both state actors and nonstate actors, the chairman said. Though he’s concerned about that, he added, the United States still is the most powerful nation in the world by any measure, and is likely to remain so – “unless we -- unless we talk ourselves out of it and legislate ourselves out of it with things like the Budget Control Act.”

Thinking Our Way Through the Future

“What will get us through this is investing in our human capital,” the chairman said, “because we're going to have to think our way through the future, not bludgeon our way through it.”

Dempsey also touched on the cyber domain, noting that the United States does not enjoy the same significant military advantages in that domain that it has in others.

A cyberattack can be disruptive, he said, and also could be destructive to hardware and critical infrastructure. “We don't have an advantage -- it's a level playing field,” he said. “And that makes this chairman very uncomfortable.”

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