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DoD Faces 50-50 Chance of Cuts, Cartwright Says

Gen. James Cartwright, Photo: defenselink.mil

The Pentagon faces a 50 percent chance of budget cuts in the year ahead, the Pentagon’s No. 2 uniformed officer said, with money freed up from department efficiencies likely to “migrate” throughout the government.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at a defense investment conference last week, said the Pentagon has little better than “50-50 odds” of avoiding defense budget cuts as Congress takes on deficit reduction in the coming year, according to a Reuters report.

As for the money freed up by Gates’ efficiencies? Cartwright said he has “zero faith” that DoD will be able to keep it within the department.

“Some of that will migrate out,” he said. “I don’t think it will be in the large portions. It will be manageable, at least this year. As you go forward and you try to set that $100 billion aside, it’s probably going to continue to leak at a greater rate as the pressure comes on the budget. It’s just logical.”

Defense-watcher Colin Clark at DoDBuzz said increasing pressure for Pentagon cuts (ratcheted up by recommendations from the bipartisan deficit commission) has left Gates’ efficiencies plan “in tatters.”

If DoD doesn’t mount a new strategy that takes likely budget cuts into account, the Office of Management and Budget could mandate new topline budget numbers for DoD as early as next week, according to DoDBuzz.

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