The sequester—Washington’s mindless across the board budget cuts—is here. Pentagon leaders have until now taken the easy way out by targeting two pots of money for the biggest hits: modernization and readiness. Modernization is the military’s investment in the future, while readiness pays for a healthy force today. While the automatic cuts are not saving substantial sums of money, if they are going to hit defense spending, they need to hit the right targets. Will President Obama allow that and will the Pentagon meet the challenge?
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The Pentagon needs to be extremely clear: these kinds of reductions, while a positive step, are well below the levels that would be needed to meet sequestration-imposed caps.
The hopeful prospect for any deal to mitigate the short-term sequestration pain should not cloud the need for a smarter and more lasting solution. Unfortunately, right now the alternatives would only extend and prolong the pain for the Department of Defense rather than undoing it.
Unless President Obama and Congress actively work to alter sequestration, its primary billpayer, the U.S. military — and the American public — will lose twice.
If the U.S. Navy is to continue to secure the high seas, trade routes and shipping lanes around the globe long into the 21st century, it needs a robust fleet — both in quantity and quality.
Any agreement to alter sequestration puts both camps right back where they were in the spring of 2011, during deliberations of the so-called "super committee," and during the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Earlier this year, in one of its first forays into government contracting, Amazon was awarded a large cloud-computing contract from the Central Intelligence Agency. However, IBM one of the losing contractors, protested the award.