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While the Pentagon's upcoming defense budget supports President Obama's defense strategy, albeit with additional risk, a more worrisome and possibly dangerous future lies on the horizon if sequestration-level budgets return next year. In a conversation at AEI on Wednesday, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox laid out the risks involved with limited defense resources, explaining how further reductions could lead to catastrophic consequences if the nation is unprepared for a future conflict.
According to Secretary Fox, the Pentagon's ability to minimalize the damage of absorbing ongoing budget cuts is being undermined by Congress, which has posed an annual challenge to many past defense reform proposals. This trend only exacerbates the harm caused by sequestration which, as Secretary Fox outlined, could result in a world with less American influence, decreased stability, and increased aggression.
After operating for several years in an uncertain and austere budgetary environment, the Pentagon is facing increasing pressure as it looks to reconcile its strategic goals for the post–Iraq and Afghanistan war era with current fiscal realities. As last year's Strategic Choices and Management Review made clear, the Pentagon must be prepared to make difficult choices regarding force structure, readiness, and modernization to achieve a balanced, capable force for the future.
Ahead of the president's fiscal year 2015 budget submission, the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies will host Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox for a timely discussion of US defense budgetary priorities in 2015 and beyond.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Mackenzie Eaglen, AEI
Christine H. Fox, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense
For more information, please contact Charles Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.862.5945.
For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org, 202.862.5829.
Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI. She has worked on defense issues in the US Congress — both in the House of Representatives and Senate — and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness, and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense-related issues, she has also testified before Congress.
Christine H. Fox was appointed by President Obama as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense on December 5, 2013. With her appointment, Fox is the highest-ranking female official in history to serve in the US Department of Defense. She most recently served as a senior adviser to the national security analysis department at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) from August through November 2013. Before joining APL, she served as the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2009 to 2013. Fox possesses three decades of experience as an analyst and research manager focusing on defense issues, with a special emphasis on operations. She formerly served as the President of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) and as the scientific analyst to the Chief of Naval Operations. Before her appointment as President of CNA, Fox was the Vice President and Director of CNA’s Operations Evaluation Group, and was responsible for approximately 85 field representatives focused on helping operational commanders execute their missions.